The Peruvian folklore and its diversity

Peru is a country with very strong traditions. About 400 dances were listed, proof of the variety of its folklore. Of Peruvian, Amazonian, European or African origin, its traditional dances are all more rousing than the others. Overview.


THE DANCES

La Marinera:

Dance of the Peruvian coast, the Marinera Norteña mostly practiced in Trujillo, is the most known. It is a seduction game during which a man and a woman swirl around each other. The man can also dance on a horse, the “caballo de paso”, which does the steps instead of him. The dancers are accompanied by the cajón and guitar.

Marinera José Geray© José Geray

La Danza de las Tijeras (scissors dance):

From Huancavelica, Apurímac and Arequipa, this dance is a demonstration of fidelity to the Andin gods, characterized by its magico-religious style. Each village is represented by a carefully chosen dancer, who bangs two steel scissors together, on the wild rhythm given by the harp and violin.

Tijeras Geraint Rowland©Geraint Rowland

 

El Huayno:

Very popular in the Sierra, it is the ultimate Andin dance. Of pre-Columbian origin with occidental notes, the couples make small jumps following the rhythm of the quena, charango, harp and violin.

Huayno © Juansa18©Juansa 18

 

El Huaylarsh:

This dance from the central Andes transposes the agricultural life and more specifically the harvest. The young men try to impress their partner by beating the ground with their feet, on notes of harp, violin, saxophone and trumpet.

Huaylarsh Alex Q.S©Alex Q.S.

 

La Diablada:

Two groups of dancers compose this dance: demons, usually represented by men dressed in colorful capes, in front of angels, women armed with swords and shields. All are placed so that each angel has a demon to fight, accompanied by the trumpet and quena.

Diablada Identidad y Futuro©Identidad y Futuro

 

La Danza del Caporal:

Influenced by the Saya and originating from Bolivia, this Andean dance puts emphasis on the supervisors at the service of the Spaniards in charge of the slaves´ work. A whip, symbol of the mistreatment practiced on them, hits the floor on the rhythm of a music reminding us of the heartbeats. The men dance on a dynamic way, on the sound of percussions, while the women are more gentle and sensual.

Caporales Illary Ritmos Peruanos©Illary Ritmos Peruanos

THE INSTRUMENTS

El cajón:

Officially recognized as “National Cultural Heritage”, it is a wooden box, on which the musician sits astride. Small metallic objects are sometimes put into the cajón to obtain more notes. The percussionist obtains different effects depending on if he plays with the palm of his hands or on his fingertips.

Cecl Newton cajón©Cecl Newton

 

La quena:

Traditionally made of cane or wood, this Andean instrument is a kind of seven holes flute. Typical of the Andean folklore, it is now used in different musical styles and various Latin America´s countries.

Quena Mi Perú©Mi Perú

 

El charango:

String instrument mainly used in the Peruvian-Bolivian Altiplano, it is similar to a 5 chords mandolin, and is said to have been created from the modification of a European string instrument.

Charango Shantbir©Shantbir

 

La zampoña:

Peru´s key instrument, the panpipes is composed of various hollow and solid tubes, all of different diameter and length, which determines the sound of each. The legend says that the God Pan fell in love with the nymph Siringa who was dancing and hunting in the woods. One day, Pan followed her until the river Ladón where, feeling threatened, the nymph asked the naiads to help her, who transformed her in cane. Inconsolable, Pan realized the wind was blowing into the cane and thought it was the nymph´s lamentations. He then decided to cut the cane and unite the pieces with wax. He thus made his “siringa” (flute) so that he could play it every time passion and desire would possess him.

Zampo Ovetum Fotografía©Ovetum Fotografía

Peru is very proud of the diversity of its folklore. That is why, all year long, it is possible to appreciate these dances in various festive celebrations. We greatly invite you to come and discover them!