Tag Archives: Andean music

The Winds and Echoes of the Andes

Los Ruphay – A Cry For Revolution< - Earth Healing Music from Bolivia

Los Ruphay – A Cry For Revolution< - Earth Healing Music from Bolivia (ARC Records EUCD2795, 2018)

It’s a 50th anniversary album for the band. They’re not as old as the Rolling Stones, but they’re older than the Internet, and they owe nothing to either. This is music that percolated through relative isolation, part Inca and part Spanish and mainly the former, because lower literacy rates equal high aural retention rates.

This half century-old Bolivian ensemble is the equivalent of a superlative, studied European Reformation Revivalist band. Except that they’ve spent more time with homemade instruments. And with their (South American griot) grandfathers and grandmothers. And with childhood bedtime stories of the Golden Man. And border wars, in living memory, with headhunters, ritual cannibals and slavers from the Amazon basin on the other side of the Andes.

Long ago, before the Andes rose, the Amazon flowed from East to West. Said dramatic rise trapped dolphins, otters and other creatures on the far side, and they adapted to freshwater. Bolivian legend includes intriguing tales of these creatures’ origins and motives, not to mention stories of 75-meter snakes and reptiles the world in general complacently believes disappeared with Jurassic extinctions. In short, within this tradition, everything over the next hilltop will kill you if you go there alone and quietly. This leads to a tight ensemble sound, yet also to individual resource. This is the basis for revolution.

“A Cry For Revolution” is a half century-old band articulating the revolutionary message of post-Conquistador centuries. The wind instruments capture the wind of the Andes. The drums capture the echo of mountains. Complete instrumentation for the record, among the eight players thereon, includes charango, vocals, flutes, pan-flutes, percussion, quena, guitar and cello, with much interchange between band members. This is an album paying homage to the ancestors. It’s that kind of World Folk.

It is a large album; one will put it on for a dinner party and feel insecure about having set enough places. One will water the yard and worry that spots have been missed. That wind. That echo. It is a record that makes one’s world larger.

Buy A Cry For Revolution – Earth Healing Music from Bolivia


Artist Profiles: Quilapayún


Quilapayún first started in Chile in 1965 and is now one of the most famous Andean musical bands in the world. Its main artistic value lies in its contribution to modernize the popular music of the continent. The band settled in France since September 1973. Nowadays, it moves between France and Chile.

The band mainly works on expressing and dealing with the creative tension between a nation and the universe, identity and diversity, tradition and innovation. In this regard, Quilapayún follows the example of certain famous artists of the continent: Huidobro, Matta, Neruda, etc. According to Quilapayun, these artists present the multi-cultural and heterogeneous dialogue.

Their work carries a combination of folk, popular, academic and expressive music, all containing original synthesis of the rich cultural diversity of Latin America.

The lyrics of the band always talk about the strong aspects of life through free and honest poetry. There set of themes are directed in a natural way of expression, which lead to a direct and moving dialogue. Through this means, they continue to use their lively sensibility against the injustice humans face in this world.

Quilapayun’s shows are full of passion, spontaneity, irony and emotions. One not only enjoys listening to exceptional music but also one is invited to participate in a non-stop modernization of the popular Latin-American music.

The music of Quilapayun has spread around the five continents. It was received with the same enthusiasm in the U.S as in Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, and Australia, not to mention in all Latin-American countries.

Quilapayun has recorded over numerous albums in different European and American countries.


Quilapayún (1966)
Canciones folklóricas de América, with Víctor Jara (1967)
X Vietnam (1968)
Quilapayún Tres (1968)
Basta (1969)
Quilapayún Cuatro (1970)
Cantata Santa María de Iquique, with Héctor Duvauchelle (1970)
Vivir como él (1971)
Quilapayún Cinco (1972)
La Fragua (1973) (text and music by Sergio Ortega)
El pueblo unido jamás será vencido (1974)
Adelante (1975)
Patria (1976)
La marche et le drapeau (1977)
Hart voor Chili (various artists) (1977)
Cantata Santa María de Iquique, new version with Jean-Louis Barrault (1978)
Umbral (1979)
Darle al otoño un golpe de ventana… (1980)
La revolución y las estrellas (1982)
Tralalí Tralalá (1984)
Survarío (1987)
Los tres tiempos de América, with Paloma San Basilio (1988)
Latitudes (1992)
Al horizonte (1999)
Siempre (2007)
Solistas (2009)
Encuentros (2013)


Artist Profiles: Los Jaivas

Los Jaivas – Photo by Hilda Pizarro

One of the defining bands in the history of Chilean music, the members of Los Jaivas first began playing together in 1963, and their sound soon grew into a genre almost all its own: progressive Andino rock. Mixing elements of South American ancestral and folk music with progressive rock, Los Jaivas emphasized elements of improvisation on ethnic instruments such as the tutruka, charango, tarka, tumbadoras, bongo and maracas, while jamming with the intensity and power of a progressive rock band, all the while adding symphonic touches to it all.

But more than just a band, Los Jaivas represented for many the freedoms and liberties associated with the Socialist movement in Chile in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many artists decided to return to their native country’s own musical roots for inspiration instead of merely following foreign trends, and Los Jaivas took that one step further with their unique fusion of the two, making complicated and challenging folk music in the Andean tradition that spoke to the Chilean people in a time of change.

Following the military coup in 1973, Los Jaivas went into self-imposed exile in Argentina and France, where they were well received by foreigners and Chilean ex-patriots. 1977’s Cancion del Sur quickly became a classic of Chilean music, but probably their greatest success came in 1981 when they were asked by a Peruvian friend and film producer who was also exiled in France to compose music for Pablo Neruda’s masterwork Las Alturas de Machu Pichu (The Heights of Machu Pichu).

Composed as an epic rock opera, the band took the challenge one step further, and got permission to perform the new record on top of Machu Picchu itself, the world-famous ruins of the Inca Empire which sit perched high in the mountains of Peru. One of the truly great concerts in the history of South American music, the show was made possible with the help of the Peruvian government (helicopters lifted the grand piano and sound system to the peaks) and financed almost completely by Los Jaivas themselves, and was a major television event in Chile when it was finally broadcast on TV.

In August 2003, Los Jaivas celebrated 40 years in music, and their album Las Alturas de Machu Picchu was honored by Absolut vodka in May 2005 as one of the masterpieces of Rock en Español.


El Volantín (1971)
Todos juntos (1972)
La Ventana (1973)
Sueños de América (1974)
Los Jaivas (El indio) (1975)
Canción Del Sur (1977)
Mambo de Machaguay, compilation (1978)
Alturas de Macchu Picchu (1981)
Aconcagua (1982)
Obras de Violeta Parra (1984)
Si tu no estás (1989)
Hijos de la Tierra (1995)
Palomita blanca, 1973 Movie soundtrack (1995)
Trilogia: El Rencuentro (1997)
Mamalluca (1999)
En El Bar-Restaurant Lo Que Nunca Se Supo, compilation (2000)
Los Jaivas En Concierto: Gira Chile 2000 (2000)
Arrebol (2001)=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000067IP5?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B000067IP5″>Obras Cumbres, Compilation (2003)
Serie de Oro: Grandes Exitos, compilation (EMI, 2004)


Folk Music from Peru

Wayna Picchu / Takirari / Tinku – Folk Music from Peru

Wayna Picchu / Takirari / Tinku – Folk Music from Peru (Arc Music EUCD 2675, 2016)

In Peru, I met and knew him as the biggest rogue on Earth / For in sin and crime, he’d wallowed, since his mother gave him birth / And they called him ‘El Mestizo,’ no one knew his mongrel race / There were traces of four nations on his evil-looking face.”
from “El Mestizo,” by Randolph Henry Atkin, 1914

It is relatively simple to determine which parts of modern “mestizo” Andean music come from the Spaniards and their descendants and which belonged to the indigenous people of the region. There were no stringed instruments in the Americas in pre-Columbian times. Therefore, a listener’s ear can easily separate, with a high level of accuracy, the elements with obvious guitar-ish origins from those birthed from wind instruments and drums.

Most world music fans can quickly divide melodies into New World and Old World origin, as well. Thus, Andean music makes most of us happy, armchair ethnomusicologists, and that is always fun. Within these generalities, this Peruvian folk anthology gives one the strong impression that the Inca were oppressive conquerors, perhaps not on the level of the Spanish settlers, but definitely suppressive of the earlier regional cultures they suppressed two and a half centuries earlier. The song titles and themes all refer to either Inca or Hispanic Christian issues. As to how much of a cultural, aural stew existed when the Spanish arrived, we have little idea.

What is captured here is the beautiful, magical sound we associate with Peru and the Andes. The deep, rich, large flutes immediately bring the Andes to mind. The bass drums are mountain echoes, and the higher percussion and wind instruments are avalanches, streams and birds. As for the Old World instruments and influences, guitars are incorporated for song intros, outros and modulations. They season, and they translate for ears descended from Europe. Vocals on this release are more instrumental than narrative, chants more than songs. It is a good addition to one’s world music collection.

Folk Music from Peru