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Indigenous music - what does it sound like?

Boy sitting on top of a mountain. The sun is setting.

As I am looking at the horizon of one of the most amazing urban cities of the Inca Empire, Machu Pichu, I remember a tale from my history class -

When colonizers arrived in the Andes, the warriors prepared themselves for armed combat while the women traveled through the mountains. Were they running away or hiding? No, they were getting ready to sing.

To sing, I wondered. “Yes, singing!”, said my teacher. They sing to the wonders of life, they sing to encourage their warriors, and they sing to lament that they might never see them again.

If I think about it a little bit more, I could say that the women managed to emit structured sounds with different vibratory frequencies than those known to visitors of the Latin American continent. A Quechua chant that traveled through the mountainous profile creating echoes and sounds with a tenebrous and disturbing effect. As a result, explorers were frightened by the mysterious mountains.

Is it fable or reality? As I feel the calmness, silence, and mystery evoked by these mountains, I understand that it carries celebration, life, pain, longing, and death. As Walt Whitman said, “Simplicity is the glory of expression”. The magic of music from indigenous communities is to be in touch with everything around them - the mountains, the animals, the people, the energy. Aren’t we all trying to find that connection today?

Lyrics of Zuni song about the Sunrise. Wake up arise, life is calling you.

We practice yoga, we try to have a flexible job schedule, we talk about spending time with family, we recognize that there is a problem with mental health, we look for a healthy diet, and we think about environmental issues, among many of today's topics.

In honor of all the social groups, tribes, people, and societies before us and some, luckily, still with us, I leave you with some of my favorite pieces. This list has an array of expressions but of course it cannot represent ALL of the richness of the North, Central, and South American Continent.

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