The Aymara is an indigenous population (about two million people) centered around Lake Titicaca in the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains; they can be found living in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The Aymara language was originally coded and written in symbols to be used as mnemonic devices – somewhat similar to Egyptian glyphs. Under the influence of Spanish invasion and re-culturation, an alphabet was formed to notate the Aymara language. Some examples of interesting letters include “chh”, “kh” and “qh.” The sound of the language, while certainly informed by Spanish, has some Germanic and Arabic guttural qualities that come from pronouncing certain phonemes from the back of the throat.

Los Jilicatas, as far as I have been able to find, is a flower species of the Andes. This recording was captured around Lake Titicaca sometime in the early 1940’s; instruments include pan pipes, a drum, tambourine and a triangle. The groove is infectious and the sonority is strange, the beautiful harmonization being microtonally at odds with itself throughout (at least to the Western ear.)

Music of Peru, Ethnic Folkways – Los Jilicatas (Aymara Dance) <<PLAY