Afro-Peruvian music

Afro-Peruvian music, or Música negra, is a type of Latin American music first developed by black slaves from West Africa in South America, and especially in Peru, where it is known as música criolla. The genre is a mix of West African and Spanish music.


Música Criolla includes flamenco-influenced guitar sounds, as well as percussion instruments, including cajon, cajita, cowbell and quijada.


Much of the original music has been lost, but in the 1950s a revival was staged by José Durand, a white Peruvian criollo who was a folklore professor, and Porfirio Vásquez. Durand founded the Pancho Fierro Dance Company. Drawing upon elderly members of the community for memories of musical traditions, Durand collaborated with Vásquez to revive various songs and dances to create the repertoire for the group. One of the best known is his revival of the carnival dance “El Son de los Diablos.” In colonial times, this dance was featured in parades with a fleet of austere, pure angels leading the way, followed by the mischievous devils. In the revival of the dance, the angels were eliminated, and the crowds were entertained by rambunctious devils and their leader “el diablo mayor.” The dance featured energetic zapateo tap-dancing. The group performed for about two years, including a concert for Peruvian composer Chabuca Granda and a tour through Chile.

One long lasting Afro-Peruvian dance company was Perú Negro, which, incorporated more modern use of percussion combined with criollo music. Perú Negro is also known for their use of blackface, celebrating the mixture of African and Spanish heritage. Two of their best known pieces are “Dance of the Laundresses,” which depicts historical hard working yet beautiful black women in Peru, and the “Canto a Elegua,” which shows tribal religion before the Spanish influence.

Lima and Chincha are two areas where there are many performers of this music, which is played in night clubs, dinner dances and festivals.[1] Notable artists and groups through the years have included Victoria and Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Lucila Campos, Pepe Vásquez, and Susana Baca.[2] One of the best known songs in the genre is Peru's "Toro Mata".

See also


  1. Terry E. Miller; Sean Williams (1998). The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Southeast Asia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 501–. ISBN 978-0-8240-6040-4.
  2. Dale Olsen; Daniel Sheehy (17 December 2007). The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music. Routledge. pp. 485–. ISBN 978-1-135-90008-3.

External links

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