Bolivian interlude

In honor of Evo Morales’ victory in Bolivia, I’ve excavated a trove of Bolivian music.

35 years or so ago (in the very early 1970s) our friends Kent and Shel Anderson spent a couple of years in Cochabamba, where Shel did fieldwork on market systems. They brought back a small collection of 7-inch 33 1/3 records of music that was being played on the radio in Cochabamba at that time, and the records stayed with me when they left Nova Scotia in 1973. I puzzle over them every few years –the music is raw and amateurish in its production values, and completely unapologetic for being utterly Bolivian. I don’t have enough of the cultural context to appreciate the documentary significance of these records in Bolivian cultural terms, so for me they’re just a snapshot of another reality. I can’t imagine that there’s any harm in digitizing and distributing them in 2005.

Emiliana Velazco should certainly be better known for her absolutely unique vocal style (or maybe it’s not unique, and everybody in Valle Hermoso sings that way…). You can’t quite believe she’s going to keep doing that for six minutes… and then you turn the record over, and find that she has another six minutes in her…

Santa Veracruz (tonada) 6 min, 11MB and Coplas de Todos Santos 6 min, 11MB

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