Travelling with music – Part 1

I just remembered yet another great travelling experience. Apart from the sense of adventure, beautiful sceneries, amazing food new to the palette, marvellous languages, there’s also the wonderful music!

This evening while reading about the 100th-year anniversary of Machu Picchu’s discovery, I re-call the Andean music that I kept hearing on the road last year: I remember listening to panpipe music on hours-long bus rides in Bolivia, Ecuador & Peru, faint echos of a local folk band after nightfall and a melancholy contralto voice emitting from the radio that just tore my heart out.

Like scents & smells, music evokes strong memories and vivid atmosphere.

I’m really not an expert of Andean music, and the music took me a while to get used to: there were times while sitting on the interminable bus rides, I wondered when the panpipe music was going to stop! But the deep-rooted sense of musical tradition is something that I can totally appreciate. I was hunting down a CD recording of a piece sung by that contralto, but to no luck. Right now, I can only savour a lingering memory of that voice.

What exactly is Andean music? Like I said, I’m really not an expert. The most famous piece outside the Andean world is probably El Condor Pasa, which was covered by Simon & Garfunkel.

But there’s so much more to explore. And again, thanks to the internet you don’t have to go very far to tickle the auditory senses. Check out this singer Saywa and guitarist Cesar Paucar:

More of Cesar Paucar in a performance with players of the Andean flutes known as quenas.


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