Peru has a rich musical heritage. Just as its culinary traditions carry in them the history of this diverse land and the many currents of people who come to it, so too the music has the nuances of its coast, mountains, valleys, and jungle as well as centuries of immigration. Today, the 31st of October, it makes its annual celebration of Creole song, música criolla, one of its major musical styles. Throughout the country the voices, guitars and cajón (the wood box drum) of this style will be remembered and performed today.
In Cuzco today there will be special presentations of Creole music in the Garden of the Cerveza Cusqueña, the Coliseum Uriel García, and in the closed stadium Casa de la Juventud (House of Youth). When night falls, in the midst of all the events planned for Halloween–since this North American celebration has taken the country by storm, there will be moments when Creole music will take the stage or speakers and every body will shift to dance to the rhythm of the cajón
Many institutions, such as schools, have prepared special numbers for this day where children will dress like the Afro-Peruvians of the coast who are the symbols of this coastal style that has become an emblem of Peru. they will also play the wooden box, the cajón, that is the classic drum of the coast to enliven the morning of the 31st.
Midday people will enjoy food suggestive of this tradition. To the rhythm of the cajón and acoustic guitar accompanying sweet melodies of love won and lost by people who interpret the songs of this national past time. This will especially take place in the garden restaurants known as quintas where the traditional creole dishes that are the patrimony of the entire country. At the same time it will happen at home in family lunches.
This song style with its creole waltzs, the marinera, and much more blends African, Spanish and indigenous musics into songs that as the city of Lima exploded in growth during the early twentieth century captured the ears and bodies of these immigrants. It developed at the same time as creole food and contemporary Peruvian nationalism to take over the country.
We can emphasize some musicians among the many who are known for música criolla, such as Chabuca Granda, Pepe Básquet, Eva Ayllón, Lucía de la Cruz and many others. Contemporary performers of this music will be busy this evening giving concerts and making all the people who attend pulse rhythmically as they dance along.
In Cuzco some young people will take the initiative to go out in the streets, on this Halloween night, with a cajón and guitar, dressed as Afro-Peruvians, to sing to all the passers-by. Some may think it is part of Halloween but it is really because they want our brothers and sisters to know and appreciate the great tradition of our happy and lively creole music, our música criolla.