The memory of Alfonso Cachiguango is latent . Only 10 days have passed since his death and sadness at the sudden departure of who was a musical institution, overwhelms the cultural sector .
Cachiguango died on Sunday, June 21, at the age of 64. He suffered from diabetes and other ailments.
But his legacy lives on and the Ñanda Mañachi group, created by the artist, is preparing to commemorate another founding anniversary.
Ñanda Mañachi in Kichwa means “Lend me the way.” During these nearly five decades they have walked to the beat of their compositions from the community of Peguche, in the province of Imbabura .
José Luis Pichamba, a musician of the group since its inception and current director of Ñanda Mañachi, recalls that in the past his main activity was agriculture.
In difficult times of drought in the fields, weaving and crafts were their second way of surviving.
“ Music is a heritage from our grandparents and we teach it to our children. It was never our idea to live on it, but time allowed through music, to know other worlds and to relate, “José says.
The group’s beginnings are linked to the French ethnomusicologist Chopin Thermes , who arrived in the country in 1971 at the time of the Inti Raymi.
Thermes was responsible for bringing together musicians from the communities to explore rhythms . In 1973, he married Hermelinda Males, who was a member of the Indian dance group “Muyacán”, but she died in 1976 when she gave birth to her daughter Sayana.
The cause of his death was sepsis, derived from a cesarean section operation. From this, the Ñanda Mañachi project gains momentum for the recording of the first album Ñanda Mañachi I, in memory of Hermelinda.
This first LP was released in 1977 with 2,500 copies edited after four years of work. The second album, Ñanda Mañachi 2, was released in 1979 with 3,000 copies.
In 1980 they launched Ñanda Mañachi 3, with a circulation of 4,000 copies. And from 1979 to 1981 one album was produced each year.
The works were produced under the record label ‘Llaquiclla’, which means happy and sad at the same time, indicates a research work on this group carried out by Zoila Gallegos for the Salesian Polytechnic University based in Quito.
The last record work titled La Persistencia de los Sueños was recorded in 2002. Now one of Ñanda Mañachi’s projects , made up of 12 artists, is to record a new CD.
The success has led the musical group to receive awards and perform in Ecuador, Latin America and Europe . ( I )
They have relied on social media during the pandemic
The group launched last February the agenda “Rumbo al Cincuentenario” for the celebration of its anniversary.
Currently Ñanda Mañachi has chosen to share his music on social networks, in the context of the health emergency decreed by the Government due to the pandemic.
“We cannot go out but we are making music , which we like,” says José Luis Pichamba, 62, who also has an Andean instrument workshop called Ñanda Mañachi .
He has been making musical instruments for 47 years , a passion that started at the age of 12. Along the way, he has perfected techniques, with which he has made instruments from Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
For the Andean settlers, music is an element of resistance that has allowed dominated cultures to generate manifestations of independence from the dominant culture, which is why traditional cultures found a way to preserve their cultural and symbolic universe . ( I )