Andina: Huayno, Carnaval & Cumbia The Sound of the Peruvian Andes Huayno, Carnaval & Cumbia 1968 – 1978

Tiger’s Milk

Musicians are hungry for inspiration. They are always listening for that new sound or new rhythm that will inspire them. Often times, they will hear music from somewhere else that will inspire them. Classical composers like Franz Liszt drew inspiration from folk songs. Jamaican musicians created ska, rock steady and reggae after being inspired by American R&B. We’re hearing more and more musicians seeking inspiration from the sounds of Peru. Dubstep producer DJ Mala made extensive use of Peruvian samples on his 2016 album Mirrors. Jazz performers like Gabriel Alegria, Susana Baca and Eric Kurimski are all drawing on the sounds of Peru to make their music. With this in mind, the Andina compilation is a welcome window to the sources of this inspiration. The compilation is not intended to be definitive. It only covers a ten year time span and focuses on artists drawing on the highland cultures for influence.

The sound of Peru featured on Andina is also the story of musicians seeking inspiration. We have Peruvian bands blending their native sounds with jazz, blues and other imported sounds. Lucha Neves y su Orquesta bring a full-bodied big band sound to their tune “Caymenita”. Los Walker’s “de Huanuco” take a 1943 musica criolla hit, “Todos Vuelvan” and filters it through a Quechua styles Afro-Columbian filter. Manolo Avalos adds Andean percussion to spark up his lilting piano jazz. Most of the sounds on Andina sound somewhat familiar, but the closing track by Conjunto Kori Cinta de Huancavelica takes us far from the familiar. It’s a spare arrangement for voice and harp that takes us far from the nightclubs of Lima to distant mountain villages. It’s an appropriate closing track as it points to other sounds yet to be discovered in the Amazonian and coastal regions of Peru. Andina is just the beginning.

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