The entire Andean region cannot be defined as one singular culture. It is likewise difficult to categorize the various forms of taki kapchiy ('music' in Quechua) from the Andean region into one class. While traditional folk music exists in every Indigenous community, the influence of local styles, as well as Spanish and African elements, are visible on these Andean music genres. Such types that exemplify this influence are the Saya, Chacarera, and Cueca, which are popular in Bolivia and Argentina, as well as the Marimba in Ecuador.
The Colombian region can be characterized by music such as Champeta and Bullerengue; in Ecuador, Indigenous music takes the form of Bomba, Pasillo, Pasacalle and Yarabi. Andean regions in Argentina feature Carnavalito and versions of cumbia. Traditional Peruvian music typically includes Huayno and Tunantada, as well as Harawi, a type of poetry often sung along with the quena (flute). Despite the differences in Andean music across varying geographical contexts, these songs, melodies, and rhythms frequently overlap.
Music movements that blend modern and traditional, Indigenous sounds such as Trap Andino or Inka Trap, as well as pop-infused styles of Cumbia, are becoming more popular in these regions. Aiming at revitalizing the language and culture of Indigenous music that is often relegated to the past, these artists are creating more accessible avenues to which members both inside and outside of the community can connect.
The following is a selection of sources related to Andean music available through the Library of Congress, including photographs, print books, audio materials, collections, and interviews with community members. A sample of external links for exploring the musical varieties of the Andean region are also provided.
In the following interviews, community members discuss the aspects of Andean music that make it so unique. For Leonard Soto, Andean Huaynos have provided a space for connecting with his heritage, and its rich instrumentals transport him to his roots, his home, and his family. For musician, composer, and activist Renata Flores, Andean music is a powerful way to bring an Indigenous language like Quechua into the mainstream and preserve its beauty, culture, and future.
These interviews delve into the concept of music as a link to ancestral and cultural knowledges and its significance to language revitalization and preservation.
The links to the catalog below offer references for a deeper understanding of the different types, sounds, and cultural context of Andean music. We include additional online content where available. Staff in the Hispanic Reading Room can provide access to the materials located at the Library of Congress. If you cannot visit us in person send us a message through Ask a Librarian to further assist you.
The following is a small sample of the different types of music in the Andean region. These links will hopefully provide a glimpse into the varied and rich genre of those who are bringing traditional sounds, languages, and rhythms into the mainstream and spotlight.
These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Library of Congress of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. The Library of Congress bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.