Issue - May 2010



May 2010

Editorial

In this edition, Rocío Carranza writes of her experience at the Climate Change Conference, Sradhanjali Kootungal distills Cochabamba’s confusing transportation network, Husein Meghji uncovers the story behind the political graffi ti around the city, Jamie Bassett looks at one of the city’s oldest festivals and Walter Sánchez unearths the origins of Santiago the Indian-killer. read more...

May 2010

Luz Mila PatiƱo Festival: Saving Bolivian Music

This August 19th-22nd the music festival Luz Mila PatiƱo will be hosted at the Palacio de los Portales. Jamie Bassett find out what this festival was all about.

Jamie Bassett
Projects Abroad
Volunteer
East Sussex - United Kingdom


The Luz Mila PatiƱo festival is more than just any festival; it is a celebration of traditional Bolivian music in an increasingly globalised world, attempting to preserve BoliviaĀ“s distinctive styles of music before they are lost forever. Later this year the Simon I. PatiƱo Foundation will be hosting the nearly forty year old festival at the Palacio itself, focusing particularly on the violin. Mrs Alba told me that a team from the cultural centre is currently searching for musicians with unique styles or techniques to invite them to play at their concert in August. They then record the concert to keep a detailed log of every performance, including not only the music itself but also the instruments involved and notes on how it was played. These recordings are stored in their sound archive, preserving the music and style it was played in for future generations and allowing other musicians to study and draw inspiration from it.

When the concert is over they then hold talks for a few days afterwards, allowing the musicians to exchange ideas and techniques, ensuring not only the preservation of traditional Bolivian music but also encouraging the development of new unique styles.

The evolution of this educational yet very enjoyable festival has been a long journey. Although the cultural centre opened in 1968, the festival actually dates back to 1951. Named after Mr. PatiƱoĀ“s wife, it originally began as a yearly concert to help support Bolivian music in education, with numerous musicians competing for the grand prize of a scholarship to a European school. Musicians who benefitted from this include the famous Bolivian artists Jaime Mendoza, Teresa Laredo, Alberto Villalpando, Florencio Posada, Carlos Loayza, and many others.

These high-profile successes eventually turned the concert into a national festival. Mrs. Alba explained that in 1971 the cultural centre decided to change their focus as they wanted to dedicate the concert to promoting and preserving traditional Bolivian music, and to do that it needed to be less exclusive. Everyone should be involved, not just a select few.

Now every year the centreĀ“s team searches the country, scouting for unique styles of music. When they find them, they encourage the musicians to hold a concert in their community and invite other musicians to come and listen. This way the local people can get involved as well as the musicians, as they have the opportunity to hear different types of music, sometimes for the first time. This promotes interest in music and can encourage more people to learn and develop their own styles, allowing the evolution of music to roll on.

Nearly forty years on, the festival of Luz Mila PatiƱo is still going strong and has amassed a vast selection of Bolivian music in its archive, helping to teach and inspire future generations for years to come.

The Cult of Santiago Indian-killer in Cochabamba

Before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores to the Andes, there existed Illapa, the feared and powerful God associated with thunder, rays, and lighting. According to the Jesuit chronologist Joseph de Acosta in his book ā€œHistoria Natural y Moral de Indiasā€ the Incas ā€œafter Viracocha

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