Music Album - Música Cañari: Indigenous Music from the Highlands of Ecuador


Allison Adrian

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2020


Though I recorded the majority of the music on this playlist, the music belongs to Cañari (indigenous) musicians from the highlands of Ecuador. The album was made possible by an agreement between me and my colleagues at Instituto Superior Quilloac Pedagógico in Cañar, Ecuador - in particular Pedro Solano Falcón and Andres Quinde - and all of the musicians who permitted me to record their music making.The majority of the recordings derive from two agrarian festivals: Inti Raymi – “the Festival of the Sun” in June and Lalay Raymi (Carnaval) in February. They represent just two of four annual agrarian festivals celebrated in the Andes.Inti Raymi is celebrated near the solstice. Originally derived from the Inca indigenous festival and celebrated in Peru – the seat of the Inca Empire - Inti Raymi is now widespread throughout Ecuador. Cañaris use the opportunity to relive the history of their ancestors, practice their spirituality, create music, and honor the natural world.Carnaval, or Lalay Raymi [festival of the “lalay” song] in Cañar, is a 5-day celebration that combines the indigenous agrarian celebration of Pawkar Raymi with Catholic pre-Lenten festivities. Pawkar Raymi marks a period of fertility and flowering in the agricultural cycle, as well as in romantic relationships. As in many Carnival celebrations across the global Catholic world, norms about appropriate behavior are suspended, and many social roles are reversed.Unless otherwise noted in the track descriptions, the tracks were recorded by Allison Adrian. The descriptions were written and translated by Allison Adrian, Erika Contreras, and Rebecca Gibson with the editorial assistance of Antonio Guamán, Pedro Solano, Marcos Aguayza, Juan Carlos Solano, and Judy Blankenship.