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Folklore and its most hidden roots

This musical genre finds its roots in the old continent. However, Cuyo folklore treasures pre-Columbian, Asian and African ancestors.
08 January, 2020

You can imagine that the chords, rhythms and compasses of folklore have their roots in Europe and, above all, in Spain. Presumably, the colonizing world that came to our continent at the end of the 15th century brought with it much of its culture. In the case of Mendoza, winemaking finds its beginnings at that time, and with the arrival of the first vines from Europe. However, not only our mother industry, but also our most characteristic musical genres also came from those parts.

Well, now. Are the colonizers the only ones who had influence on our folklore? The answer is decidedly negative. Our own native peoples had already formed the basis of this music. Added to this was the contribution of Asian and African civilizations.

It is that the colonial villages of Cuyo received Africans enslaved since the sixteenth century, and already in the middle of the seventeenth century the slave trade had influence on the commercial corridor between Buenos Aires and Lima. While, when the revolution broke out in the Río de la Plata, in Mendoza, Africans and Afromestizos accounted for 33% of the total population, the highest record ever known in the province. According to the same census, made in 1812, they reached 20% of the population in San Juan and 9% in San Luis.

The contribution of the writer Juan Draghi Lucero

In his short book Las mil y una noches argentinas(The Thousand and One Nights) of 1994, he points out that in the culture of which these social presences were not transparent. According to the author, two folklores lived together on Cuyo’s soil, one visible and the other invisible. “The first had the form of Spanish roots; the second appeared disform, of disconcerting beauty, with pre-Columbian, Asian and African roots. ”

Thus, part of the roots of Cuyo folklore is underpinned by the influence of people who came from the antipodes of the globe to our payments. Wind or percussion instruments, with their respective evolution, are used to this day, such as flute, xylophon and trumpet.

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