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A quena, a traditional Andean instrument

Andean music comes from the general area inhabited by Quechuas, Aymaras and other peoples that were part of the Inca Empire prior to European contact. It includes the countries, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.

Wind and percussion instruments are known to have existed in South America even before the Incans, but musical evolution peaked with the Incan empire. The arrival of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century brought string instruments and new forms, spurring the invention of the distinctive charango, a ten stringed instrument similar to a lute that was originally constructed from the shell of an Armadillo but now generally constructed from local wood varieties. In the charango family there is a larger instrument called the ronroco similar in size to the mandolin. Violins have also found their way into Andean Music.

The panpipes group include the sikú (or zampoña) and antara. These are ancient indigenous instruments that vary in size, tuning and style. Instruments in this group are constructed from aquatic reeds found in many lakes in the Andean Region of South America. The sikú has two rows of canes and are tuned in either pentatonic or diatonic scales. Some modern single-rowed panpipes modeled after the native Antara are capable of playing full scales, while traditional Sikús are played using two rows of canes wrapped together. It is still commonplace for two performers to share a melody while playing the larger style of sikú called the toyo. This style of voicing interspersed notes between two musicians is called playing in hocket and is still in use today in many of the huaynos traditional songs and contemporary Andean music.

Quenas (notched-end flutes) remain popular and are traditionally made out of the same aquatic canes as the Sikús, although PVC pipe is sometimes used due to its resistance to heat, cold and humidity. Generally, quenas only are played during the dry season, with vertical flutes, called tarkas, being played during the wet season. Tarkas are constructed from local Andean hard wood sources. Marching bands dominated by drums and panpipes are commonplace today and are used to celebrate weddings, carnivals and other holidays.

The twentieth century saw drastic changes in Andean society and culture. Bolivia, for example, saw a nationalistic revolution in 1952, leading to increased rights and social awareness for natives. The new government established a folklore department in the Bolivian Ministry of Education and radio stations began broadcasting in Aymara and Quechua.

By 1965, an influential group called Los Jairas formed in La Paz, Bolivia; the quartet fused native sounds into forms suitable for urban Europeans and the middle class. One member of Los Jairas, Gilbert Favre (a Swiss-French flautist) had previously been an acquaintance of the Parras (Ángel, Isabel, and their mother Violeta) in Paris. The Parras eventually began promoting indigenous music in Santiago, Chile.

The late 1960s released native groups such as Ruphay, Grupo Aymara, and the emblematic quechua singer, Luzmila Carpio. Later Chilean groups such as Inti-Illimani and Los Curacas took the fusion work of Los Jairas and the Parras to invent nueva canción, which returned to Bolivia in the 1980s in the form of canto nuevo artists such as Emma Junaro and Matilde Casazola.

The 70's was a decade in which Andean Music saw its biggest growth. Different groups sprang out of the different villages throughout the Andes Region. Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and Argentina.

Many musicians made their way to the big cities forming different bands and groups. One of the most legendary was Los Kjarkas, from Bolivia. Singing and composing songs that became huge hits in Bolivia and would later become Andean Standards.

They would latter take Andean music to the rest of the world.

Other notable groups


External links



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