Customs

Cuzco’s Huayno Hour Promotes and Celebrates Tradition

Musicians Playing Huayno in Cuzco's Plaza de Armas (Photo: Wayra)

The huayno, a song and dance, is very important in our Peruvian Andes. Nevertheless, lately it does not receive the honor it deserves nor does its history and interpreters obtain the recognition and importance it should.

The huayno is both a happy and a sad music, according to the moment and the exponent. It is traditionally danced with skirts and handkerchiefs along with expressions of joy and passion.

There are diverse forms of dancing a huayno: in couple of in groups of more than 10 persons. You can call it the popular dance of our people. It requires a tapping of the shoes, what we call a zapateo, at a particular point in the music.

Dancing in the Plaza during the Huayno Hour
Dancing in the Plaza during the Huayno Hour

The huayno is performed on instruments such as the harp, which is very traditional. Sometimes people also use traditional clothing, such as the broad skirts, hats, and more. The most well known of our huaynos are the Valicha, Blue Eyes (Ojos Azules), The Scotch Broom Flower (Flor the Retama), the Pio Pio, etc.
Huaynos often have verses in Quechua. Both the words and the music make it stand out.

Just as people promote Quechua as a language in Cuzco, they also try to get people to know more about our huayno. Our municipal government of Cuzco has a project entitled “The Huayno Hour” (La Hora del Huayno) which tries to get people together at 6 pm Saturdays to hear and dance to the most representative of the corpus of Huaynos.

The Police Band Playing in the Huayno Hour
The Police Band Playing in the Huayno Hour

This event is carried out in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas and is free for all who wish to attend, whether you are from Cuzco, are only visiting, or are simply curious about why there are so many people in the Plaza.

In this way, our municipality hopes to keep alive this music and dance that is so much a part of our culture and make it better known and appreciated among those who reside in our city. They hope that all, including visitors, will carry with them the enchanting tunes of this music in their heads, sounding over and over again, as a memory of their time and experiences in our City.

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