We end this week’s look at the songs of the high Andes of Peru by going to the work of Luzmila Carpio, a Bolivian-born woman who sings her own native language of Aymara as well as Quechua, the indigenous language of Perú. Making a point to sing in native languages over Spanish, Luzmila has been a major proponent of indigenous songs including achieving skill as an instrumentalist, traditionally the purview of men.
Some of the most popular exponents of the Peruvian vocal sound have been odd ones, indeed, and Yma Sumac (1922-2008) certainly fits that bill! The running joke is that she was secretly a Jewish woman (spell her name backwards), but she did have an exotic, uncanny tone to her voice (and an enormous range). Her mystique was perhaps abetted by costume work that hinted at a Hollywoodian take of Egyptian… This video makes me smile every time I watch/listen to it.
Continuing our focus on Afro-Peruvian culture, for my third blog, we turn to the work of folklorist, poet, and musician Nicomedes Santa Cruz (1925-1992). In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the life of this amazing and multi-faceted advocate who did so much to advance recognition of black Peruvians. In this “festejo,” a classical black-Peruvian song meant to accompany lively footwork, we hear one of Nico’s most well-known works:
For my second featured blog, I’d like to continue the thread of female Peruvian composer-singers (begun with Chabuca Granda yesterday) and go to Eva Ayllón, another proponent of Afro-Peruvian culture. This video excerpt from one of Eva’s more glamorous and cosmopolitan live performances is a great example of fusion and modernity both.
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