Thursday, February 21, 2013

OMEA- Afro Peruvian Music

The very first workshop I went to at OMEA a few weekends ago was one on Afro Peruvian Music.  It was given by Amy Beegle who s a professor at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. This music is so fun to listen to and easy to incorporate into a lesson because it is basically just layered percussion ostinatos with vocals.

While at the workshop I learned a little history of the style, as well as the instruments that are typically used.  Afro-Peruvian music stared when the slave trade brought Africans of diverse cultural backgrounds to Peru.  The music is a blend of all these cultures- Spanish, Andean, and African. Today it is still heard in coastal villages in Peru as well as on recordings and in convert halls around the globe. 

There are three very cool percussion instruments played along side guitar or other melodic instruments.  These include the Cajon, which is a large wooden box played with the hands while sitting on it; the Cajita, a small wooden box hung around the neck and struck with a stick while the lid is also opened and closed rhythmically; and finally, the Quijada, a donkey jaw bone played by scraping the teeth and striking the bone with your fist.  The Quijada is the predescessor to the vibraslap! Here is a video that shows them all:

There are different genres of Afro-Peruvian music, which are identified by the Cajon rhythms, and variations there-of.  Fiesto is festive and heard in a 6/8 meter.  Landon is slow and sensual and heard in a 4/4 meter.  The habanera is flirtatious and also heard in 4/4.  Some groups have even added in horns to create an Afro-Peruvian jazz. 

We learned songs in the workshop like MARIA, a call and response, The call response part of Samba Malato and Los Cubiertos, a full song.  Even if you just have your students listen to this music and discover the layers, or give a little history, it can add a lot of fun to a lesson.  

One more video just for fun!

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