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Saint Paul SundayRumillajta

The Spirit of the Music

"TO EXPLAIN THE SPIRIT THAT MOVES OUR MUSIC, I need first to mention three qualities:

"First, it is profound, bound as it is to nature and to the cosmos. It reflects the mystery of the mountains, where the candor, the kind of the high ranges, is the voice of the altiplano and Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It expresses the fertile valleys: the puma, the force of the jungle: the ancient and living belief in Mother Earth and Father Sun.

Masked festival participants

Bolivian festival goers

"Secondly, it has a deep melancholy which comes from the inward reflectiveness of our people, which has been accentuated by the destruction and plunder of our ancient culture and the suffering of 400 years beneath the Spanish yoke. During colonial rule, the Indian population was reduced from 70 to 3.5 million, and those corpses formed the base from which the modern world powers rose up that still continue to control and dehumanize life in the West and in particular in the third world.

"Lastly and most importantly, there is energy which is seen in the strength of our people who meet the blows of fate without losing their love of life, their ability to live life to the full. This great vitality means that the music will never be consigned to museum archives or imprisoned by the norms of a rigid tradition. Just as history moves on, so the creativity and innovation of each era develop and find expression in living music...a 'music of life' which does not seek to touch the surface, but rather to reach the heart."

­ Juan Jorge Laura, Rumillajta

Festival drummer

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Text and images copyright Rumillajta.