Discover the Traditional Music of Peru

Peruvian music is a fusion of sounds and styles from indigenous Andes, coupled with Spanish and African music.  After a cultural blending of hundreds of years, Peru has created ample musical landscape to entertain the masses. There are thousands of pre-Hispanic sounds and traditional rhythms which are well-preserved by various Andean communities even today. There are many federations as well that preserve the rich musical heredity of Peru. Traditional Peruvian music clearly represents different mountainous cultures of Peru.

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Music has always been a remarkable element of Incan rituals. For Incas, dance and music is defined by the term “taki”, Inca’s pentatonic music.  Andean influence in Peru’s traditional music is represented in wind instruments like quena,zampona or siku, antara, pan flute, rondador etc. Peruvians were not too aware of string instruments until Spanish people conquered the region. Charango, a small variant of guitar originally created by Spanish people but eventually modified to the likes of ancient Aymara and Quechua people came to be a popular string instrument including ubiquitous harp and guitar.

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The traditional percussion instruments popular in Latin American region include bombo, huancara etc. However, it was African influence that led to widespread use of percussion in Peru. The Afro-Peruvian music, also known as musica criolla is a genre of mix of West African and Spanish music.  It was first developed by black slaves brought over by European colonizers. Musica criolla includes flamenco-influenced guitar sounds, percussion instruments like cajon, cajia, cowbell and quijada.

Creole music is a result of social, political, geographical and economical influence among the inhabitants of the coast, highlands and jungle.  Coastal and mountainous people were more influenced by music while the dominant elites were influenced more by Spanish dance through conquering soldiers.  Creole music further contributed to the development of Peruvian waltz or vals criollo.

Peruvian Waltz is a genre adapted from European waltz brought to the Americans from Spain.  It typically includes two main instruments guitar and cajón with European and African heritage respectively.  Lead guitarist plays solos using strong plucks on upper string while second guitarist performs riffs on two lowest strings.  On the other hand, cajón provided a rhythmic base for music.

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Jude C

I am a travel enthusiast who has closely worked with different communities in India. My interests range from alternative rock to English literature. I also happen to love cats a lot.

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