Music has been part of the customs of Chimborazo. The artists highlight the gratitude to the Pachamama. The group brings together the best choristers in Quichua from communities such as Cacha, Punín, among others.
The desire to sing along with her mother led Petrona Tenelema Mangya, 40, to record musical lyrics in her mind. Not knowing how to read or write, she used to repeat them in a low voice to later accompany her mother.
As a child, her mother’s voice became the favorite: she listened to it all the time humming and on other occasions singing and dancing took over her, filling her memory with great memories.
The music has also served to evangelize the inhabitants of the province of Chimborazo. “My sisters and I really enjoyed my mom’s voice, they even used to ask her to sing at community parties because she did it with a lot of grace,” the artist said.
At the age of 15, Petrona already had a musical repertoire with which to entertain while performing the tasks of plowing the land and harvesting the product, because she was raised in the Punín parish of the Riobamba canton, whose population is formed by the 95% of indigenous people and dedicated largely to agriculture and livestock.
“All the time I was surrounded by music, my grandmother taught my mother, she taught me and I am teaching my daughters, I even have them sing with me,” Petrona added. Now this woman of medium height and with a black hair that reaches up to her waist is part of the 150 indigenous women who make up the Andean choir promoted by the Culture Department of the Municipality of Riobamba.
For her it was a “captivating” proposal that when listening did nothing but respond with great emotion that yes, because she considers that this initiative not only highlights the qualities of the Puruhá people but keeps the traditions alive.
This project, which began in October 2016, brought together the best choristers in Quichua from the communities of Cacha, Punín, Flores, San Juan and Pungalá, ages ranging from 5 to 70 years, highlighting interculturality and inclusion of the peoples.
“Music has always been part of the customs of our land, in fact in our parishes has always been an essential part of both happiness and sadness,” said Aurio Gallo, a resident of Punin. The choir has already had several presentations in different events in the province of Chimborazo, captivating with their lyrics to those present.
Some of them highlight the creation of God, the gratitude to the Pachamama for the favors received, “in addition to everyday aspects such as sowing, harvesting, love, our animals that are important for our daily living; We cover all kinds of things that make us happy, “said Rosa Pulla, a member of the choir.
Presentation in the capital
For the first time the Andean choir was merged with the municipal symphony orchestra that was created in October 2015 and consists of 60 young artists, whose ages range from 15 to 24 years.
The preparation that took them several weeks culminated in an unprecedented concert at the national theater of the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión. The songs were performed in Quichua and in Spanish and left in the memorable artists experiences that helped them combine symphonies of classical, tropical music, popular rhythms of Ecuadorian music with the traditional music of Puruhá.
“We are happy to have two different orchestral thoughts, in which interculturality is observed. Usually they sang with pre-recorded accompaniments, but we think that this type of music must be accompanied by instruments that go according to the treasure they have. We hope to continue with this idea of keeping alive the oral tradition, which in the end can become the heritage of our province, “said Juan Carlos Ruales, director of the symphony orchestra.
Music to evangelize “It was Monsignor Leonidas Proaño who started with the idea of using music to evangelize, and from there for indigenous peoples it is important that the songs carry messages of God, his creation and giving thanks, so this is maintained current between the communities, “said Carlos Ruales, director of the municipal symphony orchestra.
In 1962 the Bishop of the Poor, as the monseñor was known, founded the Popular Radio Schools (ERPE), used for the literacy, education and evangelization of the indigenous people. In this it was about claiming the Quechua language and prevailing indigenous culture. (I)