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Minkapedia first edit:23/10/07.

Día de la canción criolla y la zona del sismo peruano 2007[]

It would seem appropriate that the Día de la Música or Canción Criolla 2007 (Criolla Music Day) be dedicated to the music of the Earthquake Zone. Not only because it is a way for lovers of Peruvian music to pay their repects to the victims of the earthquake but also as an overdue recognition that the area has produced some of the greatest musical, lyrical and linguistic diversity present in a country already boasting “extreme” cultural variation. The reason for this diversity is historical: in addition to the seismic fault line running through the area there are also linguistic, and cutural “frontiers”.

In language, the Yauyos community seem to be the survivors of the northward expansion of the Wari /Tiwanaku cultures and hold the key, many believe, to understanding the relationship between the evolution of the Quechua and Aymara language groups. In terms of culture the zone has/had the greatest concentration of Afro-Peruvians in the country (though many have migrated to Lima and further afield). All of which raises the question as to whether the term “Música Criolla” – or “Canción Criolla” as is more commonly heard – is sufficiently wide for a celebration of “peruanidad” (Peruvianess), juxtaposed as it is to the imported Haloween-fest. When I first went to Latin America 45 years ago, “criolla/o” meant, I think, “of Spanish heritage but born or created here” (Hispanic America). Today, at least in Peru, it does have a wider embrace . . . . .

Día de la canción criolla y nostalgia[]

For Peruvians abroad there are several composers and singers who have universally “touched the chord of nostalgia” and produced what could be considered unofficial international anthems of the diaspora*. César Alfredo Miró Quesada Bahamonde, better known as César Miró(See footnote) (1907-1999) created the nostalgically beautiful “Todos vuelven a la tierra en que nacieron al embrujo incomparable de su sol . . ." (For other verses see below). The best known version, perhaps, is that of Jesús Vásquez and Victor Dávalos.

She had (Jesus can be a “she”, in this case María de Jesus, and Maria a “he” in Latin America e.g. [José María Arguedas]) previously recorded “Todos vuelven” as a solo piece*. Victor Dávalos was from Arequipa in the South of Peru, and formed part of the famous Los Hnos (Brothers) Dávalos. Alternating between solo and duet in this famous creole* waltz, Vásquez and Dávalos have produced an international masterpiece which reaches the hearts of millions, especially at times, such as now, following the earthquake and on the day of Criolla music, when Peruvians abroad are thinking particularly of their “home” country. A rather more modern version is that of the 1991 New Orleans Jazz Festival [[1]] in which Ruben Blades internationalises the song.

Arequipa and the cancion criolla[]

For lovers of/in the Arequipa countryside perhaps more appropriate for the Dia de Música Criolla, at least for the grey-haired brigade, is Los Davalos singing Rio de Arequipa, (see right). There are a number more that could lay claim to be Arequipa's anthem: Carnaval de Arequipa, Blanca Ciudad, Melgar . . . and no doubt newer songs are already taking over in the picanterias of Arequipa.

Technical note

Press large arrow once and then twice to play music video. Do not double click rapidly on the image unless you wish to leave this site and open up the YouTube webpages!

Though the video has the title "Chola Arequipena", we have not heard it called that. (Insert an authoratitive note here).

Chabuca Granda[]

La Chabuca Granda with her inimitable Arequipay.

For Peruvians, Chabuca Granda was as great a figure in her time (which is still today for most people) as Flores is becoming today. Occasionally she turned her attention and her skills toward Arequipa. Arequipay is one result. "y" is the first person possessive suffix in the Quechua language - that is "my" in English, but it is placed after the noun, however the video is subtitled "Si Quedaos" which is the historical derivation (but in Puqina / Aymara / Quechua) of the name Arequipa.

Chabuca also gave Peru its own mass and in this version Rafael Matallana interprets the Kyrie y Gloria of Chabuca's Misa Criolla performed at the Concierto de Navidad (Christmas Concert) 1996 in Lima’s main square, in front of the Cathedral.

"The Canción Criolla" by James Higgins[]

James Higgins has written one of the most recent articles on the Cancion Criolla in the online journal:Journal of Peruvian Cultural Studies (see reference below). He comments that "the most significant development from the 1930s onwards was the adoption of the canción criolla by Lima’s middle classes, who found in it an expression of their sense of themselves as Peruvians." Writers and intellectuals also took to the canción criolla. "In the 1930s, for example, the writer César Miró, then living in Paris, opted to express his homesickness for Peru through the medium of the vals, composing in the process one of the canonical works of the genre, ‘Todos vuelven’ . . . (Higgins, James. The Canción Criolla, Journal of Peruvian Cultural Studies.

The words of “Todos vuelven”[]

(The chord markers have become displaced in transferring this file from the "scratchpad". Original still in place: )

Lam MI Lam
Todos vuelven a la tierra en que nacieron

LA7 Rem
al embrujo incomparable de su sol

Todos vuelven al rincon en que vivieron

donde acaso florecio mas de un amor

Lam MI Lam
bajo el arból solitario del silencio

LA7 Rem
tantas veces nos ponemos a soñar 

todos vuelven por la ruta del recuerdo

MI Lam
pero el tiempo del amor no vuelve mas.

Lam Rem Lam
El aire que trae en sus manos 

Rem Lam Rem Lam
la flor del pasado su aroma de ayer

nos dice muy quedo al oido 

su canto aprendido del atardecer 

Lam Rem Lam
nos dice con voz misteriosa

Rem Lam Rem Lam - LA7
de nardo y de rosa de luna y de miel.,