Llajtasuyo — Music of the Andes
Their music has the power to make people stop and say, “Wow! What is that, who is that?” The answer is Andean music, performed by Llajtasuyo. Llajtasuyo is a musical group based in Atlanta playing the music they grew up with—Andean music. Andean music is native to South America; originating in the central Andean regions of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, homeland of the Inca people.
This melody-driven music is unique because the instruments used create sounds of nature, like the sound of air going through the Andes Mountains, the summer rain or waterfall, or the sound animals and insects of the tropics.
Wind instruments compromised the majority of instruments used in traditional Andean music. However influences from the Spanish invasion of the 16th century introduced stringed instruments to the region. The Andean people fashioned a stringed instrument about the size of a small mandolin that was uniquely theirs called the charango. African slaves brought to the region by the Spaniards brought along their traditions, rhythms and percussion. The strings of the Spaniards and the percussion of the Africans infused with the native music created a version of Andean music called Criolla and Afro-Peruvian, respectively. Each region has its own musical identity in terms of instruments, dance, tuning and rhythm.
Primary instruments used in traditional Andean music are the zampona (panpipes with two rows of pipe), the quena flutes (traditionally carved from the femur bones of humans, llamas, condor wing bones, clay, stone, cane or wood), the charango (a 10-string instrument of southern Peru and Bolivia), and the bombo (Andean drum).
Llajtasuyo’s style of music is rooted in the traditional Andean rhythmic musical heritage, but with a hint of contemporary influence that gives them a style of their own. The talented musicians of Llajtasuyo are Alexander “Alex” Cáceres, Moises Aguirre, Freddy Escobar, Robert Azabamba, and Hector “Tito” Sandoval.
Alex is founder of Llajtasuyo. He has been playing guitar since he was ten years old. Alex plays the quena, zampoñas, and charango and serves as music director, musician and sound engineer for Llajtasuyo. Alex is originally from Callao, Peru (a community of Lima).
Moises is the oldest member of Llatjasuyo. He formed Llatjasuyo with Alex. Moises is the principal on quenas and zamponas and also sings. Moises moved to the U.S. in 1989 from Lima, Peru.
Freddy is the principal guitarist for Llatjasuyo and is one of the original members of the group. Freddy began playing when he was 15 years old. He arrived in the U.S. in 1996 and immediately began playing with Llatjasuyo. Freddy is from Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Robert is from Huancayo, Peru where he free-lanced with several Andean music groups. Robert plays zamponas, quenas and also sings. Robert came to the U.S. with his family in 1997.
Tito came to the U.S. from La Paz, Bolivia in 1992 on a scholarship to study at Georgia Tech. However, Tito was playing Andean music long before he came to the U.S. Tito plays percussion for Llatjasuyo, writes original music for the group and is the lead singer.
Llatjasuyo performs every other Sunday afternoon at Underground Atlanta’s Lower Alabama Main Stage, has conducted educational and musical workshops in Metro Atlanta and surrounding communities and performs across the Southeast, Miami, and New Jersey.
If you’d like to know more about Llajtasuyo and Andean music visit the following websites.
(Visit Llajtasuyo’s website frequently for announcements of upcoming performances).