May 2012

“Cholitas” and “Señoritas”

Stealing hearts

One of the most remarkable musical phenomena in Cochabamba occurring during the last years is the formation of bands of young women, selfcalled “cholitas”. This woman emerge finds its past history in young peasant singers, coming from the valley and the north of Potosí, in the second half of the 1960’s; promoted by the local cultural industry. In those years, valley artists excelled like EncarnaciónLazarte (the first one and the most important), Braulia Jaldin, Marina Torrico, Dora Romero and the unforgettable Martha Sotoasi; like Ruperta Condori or LuzmilaCarpio north Potosi singers. All of them are peasant singers accompanied on the set by men who play native musical instruments.

By: Walter Sánchez C.
Instituto de Investigaciones
Antropológicas
UMSS



Cover of the Florencitas de Mizque’s album

A non-musical registry of this presence is the photographic images used for the cover of the discs of 33 rpm also in cassettes. Those portraits were taken in areas of their daily life in which most of them appear carrying their little children in their backs and wearing everyday costume: panama hats (called locally “tarros”), K’epis (brief case), blusa and pollera.

This strong presence of rural woman within the musical industry keeps going but less visible since 1990’s staying the same until the end of 20th century keeping a low profile. But since years 2000 renew and vigorous re-emergency of new young singers is appearing, specially coming from Cochabamba and its provinces.

It is not the goal of this short article to highlighting the context in which this appearance, associated as before with the musical industry, occurred. Nowadays it is remarkable to show how they are represented onto cover of CDs and DVDs.



Cover of the Consentidas

A first element that stands out is their artistic names, a distinctive way to show their artistic identities. At the contrary of the 1960-1980’s where woman singers were self-presented with their proper names, current artist are appearing in groups made of up to five members, have names which refers, according to them, to metaphors about feminine characteristics: “Las Florecitas de Mizque”, “Las Consentidas”, “Las Robacorazones”, “Las Chinchillas del Norte de Potosí”, “Las Originales”; names which are contrasting and separating them from the identity and the artistic names of young musicians who accompany them: “Los Solitarios”, “Los Guardianes X 100pre”, “Los Privilegios”, “Los Tentadores del Charango”. A second element is the photographic images in which they appear in a first plane. A third element is the position in which they appear in the photographs: Always looking straight ahead and most of them appear with their hands on their hips. A fourth element to underline is the costume that they are wearing: braids, “faluchos” (earrings), short-sleeved blouses, heels and short polleras; always using bold and contrasting colors: pink, green, light blue, purple and white. One last element would be the importance of the differentiation between “cholitas” and “señoritas” (they also wear “polleras”). The “cholitas” prefer to take photographs in sets where the background is associated with rural areas: mountains, rivers, forests, etc.; meanwhile the “señoritas” prefer international sets, with skyscrapers, beaches, to say, urban or metropolitan landscapes.



Cover of the Roba Corazones' album

What kinds of narratives identity are giving these young artist women through their album covers? First, being “cholita”, it is clear in all the pictures. This image of “cholita” identity also appear as “cholitas transformers” or “señoritas” who do not speak quechua, they use thick hair extensions braided, and are mainly born in the city or a provincial capital, wearing in a daily bases occidental clothes. Both categories, “cholita” and “señorita” or “cholita transformer”) are a part of the tensions in the process of building feminine identities within the city. Beyond this identity conflict between peasants “cholitas” and “señoritas”, people from the city and people from the country side, the strong emergence of as a young woman the “cholita” artist image within the urban world through the musical industry, the paradox of all this process is that the strong presence is coming from the cultural industry, which always has been seen as machinery formatting peasant women to convert the music of these young women into merchandise. However these young people are aware of the possibilities that provide this industry in order to promote their own narrative identity. And even more, to generate a musical, esthetic, broadranging dance, economic and politic narrative. Nothing else is showing the schemes that every relational frameworks like the cultural industry covering the management of their agreements, the production of CDs, planning performance circuits including local, national and international events.

“The strong emergence of as a young woman the “cholita” artist image within the urban world through the musical industry, the paradox of all this process is that the strong presence is coming from the cultural industry, which always has been seen as machinery formatting peasant women to convert the music of these young women into merchandise.

MUSEO DE ARQUEOLOGIA


Investigaciones:
Antropologicas

Traductores :
Arce Ameller Vivian
Cruz Jacinto Elva
Pacci Leiza Lineth

Calendario MAYO 2012
> Exposición fotográfica “Mercados, síntesis del mundo”
(artista Michel Jégu)
2 - 14 de mayo
Horarios de visita:
9:00 - 12:00 / 15:00 -19:00

> Concierto de piano de Cyril Huvé

8 de mayo
Salón principal – Centro
Pedagógico y Cultural Simón I.
Patiño Hora: 19:00
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