Down in the Valley...

Huaynos y Danzas
Religious and secular music 
of the Callejón de Huaylas, Peru


01. Shaqshas - Group of Men from Carhuaz - 4:38
02. Huanquillas - Group of Men from Huauya - 2:51
03. Antihuanquillas - Processional Band From Carhuaz - 2:18
04. Ñustas - Processional Band From Carhuaz - 4:10
05. Caballeros De Huari - Processional Band From Carhuaz - 2:25
06. Negritos (Little Negroes) - Negritos - 3:43
07. Atahuallpas - Hijos Del Sol - 2:50
08. Cajas and Huanquillas - Processional Band From Caraz - 3:24
09. Cajas and Roncadoras - Processional Band From Huaylas - 2:47
10. El Condor Pasa - Banda Musical Estrella Andina - 4:09
11. Rio Santa - Lorenzo Piscoche & Victor Mejia - 1:53
12. A Los Filos De Un Cuchillo (To the Edges of a Knife) - Eloy Cano - 2:56
13. Tomando Cerveza (Drinking Beer) - Pastor Aguilar & Remigio Rojas - 2:37
14. En El Cielo Las Estrellas (Stars Are in Heaven) - Feliciano Oliveira, Lucio León & Alberto Oliveira - 2:42
15. Huaraz Cuculi (Dove from Huaraz) - Los Aventureros de Tumpa - 2:36
16. Hay Noches (There Are Nights) - Juventud de Yungay - 2:23
17. Hoy Estoy Aqui (Today I Am Here) - Banda Orquesta Hijos de Shupluy - 2:20
18. Ayer Te Vi (I Saw You Yesterday) - Los Hermanos del Ande - 2:51
19. Contamenina - Pedro Espinoza - 3:14
20. Yungay - Los Jilgueros de Matacoto - 2:51
21. La Resbalosa (The Slippery One) / Pichichanka Maliciosa (Naughty Sparrow) - Juventud de Yungay - 4:36
22. Muchachita No Seas Celosa (Little Girl, Don't Be Jealous) - Pedro Espinoza - 3:20
23. Kiswar Punta [On Top of Kiswar Hill) - Pedro Espinoza & Lorenzo Piscoche - 2:24

The recordings were made in 1980-1981, during an 18 month stay in the valley by Elisabeth den Otter.




  The Callejón de Huaylas is a 150 km. long valley in the Department of Ancash, in the north-central Peruvian highlands, 400 km. north of Lima. It is bordered by two mountain ranges, the Cordillera Negra (Black Range) to the West and the Cordillera Blanca (White Range) to the East. As the name indicates, there is no snow on the peaks of the Black Range; the glaciers of the White Range, like the Huascarán, reach over 6,000 meters above sea level. In 1970, an earthquake loosened a piece of this glacier, causing a mud avalanche which destroyed a number of villages. The Santa river runs all along the valley, into the Pacific Ocean near Chimbote.

The population of the Callejón consists of Quechua-speaking indians, mostly peasants who live in the mountain villages, and Spanish-speaking Mestizos (people of mixed indian and Spanish origin) who live in the small towns along the Santa river. The Mestizos dominate the indians, economically and politically, but changes in the life of the indians are brought about by (temporal) migration, education, military service and tourism.

The beauty of the valley, the horror of the earthquake, and the difficult everyday life of the inhabitants are the subjects of many songs.

Secular music & Religious music

Secular forms of music and dance in the Callejón de Huaylas are the huayno, the marinera and the waltz.

Religious music is played mostly during processions, at the occasion of patron saint festivals, Holy Week and Corpus Christi. Flute and drum ensembles and brass bands play special music, and traditional dance groups are accompanied by flutes and drums, harps and violins, or brass band instruments such as clarinets. During patron saint festivals, secular music - mostly huaynos - is played in the homes of the sponsors or in small bars...

read it all here : )
The population of the Callejón de Huaylas is primarily Quechua and Spanish-speaking Andeans, most of them small-scale and subsistence-farmers living in mountain villages, mixed with Spanish-speaking Mestizos in the small towns and cities along the Santa river. The richer Mestizos dominate politically and economically, but migration, education and tourism have brought changes in the population in recent decades.

Most Quechua families adhere to traditional forms of food, music, and dress, yet still have cell phones and typically raise Guinea Pigs and other farm animals in their farms. Although men have typically adopted modern pants, collared shirts and sweaters, Quechua women continue to wear llikllas and layered colored skirts called polleras in Spanish. Both men and women wear llanq'is, rudimentary sandals in the traditional style, although they are now made from recycled rubber from car tires. One can buy them in any size from the various markets in the region, for around 5 soles a pair.


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