In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • An Interview with Juan Sotelo*
  • Charles Henry Rowell, Marcus D. Jones, and Monica Carrillo
Rowell:

How long have you been devoted to music?

Sotelo:

I have been devoted to Afro-Peruvian music for twenty-five years.

Rowell:

How long have you been with your band?

Carrillo:

I got started in music with the band, so I have been with them for twenty-five years. That got me started on Afro-Peruvian music, as did what my father has accomplished because he has been an excellent guitarist.

Rowell:

What was the purpose of organizing this group?

Sotelo:

The band was created to continue what we have inherited, to recover our roots as a race. Afro-Peruvian music comes from the inheritance of a united Africa. As their descendants, we're always drawn toward the esoteric, toward the magic that music has. And that's what got me interested.

Carrillo:

How would you define your band, in its current makeup?

Sotelo:

Our mission continues to be the same, but without losing the essence of what dance is. Generally speaking, bands like ours do not lose their roots. We might change shades of a certain thing, but we do not lose our roots.

Rowell:

Does it serve the community or is it self-serving?

Sotelo:

All music or dance is created on the basis of the life there is in the community. The life of the community can be presented as a scene in a theater production. But at the same time, we are a commercial production. You know that creatively, critically, we have to educate ourselves on the basis of what we know or what we express or our traditions. In the case of dance, there are times when troupes modernize the content a bit but the essence [End Page 342] is lost. It loses its artistry a bit, what came from the image of the community. If you go to see art, you must see art and not the commercial parts.

Carrillo:

Could you tell us what are the most common dance styles?

Sotelo:

Within Afro-Peruvian music we have lando. When the zamacueca enters the dance halls, it is transformed into the northern marinera. That same marinera, when it goes into the countryside, becomes the fondero. And that same marinera returns to the slaves, to the fugitive slaves' settlements, and it becomes the marinera limeña or the black marinera. It makes a complete circle to return to its roots.

Jones:

What does it mean for you to be Afro-Peruvian? That is to say, how do you define that word in your life? What importance does it have?

Sotelo:

"Afro" refers to the inheritance from Africa, and "Peruvian" to the Peruvian descendance. The Spaniards came. They went through the area called Chincha Baja and what is now San Jose. When they confirmed that the valley of Chincha was fertile and there was enough water to irrigate far, they brought blacks directly from Africa. That's what gives us the mixing among the Indians and the Spaniards. A new race of creoles, of mestizos, is borne. That's where Afro-descendants come from.

Carrillo:

What part of that is important for your life and your artistic aim?

Sotelo:

For instance, in terms of customs, we Africans are very sentimental, very deep people. When there is a custom, even in religious matters, we are very deep in our prayers, in questions of carrying that suffering. We have a very distinct way of doing things compared to other races. And I think that Afro-descendants have made very valuable contributions to Peruvian society.

Carrillo:

Do you think that through your band you can demonstrate or offer another look at what has become too commercialized or something that is being made only to be sold?

Sotelo:

To talk about a particular kind of music or dance twenty-five years ago was like a crime. Generally speaking, they offered no opportunities for singers or young women who could dance Afro-Peruvian music. But we have made great progress. Now, they pay us to sell Afro-Peruvian music. Now they pay us to sell the instruments that will advance Afro-Peruvian music. Now, celebrations end...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Pages
pp. 342-558
Launched on MUSE
2011-05-19
Open Access
No
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