Today's artist is a prominent Peruvian singer-songwriter, school teacher, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and two-times Latin Grammy Award winner. She has been a key figure in the revival of Afro-Peruvian music.... ......N'Joy
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Much of the original music has been lost, but in the 1950s a revival was staged by José Durand, a white Peruvian criollo who was a folklore professor, and Porfirio Vásquez. Durand founded the Pancho Fierro Dance Company. Drawing upon elderly members of the community for memories of musical traditions, Durand collaborated with Vásquez to revive various songs and dances to create the repertoire for the group. One of the best known is his revival of the carnival dance “El Son de los Diablos.” In colonial times, this dance was featured in parades with a fleet of austere, pure angels leading the way, followed by the mischievous devils. In the revival of the dance, the angels were eliminated, and the crowds were entertained by rambunctious devils and their leader “el diablo mayor.” The dance featured energetic zapateo tap-dancing. The group performed for about two years, including a concert for Peruvian composer Chabuca Granda and a tour through Chile.
Actually, poet Nicomendes Santa Cruz and Victoria Santa Cruz (siblings) both created Cumanana (1957) an Afroperuvian ensemble that highlighted the rich West and Central African call and response poetry, music / dance traditions that were a staple of Peruvian culture and are essentially valued to this day.
One long lasting Afro-Peruvian dance company was Perú Negro, which, incorporated more modern use of percussion combined with criollo music. Perú Negro is also known for their use of blackface, celebrating the mixture of African and Spanish heritage. Two of their best known pieces are “Dance of the Laundresses,” which depicts historical hard working yet beautiful black women in Peru, and the “Canto a Elegua,” which shows tribal religion before the Spanish influence.
Lima and Chincha are two areas where there are many performers of this music, which is played in night clubs, dinner dances and festivals. Notable artists and groups through the years have included Victoria and Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Lucila Campos, Pepe Vásquez, and Susana Baca. One of the best known songs in the genre is Peru's "Toro Mata".
Today, Afro-Peruvians (also known as Afrodescent Peruvians) reside mainly on the central and south coast, with the majority of the population in the provinces of Lima, Callao, Nazca, Chincha, Ica and Cañete. Many Afro-Peruvians live on the northern coast in Lambayeque and Piura. The greatest concentration of Afro-Peruvians and mestizos of Afrodescent is in the Callao, an area that has historically received many of the Afro-Peruvians from the north and southern coast.
On the southern coast of the Ica Region, there are many cotton fields and vineyards, and the area is commonly known for its black populations such as that in El Carmen of the populous Chincha Province. There are other such towns in the Nazca, Ica City and in the district of San Luis in the Cañete Province near Lima, and Nazca to the south of Lima. In Lima, the towns best known for having large concentrations of Afro-descended populations are Puente Piedra, Chorrillos, Rimac, and La Victoria. Afro-Peruvians also reside in the northern regions of Peru such as La Libertad and Ancash, but the larger populations are concentrated in the northern valley plantations of the regions of Piura and Lambayeque.
Most Afro-Peruvian communities live in rural farming areas where mango, rice, and sugarcane production is present. Contrary to the southern coast, these communities are mainly found away from the coastal shores and into the region of the yungas, where the plain meets the Andes. The greatest Afro-Peruvian populations of the north coast are found mainly in the outskirts of the Morropón Province and concentrate themselves in Piura and Tumbes. The central province of Morropón is well known for its black communities in cities such as Chulucanas, Yapatera, Chapica del Carmelo, La Matanza, Pabur (Hacienda Pabur), Morropón, Salitral, Buenos Aires, San Juan de Bigote and Canchaque, and to the north Tambogrande. All of these cities belong to the Piura Region, where there are large rice fields and mango plantations. South of the Lambayeque Region and north of La Libertad where sugarcane production was very productive in the past, there are several cities known for their black inhabitants. Examples are the colonial city of Saña in Lambayeque, famous for being the second most important Afro-Peruvian city of the Peruvian north. Tuman, Capote, Cayaltí, and Batán Grande within the region of Lambayeque also have large amounts of Afro-Peruvian populations in the sugarcane region.
In November 2009, the Peruvian government issued an official apology to Peru's Afro-Peruvian people for centuries of racial injustice; it was the first such apology ever made by the government.
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With a splendid voice and equally impressive interpretive gifts, Susana Baca is a primary exponent of the Afro-Peruvian musical tradition. Baca came to world attention in 1995, when her rendition of "Maria Lando," a heartbreaking ballad of Third World worker oppression, was included on David Byrne's The Soul of Black Peru compilation. Since the Byrne compilation, she has toured the United States several times and released several albums, including an eponymously titled solo album on Byrne's Luaka Bop label; a disc, Del Fuego y del Agua, for Tonga Productions; 2002's Espíritu Vivo, and 2006's Travesías. Baca is particularly interested in reinterpreting old Afro-Peruvian melodies. At her best, Baca conveys an unforgettable, haunting melancholy, the lament of a people separated from their homeland by a continent and an ocean.
Baca was born in the black coastal barrio of Chorrillos, outside Lima, where descendants of slaves have lived since the days of the Spanish Empire. Her family was interested in music; her father played the guitar, while her mother was a dancer, and she grew up listening to Cuban musicians like Pérez Prado and Beny Moré. Baca's singing first came to public attention when she was a student. She formed an experimental group combining poetry and song, and started performing after receiving grants from Peru's Institute of Modern Art and the National Institute of Peruvian Culture. She attracted the attention of the composer and singer Chabuca Granda, who became her mentor. Granda encouraged Baca to record, but a 1983 record deal fell apart upon Granda's death. Baca then turned her attention to researching the Afro-Peruvian tradition. With her husband she founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo (Black Continuum) in Lima, which is dedicated to preserving Afro-Peruvian culture. She released a new EP, Seis Poemas, in 2009, following it with the full-length Afrodiaspora in 2011.
In July 2011 the newly elected President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, announced that Baca would become his Minister of Culture. On 28 July she was sworn in, becoming the second Afro-Peruvian cabinet minister in the history of independent Peru. She resigned due to a cabinet reshuffle on 11 December 2011. In November 2011 she was elected to the Organization of American States (OAS) as President of the Commission of Culture for the period 2011–13.
Baca founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo (Black Continuum Institute) in her seafront home in Chorrillos, to foster the collection, preservation and creation of Afro-Peruvian culture, music and dance.
Susana Baca in her own words
I was born in Lima and grew up in a small town in Peru called Chorrillos. My father was a chauffeur for a wealthy family and my mother worked as a cook and sometimes washed clothes. In Lima we lived in an alleyway, the kind where the servants lived, off the main streets past the fancy neighborhoods. My father played the guitar. He was the official musician of the alley. Whenever there was a party they called him. He played serranitas which are tales of the Golondrinos, people who came from Los Andes near the coast in the time of cotton-picking. My father learned the serranitas from them in his childhood. They are sung at Christmas: (singing) Ay, my dove is flying away, she’s gone. Let her go, she’ll soon return. “I have an older sister and brother, and the three of us would sing together. My mother taught us how to dance. She’d say, “How can my children not know how to dance?” And so we sang and danced every afternoon. Later, my mother bought a record player, which was a big event. I imitated everything. My sister enrolled in a singing contest on the radio, and we went to watch the broadcast. It left a very strong mark on me. I saw her there and felt as though that was where I wanted to be. My brother made me a stick with a can on the end, which was the microphone. People came and we put on a show. I would drop anything for music. “I tried not to become a professional singer, mainly for my mother’s sake. She thought I wouldn’t be able to earn a living. That’s my mother’s image of musicians. My mother told me many stories about musicians who were not famous like Felipe Pingo, a renowned musician and composer who died of tuberculosis. She said, “This is the destiny of my daughter,” and she pushed me to become a teacher. I liked studying to be a teacher; I dedicated myself to being a singer later. When I first met my husband, Ricardo, I was active as a musician, but everything moved so slowly. I dedicated myself to music, and couldn’t devote myself to looking for work or figuring out how to record an album. I thought that if I worked hard enough, I’d find someone who was interested in working with me. I realized, after many years, that no one was interested in what I was singing, which was poetry. I was black, singing black music. It was a big problem. In Peru the black population is very small—you find mixed people, like me, or even lighter. But as a culture it is present everywhere. And another thing: blacks also segregate themselves. By class or by skin tone. I’ve heard my aunts say, “Marry someone lighter, even an Indian, so that your children will have hair they can comb.” “I would like to be remembered for my voice, of course. But also for helping to spread the music of my ancestors—all those people who were never recognized for their work or for their beautiful culture.
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This album was released by Empresa Editora El Comercio a powerful newspapergroup from Peru, i assume this came with a special newspaper. Anyway it comes with a 15 page booklet on Susana, obviously in Spanish (alas). It's a mix of older and later Luaka Bop times (96).
Susana Baca - A Viva Voz Vol 2 (flac 333mb)
01 de Los Amores
02 Toro Mata
03 Negrito Bonoto
04 la Guillermina
05 Maria Lando
06 Horas de Amor
07 Les Feuilles Mortes
09 Tu Mirada y Mi Voz
10 Canto Elegglia
11 de España Nos Llego Cristo
12 Golpe E Tierra
13 Fuego y Agua
Susana Baca - A Viva Voz Vol 2 (ogg 136mb )
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More than four years after her previous release, Espíritu Vivo, Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca picks up just where she left off with Travesías, as though no time had passed at all. Her singing is still as strong and emotional as ever, her interpretations of traditional and classic songs are just as interesting and fresh, and the affecting subtlety that her band brings to the pieces only heightens the haunting beauty of Baca's timeless voice. While most of the lyrics on Travesías are in her native Spanish, she also, in her constant pursuit to explore other music and apply her own style to it, sings in Portuguese (with Gilberto Gil on "Estrela"), in Neapolitan (on Vincenzo DeCrescenzo's love song, "Luna Rossa"), in Haitian Creole (for her plaintive cover of Frantz Casseus' "Merci Bon Dieu"), in English (in her interpretation of Damien Rice's "Volcano," to which she also adds her own Spanish vocals), and in French (for her Latin blues version of Maxime Le Forestier's "Né Quelque Part"). The precision of both Baca and her band allows for all of these explorations to occur without anything seeming out of place. In fact, the whole album is so consistent in its pretty, temperate sound that it has a very atmospheric quality to it. The songs are gentle and poignant without coming across as forced or corny, and each note, either played or sung, is so achingly gorgeous that it's almost impossible to not feel attached to each one. Because of this, Baca is able to sing love poems about women by Manuel Scorza and Pablo Neruda ("Guillermina" is also found on Lamento Negro) with complete sincerity, as if she had written them herself. She feels the music just as strongly as the writers felt the words, and this emotion is transferred into the listening experience. Her love of what she does is sensed by anyone who hears what she sings, which certainly makes Travesías a wonderful album.
Susana Baca - Travesias (flac 296mb)
01 Viento Del Olvido 4:34
02 Estrela 5:41
03 Guillermina 5:14
04 Una Copla Me Ha Cantado 3:46
05 Né Quelque Part 5:54
06 Merci Bon Dieu 5:20
07 Luna Rossa 5:50
08 Siempre 3:00
09 Volcano 4:48
10 Palomita Ingrata 3:39
11 Pensamiento 3:12
12 Lundero 4:53
Susana Baca - Travesias (ogg 117mb)
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A Note from Susana Baca on Afrodiaspora
I am from Chorrillos, in the Southern part of Lima, which has changed a lot over the years, but when I grew up there where a lot of stables, farms and fisherman, fixing their nets, and a beach where rich people came to pass their vacations. I began to get interested there in Chorillos. On Sundays, Black families got together on their only day off and they would cook food and play music. People worked as laborers, doing wash, domestics, cooks etc and on Sundays they would come together as families to eat and to play the music they heard on the radio, Cuban music, Cumbias, Mexican songs, Tangos. I would be playing with the other kids but when they would start playing music I would leave the kids to join the adults.
There was Cuban music, boleros. Tangos, but there was little Peruvian music on the radio and people reached back to remember Danzas, Waltzes and other styles. This when I heard Celia Cruz play Palo Mayimbe, it felt like something very much ours, even though it was Cuban. This is how I feel about this record, it is our celebration of the African presence in the Americas and the way it has become a part of Latin America.
The culture, music, and our whole selves are all about the mixture of Spanish Indian and African cultures. The Spaniards that came to Peru encountered a very strong civilization even here in Lima that was the center of the Spanish influence. There was a strong Incan influence and the Africans that first came along with the conquistadors and then later as slaves brought to Cartagena, Columbia and then to the Peruvian Coast along with the other slaves on sugar and cotton plantations and they were property of the Spaniards and declared property of the church, Dominicans and Jesuits.
This record is a celebration of the African presence in the Americas, the experience of people that underwent this journey, where only the strong survived.
I feel the music of Cuba, Columbia, Ecuador, Argentina and Puerto Rico as if it were mine. It is my essence, like the drummers of Guatire from Venezuela. I feel like they are talking to my soul, even though I am not Venezuelan I feel a part of this.
I have traveled to many places where Afro Descendents live in Latin America, many of them poor and forgotten places, neglected and excluded by governments where there is a social exclusion but at the same time I feel that they have a spiritual strength to express the African presence. So I try to sing songs from these places, even though I left out a lot. I celebrate the shared blood and the way that the African presence has influenced Latin America.
Susana Baca's seventh album for David Byrne's Luaka Bop imprint is an ambitious affair with Baca bringing her instantly recognizable and elegant vocal style to the table in an attempt to show the pervasive influence of African rhythms and song forms on South American and Caribbean music. It’s not that she hasn’t been doing this all along on her releases, but the title of this one, Afrodiaspora, clearly states the case, and there is an astounding variety of styles blended together here, from tango, salsa, and flamenco to New Orleans-styled brass band blues and dance numbers, and everything comes out sounding distinctly Afro-Peruvian no matter how many regional variations are tossed into the mix. But Baca isn’t about fusion so much as she is about shining a light on how much folk traditions continually soak up new wrinkles and rhythms as part of the natural human approach to making and playing music, and if the Afro-Andean elements on display here are relatively new, they’re fully in line with what folk music always does: take what works and run with it. There are some gems here, including an Afro-Peruvian remake of the Meters' “Hey Pocky Way,” complete with a brass band, that suggests that the blues and salsa might just be cut from the same cloth. If there’s a misstep on this fine album, it’s the closing cut, which features Carlos Mosquera singing Victor Merino's song for and about Baca, “Canta Susana.” Yeah, it would have been odd to have Baca sing her own praises, but it’s only slightly less odd to have a guest singer do it. Not that it’s a bad song or a poor performance -- it isn’t -- but it just doesn’t somehow seem to fit with the rest of this impressive outing.
Susana Baca - Afrodiaspora (flac 316mb)
01 Detrás de la Puerta 5:08
02 Bendíceme 4:40
03 Yana Runa 6:58
04 Plena y Bomba 6:05
05 Reina de África 4:19
06 Baho Kende + Palo Mayimbe 5:08
07 Coco y Forro 4:26
08 Taki Ti Taki 6:05
09 Que Bonito Tu Vestito 5:36
10 Hey Pocky Way 4:24
11 Canta Susana 3:29
Susana Baca - Afrodiaspora (ogg 136mb)
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Perú Negro is an Afro-Peruvian musical ensemble founded in 1969 to celebrate and preserve Peru's black culture and música criolla. Ronaldo Campos de la Colina founded the Lima-based group with 12 family members. The group has been appointed by the government of Peru as the "Cultural Ambassadors of Black Peru." When Ronaldo Campos died in 2001, his son Rony Campos took over the direction of the troupe. Today, the group has over 30 members and a youth troupe, Peru Negrito. The group's album, Sangre de un Don led to the first ever U.S. tour in 2002. In 2005 the group was honored with two Grammy nominations for their second US album, Jolgorio. The first nomination came through the Latin Grammys’ traditional music category and the second for the Grammy’s World Music category and in 2008 the group received another Grammy nomination for their album Zamba Malato. In 2010, the group teamed up with famed Peruvian singer, Eva Ayllon to record the album 40 years of Afro Peruvian Classics. The collaboration led to a Latin Grammy Nomination for Best Folk Album.
The debut album from Peru Negro, a group of Afro-Peruvian performers who have been together since 1969. Previously the group had only been recorded for David Byrne's Soul of Black Peru compilation. This is Afro-Peruvian at its best in an ensemble format. The three most basic forms of music from the genre are presented on this CD: the festeja (nice, simple party music), the alcatraz (music accompanying a rather suggestive dance routine), and el toro mata, the most common type of song in the Afro-Peruvian traditions. Bandleader Ronny Campos serves as an excellent songwriter within the forms that are dealt. There is the obvious sound combination of Spanish and African flavors as one would expect, but there is an added tinge of something deeper. That something is rather difficult to put one's finger on, but it's an integral part of the music. For Afro-Peruvian music, there are certainly a number of worthwhile artists and albums to pick up (such as Susana Baca or Lucila Campos), but for the ensemble format, this is certainly worth placing at the top of the pile. The interplay of the female vocalists, the instrumentalists, and the male exclamations throughout the album makes it a stunning exercise in counterpoint and rhythm. Pick it up as a fan of the genre or as an intrepid newcomer.
Peru Negro - Sangre De Un Don ( flac 295mb)
01 Ruperta (Traditional) 4:16
02 Negro Por Siempre 4:37
03 Jolgorio De Los Negritos 3:40
04 Ollita Noma 4:33
05 Toro Mata 5:17
06 Samba Malató (Traditional) 4:16
07 Trabaja Trabaja 4:49
08 Machete En Su Cuna (Traditional) 5:40
09 Mama Nangue 3:58
10 Negro Con Sabor 3:47
11 Cocofrito 2:55
12 Sangre De Un Don 3:40
Peru Negro - Sangre De Un Don (ogg 119mb)
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