Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ecuadorian traditional music - Wednesday facts

Ecuadorians love music and it is a huge part of their culture.

They love to listen to it on the streets, in homes, at parties, and on buses—if you’re traveling in Ecuador, you're going to hear plenty of different sounding rhythms from modern to traditional Ecuadorian folk music.

And they love to dance to it, there cannot be music without dancing.

Ecuador is home to a number of cultures, including the Mestizo culture and a unique blend of Afro-Ecuadorian culture.

Afro-Ecuadorians are the descendants of African slaves who worked on the coastal sugar plantations in the sixteenth century.

The Afro-Ecuadorians that are present in Ecuador today are famous for their marimba music as well as their many music and dance festivals.

Long before the Spanish had conquered Ecuador, and even before the rise of the Inca civilization, the diverse native cultures of the region had rich musical traditions.

It is clear that music has always played an important role in the ancient Andean people’s lives as archaeologists have found some very old instruments, such as drums, flutes, trumpets and other musical artifacts, in ancient tombs.

In tourist areas such as Otavalo or Baños, you’re bound to encounter a native band (called a grupo or conjunto) composed of anywhere from four to 10 Ecuadorians, often dressed in native clothing, playing folkloric songs on traditional instruments.

The group is bound to have at least one guitarist, a drummer and at least one musician producing a haunting melody on a panflute, a traditional Andean instrument composed of varying lengths of bamboo lashed together.

In towns like Baños, the groups make the rounds of the more expensive tourist restaurants, stopping by and playing three or four songs, then passing the hat for tips and selling CDs of their music.

Some fancier places, such as haciendas that have been converted into hotels, have their own native bands that play for guests in the evening and during dinner.

If you’re lucky enough to get invited to a private party or make it to a local festival, you may see a banda del pueblo.

These bands are composed of locals who get together on special occasions to play mostly traditional music.

The instruments are often old and fairly beat up, and occasionally the musical talent is questionable, but whatever they may lack in skill or instruments they more than make up for in exuberance and volume.

Here are five songs, five groups, and five styles, a composition of variety, just like Ecuador.

1. Andean music


The haunting sounds of bamboo pipes have formed a part of the Andean landscape for over two millennia. The Andean melodies most people are exposed to today, however, are a result of centuries of colonialism and the migrations of peoples from different regions and continents.

Many people associate indigenous Andean instruments to the time of the Inca. Flutes are generically labeled “Inca Pan-Pipes” and the images of Macchu Picchu are conjured up in the imagination. While the Incas certainly employed the instruments we know as “Andean”, it is important to understand that many cultures preceded the Inca dynasty, and with those cultures flourished music and instrumentation that the Incas merely inherited.

“Traditional” Andean music is not soft, melodious or soothing. Rather, it is raucous and loud, bordering on discordant. It almost always includes the playing of large bass drums (italaques and wangaras), snare drums, and at least a dozen flute players employing pipes of different sizes and tunings.

2. Banda de pueblo or Albazo

Albazo is a kind of Andean Ecuadorian music. It is of indigenous and mestizo origin. It has a happy rhythm and generally it is played with guitar and requinto. It is also common that it is played by a “banda de pueblo”village band.

Albazo is a rhythm that is related generally to a music band called “banda de pueblo” which walk the streets during the festivities at dawn. That is why, its name comes from this part of the day plus the suffix –azo, augmentative character. 

Originally it was indiginous wedding music. Today it is listened and played is some cantons of the Chimborazo, Pichincha and Tungurahua province. Songs as Desdichas, Avecilla, Taita salasaca, Triste me voy, Se va mi vida and Esta guitarra vieja represent this music genre.

3. Shuar music from the Amazon

 Amazonic Kichwa music

The amazonic music is a mix of traditional rhythms, sounds and instruments from the Amazon cultures with modern, Spanish and Andean ones.

Parts of the music might be recognizable for people from the past but mostly it has been changed by the times.

Even though, it still mantains its strangeness to an ear used to european/african music that our western music is.

4. Bomba from Valle de Chota

Bomba from Chota is an Afro genre originally from the Chota Valley, that is located between the limits of the Imbabura and Carchi province. It is a rhythm created by the majority of the afro- Ecuadorian population from that area. Usually it is play with drums and Spanish instruments as guitar, requinto or guiro. The rhythm and the speed can oscillate between a light dance and a rapid intensity of many Afro rhythms with erotic forms. Another variation is the Banda Mocha which at its beginnings was composed by primitive instruments such as tree orange leaves, flutes, bowie knife, drum and cornet made of dry pumpkin, and also cigar, nags, comb, etc.

Some foreign genres were welcome in our country but when they were introduced in the national imaginary they were transformed. It is the case of the “Fox Incaico” whose name is dispute because of the features it acquired during its evolution.

We can say that it is a genre that arise in the first decades of the twentieth century with two variations: Fox Trot and the combination with melodies composed inside the Andean pentaphony, which resulted in a sort of San Juanito with different rhythmic accompaniment.  The Fox Incaico exists in Peru and Ecuador. In our country several composers created the habit of giving them titles and themes of indigenous roots.

5. San Juanitos

San Juanito is an Ecuadorian indigenous genre of Andean music. It was very popular in the twentieth century; it is a genre native to the province of Imbabura.

It is a happy and danceable genre that is played in the festivities of the mestizo and indigenous culture in Ecuador. “San Juanito” has a pre- Inca origin.

The Ecuadorian musicologist Luis Moreno guesses that San Juanito got its name because this music used to be danced at the birthday of St. Juan Baptist, a festivity established by the Catholic Church on June 24 to coincide with indigenous ritual of Inti Raymi.

It has morphed from its original form into the music to play in the popular fiestas, sounding many times very different from the concept of Andean music. As you can hear comparing these two different versions of the same song, Karaway.


  1. Thanks for giving us this info.. i listened to the different videos and they gave me a great insight of the traditional music!

  2. Love this! Such beautiful costumes and music! I think I would be a lot skinnier if I lived in Ecuador! Thanks for another beautiful and remarkable post.

  3. I love how every culture has distinct music. It's just beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing

  4. such vibrant colors and dancing. looks like a great place to visit

  5. What a wonderful introduction to all these different musical styles. Very cool!

  6. Music truly does bring people together. It makes people happy. I do not know anyone who doesn't enjoy music.

  7. Such Great Music I Love To Check Out Diffent Kinds Of Music!!

  8. How fun! Love the costumes as well. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. These photos show the excitement and energy happening in them! The costumes are lovely!

  10. Those are some beautiful pictures and costumes.

    Michelle F.

  11. I love how colorful their culture is. Thank you, once again, for sharing!

  12. It looks like Ecuador has very rich tradition when it comes to music. It would be nice to visit the place and appreciate the music and the scenery.

  13. wow learned something about ecuador hehe thanks

  14. I love reading your blog! Culture is so interesting!

  15. From I could read and hear in this post, Ecuatorian music is quite similar to Argentinian Northern music. I do agree on it being loud. :D

    1. Northern Argentinian music is popular here for that reason. It is quite similar and has that Andean flavor. And yes, it's loud, lol

  16. I love reading about the culture of Ecuador! It is so vibrant and the many different dances are amazing. One day I hope to visit.

  17. I love reading about other cultures. it's very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I will have to read more about your blog. Equador is on my list of place to live when we decide to become Expats.

  19. Ecuador sounds like a very interesting place with a lot of traditions. I would so love to visit there some day.
    Thanks for sharing.

  20. I remember when I was a kid, dressing up with folkloric dresses and skirts. The braids were traditional too. When I was about 7, I was part of a dance song about ribbons. Fun times.

  21. I almost spent a year in Ecuador as a foreign exchange student. it didn't work out. someday i still want to go.

  22. I like all the vibrant colors and different dances found within this post.

  23. Such a beautiful place! Love the colorful and vibrant colors and Ecuador's traditional music!

  24. This is beautiful. I love the photography and the music.

  25. This looks like a lot of fun to watch, these pictures are really beautiful.

  26. traditional music sounds very nice and new to my ears. they are fun and exciting!

  27. Traditional music should be really taught to kids to ensure that its passed on from one generation to another.

  28. Lovely pictures. I have been to Ecuador, and love the traditions.....I blog about my travels and would love it if you would stop by and take a peek....

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment, Karan. I will go check your blog right now :)

  29. Do you need Personal Loan?
    Business Cash Loan?
    Unsecured Loan
    Fast and Simple Loan?
    Quick Application Process?
    Approvals within 24-72 Hours?
    No Hidden Fees Loan?
    Funding in less than 1 Week?
    Get unsecured working capital?
    Contact Us At
    *Commercial Loans.
    *Personal Loans.
    *Business Loans.
    *Investments Loans.
    *Development Loans.
    *Acquisition Loans .
    *Construction loans.
    *Business Loans And many More:
    Contact Us At

  30. I am Michelle Huxford from Casper, Wyoming. I was in a very chronic financial issue and terminal health situation some few weeks back. After all my search for assistance from friends and neighbors proved abortive, I feel there was no one who truly cares. I became so emaciated due to lack of good food and my 2 kids age 5 and 8 were not also good looking due to lack of proper care as a result of finance. One faithful morning I saw an old time friend of my late husband and I told him all I have been going through and he said the only way he could help was to direct me to a good loan agency that also helped him, He explained to me on how he was financially down and how he got boosted by this loan agency UPSTART LOAN INC ( ) who grant him 245,000 USD loan at an affordable rate. He further assured me that they were the only legit loan firm he found in the quest of seeking for loan after been scammed by various fake loan lenders online. He gave me their email: or text/call (574) 301-1639, That was how i applied and was also granted a loan and my life changed for the good. CONTACT THE ONLY GENUINE LENDERS( UPSTART LOAN INC) VIA email: or call +1 (574) 301-1639 to resolve your financial mess.

  31. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:( Thank you.


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..

    Email Kindly Contact: (

  32. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:( Thank you.