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South America


Easter in Cusco, Peru April 11,2009


The Easter season in Latin America is a strange hybrid between the
Catholic faith and ancient indigenous celebrations, especially here in
Peru. Earlier, on Good Friday, we recorded a procession of thousands
of people carrying a crystal casket with a statued body of Christ in
repose after his execution on the cross. It was proceeded by a chorus
of elderly women singing Christian chants in their native Quechua. It
was a haunting sound and seemed to have little to do with the Spanish
version of their faith.

On Saturday, we were in the central square of Cusco to view a parade
of all the dances from the districts surrounding Cusco and the
Urubamba region. Each dance group was costumed to the highest and had
their own band to play their processional dance. Since there didn't
seem to be any barrier, I stood next to the musicians to record their
performances. Then came the next group, and the next, and so on for
the afternoon. It was fascinating and beautiful, especially because
the version of Peruvian music that we were hearing before was intended
for tourists. Here, it was the pure songs from the villages which were
most interesting to me.