The Rough Guide to The Music Of The Andes: Bolivia

The Rough Guide to the Music of the Andes: Bolivia
The Rough Guide to the Music of the Andes: Bolivia
The Rough Guide to the Music of the Andes: BoliviaSan Francisco, California, USA – Featuring many tracks sourced from local companies, The Rough Guide To The Music Of The Andes: Bolivia (RGNET1147CD) places the original architects of the Bolivian sound alongside the modern artists of today.

Framed by snow-capped peaks, La Paz is the largest city of landlocked Bolivia and the strength of the indigenous culture makes it an ideal home for the country’s music industry. Bolivia is the birthplace of the conjunto folklorico – a modern marriage of European string instruments and Andean flutes – and home to the rich musical wealth of nueva canción, taquirari and the striking rhythms of the Bolivian Carnival. Born and raised in the remote rural mountain village of Qala Qala, Luzmila Carpio rose to national attention with her performances at the song competition in Oruro (home to Bolivia’s largest carnival} and was crowned ‘ñusta del folklore’ (‘princess of folklore’), in 1971. She has dedicated her career to the music of the Quechua and Aymara people, and ‘Bartolino Sisaman’ represents the typical singing style of the southern Altiplano.

At the core of Los Kjarkas, the most famous of all conjunto folklorico groups, are the Hermosa brothers. Over the years, they have encompassed the performance of music from indigenous Bolivian people and composed new pieces in traditional rhythms.

A seminal figure in the cueca scene of Tarija, in southern Bolivia, kindergarten
teacher Enriqueta Ulloa has been performing the music of her homeland for over thirty years. ‘Dalia Morada’ (‘Purple Dahlia’) is a famous tonada and an invitation to dance.

Grupo Bolivia is an all-female conjunto folklorico that has endured (with some line-up changes) for more than two decades. ‘Añoranzas’ is a story of faded love in a sicuh rhythm, which was traditionally played on zamponas or panpipes.

A more recent conjunto folklorico from Cochabamba, Arawi use a traditional song style from the highlands called a huayno on the song ‘Chofercito’. This is one of many standard rhythms in the repertoire of folklore groups.

Semilla, a conjunto folklorico led by Alejandro Cámara, has been active since the early 1990s. ‘Wistu Vida’ is a tinku (a lively dance inspired by a form of ritualized combat from the rural Potosi department), currently the most popular dance at Oruro’s carnaval.

Betty Veizaga and El Grupo Pukaj Wayra have been working to bring the music of northern Potosi department to the rest of Bolivia and the world, and the first section of ‘Ulala Kiskita’ perfectly captures the rural roots of tinku.

One of the first Andean folk ensembles to achieve international acclaim, Savia Andina was formed by a group of students in the 1960s. Since then, Gerardo Arias (guitar), Eddy Navia {charango) and Oscar Castro (guitar), have toured virtually every corner of the globe and have recorded more than forty albums.

Esther Marisol is less tradition-bound than other tarijenas, such as Enriqueta Ulloa, and ‘El Guajojo’ is a taquirari (a rhythm from the tropical east of the country) and a serenade.

Zulma Yugar, from the department of Oruro, in Bolivia’s central Altiplano is a beloved public figure having served as in Bolivia’s Ministry of Culture. Renowned as an interpreter of traditional Bolivian music, ‘El Trasnochador’ is another taquirari.

A founding member of one of the first ever conjunto folklorico, Ernesto Cavour later made several solo recordings and became famous for inventing new instruments. ‘Greda Mestiza’ is a showcase for his rapid-fire charango (a small guitar traditionally made from armadillo shields) strumming, inventive use of harmonics and his prowess as an arranger.

Ana Cristina Cespedes grew up in Cochabamba and begun learning the charango at 11. ‘Paloma Del Alma Mia’, is her most famous song, and countless groups in Bolivia and Peru have since covered it. The Grupo Aymara song, ‘Huellas De Mi Llamita’, is a study for charango, guitar, wind and percussion, which was composed by darken Orozco, the group’s leader and multi-instrumentalist.

The Rough Guide To The Music Of The Andes: Bolivia is an excellent introduction to the sounds of the region and also features Luis Rico, Rafael Arias Paz and Emma Junaro.

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