Andean Fusion Music

This recent composition from Sergio Cuadros’ disc, INKA Latin Jazz illustrates very well the fusion of traditional Andean music with international musical traditions. The instrument Cuadros is seen (and heard!) playing here is called a Quena (pronounced Kena). It is sometimes called an “Andean Flute” in English.

Here’s a picture of one of mine. Don’t expect me to play it like this guy, though! I’m doing good to get a consistent sound out of it. To play one of these well takes a considerable amount of practice and dedication.

My Quena

You will hear plenty of quena music in Peru, but it may take a little work to find the level of innovative fusion displayed in the video above. Scheduling a dinner and show is quite easy to do, though.

The Zampoña / Antara / Siku

Another instrument you are sure to hear is the zampoña, often called the antara or siku.

The word zampoña is a deformation of the Spanish word simfonia (symphony). Starting in the 17th century the word simfonía was used to designate a range of musical instruments. Perhaps the native people of the Andes heard the early Spanish speakers using that word, and taking it to be a general term like “instrument”, used it to name the antara or siku when talking to Spanish speakers.

“Antara” is the Quechua word for what in English is called a panflute. “Siku” comes from Aymara, another widely used language in the Andes. In the region around Cuzco you will hear the instrument called either an “antara” or a “sampoña. In the Puno region, it tends to be called a “Siku”.

The group in the video below is Chilean, not Peruvian, but they share the Andean musical heritage you will hear in Peru and the video shows a good clear example of the use of the sampoña in Andean music. 

I sincerely hope you will join us on this summer’s trip. There is much to see and much to hear in Peru!

Update added December 20, 2018

July 6 would be a great day to schedule a dinner show if enough of the travelers are interested. We have a free day to explore Cuzco that day, and some of the best Andean music venues are there. I (Micheal) will be accompanying the optional tour to Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain, so I will not be in Cuzco during the day, but the Vinicunca tour group will be back in Cuzco around 4:30 pm, so we’ll be able to join the rest of the crew for evening entertainment.