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Saint Paul SundayRumillajta

Music From the Dawn of Time

Bolivia is a country of severe natural contrasts. Its western regions encompass some of the loftiest mountains and plateaus in the world; its high and low valleys, deeply carved by millennia of ice and snow, shelter immense tropical gardens; and its windswept lowlands stretch southward along great expanses of desert, prairie, and Amazonian rain forest.


Bolivian festival goers

For hundreds of years, this complex geography has been the site of wrenching cultural and political change. The territory's indigenous Amyra and Inca peoples have endured invasion, genocide, slavery, and colonization. Though Bolivia's ruggedly inaccessible landscape has slowed some of the environmental devastation present elsewhere in South America, exploitation of the country's natural resources, without regard for its original inhabitants, has been the rule.

Through everything, the people native to this magical, sometimes troubled region have survived. Rumillajta, an ensemble of five musicians from La Paz, Bolivia, are a testament to how cultural expression can keep the ancient spiritual and ethnic identity of a people alive. Using the authentic instruments of their musical tradition, Rumillajta performs works that express the themes most meaningful to them ­ love, nature, regional identity, and spiritual strength ­ at the highest artistic level.

Rumillajta and mountains

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Images copyright Rumillajta.