Llajgua Mix

February 9, 2010

During my stay in Santa Cruz I stopped at a music stand in the Siete Calles market and asked for “la música tradicional boliviana”. The young, slightly befuddled looking seller went foraging through his collection of burned mp3 cds and came up with…this (see photo). “Llajgua” is a variant of llajua (or llajwa), a Bolivian hot sauce made from peppers, tomatoes, and sometimes onions. I figured, hell, for 10 bolivianos ($1.50) I can take a gamble. A gamble that ended up being a little too spicy for my tastes – the music consists of 106 tracks of what essentially amounts to traditional dance “mixes” that all end up sounding pretty similar. I was looking for down-home, funky, gritty traditional folk music (which is surprisingly hard to find, just as it is oddly difficult to find good coffee and chocolate in the land where it’s grown) and got reverb, synths, and pseudo-folk fluff. It’s great for dances though, in fact the majority of the mixes are 8-10 minutes long and if you know how to do the chacarera, caporales, tinku (see previous post), saya, cueca, or other dance styles, you’ll have sore feet by the end of this compilation!
At my sister-in-law’s pre-wedding Bolivian dance class, I had received an invitation by the instructor, Oliver Fernando Argandoña de la Zerda – also a top notch musician and member of the famous Bolivian band Fortaleza (there are some great old vids of the band from back in the day) – to go to his home and obtain some local music, but due to time constraints wasn’t able to…doh! So here is a youtube clip of Fortaleza featuring Oliver (he’s the singer and flute player) waxing lyrical about the Caseritas (female market vendors/shopkeepers).

I picked this track, sung presumably by natives of Cochambamba, because of its unabashed pride for the city from whence it hails:
Mi tierra de Cochamba, es tierra maravillosa, es una tierra para vivir…



One Response to “Llajgua Mix”

  1. […] tuned up. The dancing reminded me of a mix between New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians and traditional Bolivian dancing, plus explosive epileptic-like fits. Just wait for the beat to drop around 0:38…While I wish […]

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