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September 2002

La Chimuchina:
The Sound of Ancestral America
spanish version
Nuestro.cl now presents in MP3 format the record Sonchapu by the Chilean musical group La Chimuchina. Their music is made with pre-Columbian instruments; some original, some remade.

By Rosario Mena

Siblauta

"To make music that's ours, urban, modern, based on the American indigenous aesthetic", is the main proposal of La Chimuchina, a musical group born in 1993 at the Chilean Pre-Columbian Art Museum, and formed by an archeologist, an ethno-musicologist, a designer, an archeomusician and two other musicians. Claudio Mercado, Victor Rondón, José Pérez de Arce, Norman Vilches and Cuti Aste are part of this urban contemporary tribe that has taken the challenge of giving new life to the original musical instruments of pre-Hispanic cultures.

Through geometrical figures, the scores used by La Chimuchina -all created by them- allow to reproduce the melodic movement with no heights nor interludes.

The tracks from their record "Sonchapu" take elements "developed during centuries at the Andes, like multiorchestral polyphonies, sound movements, changing musical space, trance music, the complex relation between music and its surroundings, and the use of homogenous sound masses with its intricate harmonic language. The orchestral formation coincides with that from the Andean cultures and makes the group a unique instrument, playing all in unison, with the same kind of flute, the same melodic trace, but not meeting at the heights nor the interludes. We have also mixed different orchestral formations trying not to coincide rhythmically, as it happens in musical contests in Andean sacred celebrations".

The group's origin is related to the investigations that for some years have been making Claudio Mercado and José Pérez de Arce around America's original music's aesthetic, concepts and beliefs. This work includes ethno musical investigations and registers of indigenous music from different parts of the country and has been developed with the help of FONDECYT (State Fund), the Andes Foundation and the Chilean Pre-Columbian Art Museum. Parallel to the investigation, these two musicians started a long process of sound experimentation, based on the observations of field works and different conceptualizations about music and the sound world. "The search centers in vocal techniques such as multiphonic, nasal or "open throat" singing, along with the interpretation of a wide range of ethnographic musical instruments and archeological replicas".

 
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