1. Hey everybody! Welcome back for another Song of the Day… I think we’re at like 19 now, which makes me a little proud of myself, which in turn makes me ashamed that such a small accomplishment makes me feel proud. But I digress.

    Today we’re going to switch gears a little bit and move into the Andes for a song by Martina Portocarrero, called “Paceñita”. We’ll notice quite a few differences in this song from past material, which we will get into a little bit later.

    Unless you are from Peru or really obsessed with folk and Andean music like me, you’ve probably never heard of Martina, so who is she? In short, she was a singer of Huayños and other indigenous Peruvian genres active mostly in the 80s. During this time period, a people’s war fought by the Partido Comunista del Peru - Sendero Luminoso (commonly known in the US as the Shining Path) took place against the government, often pitting the largely indigenous Sendero Luminoso against the state forces. This war continued until 1992, when PCP-SL’s Chairman Gonzalo was captured with the majority of the party’s leadership. Martina Portocarrero’s music was, during this time, largely associated with Sendero, and as such was officially banned in the country for much of the decade.

    The song I am sharing here does not have an overtly political character, however. I do have some of her more political songs, though lyrics of her work are scarce and I find it exceedingly difficult to transliterate much of her music (not to mention the fact that much of it is in Quechua!). Perhaps we’ll get to those one day.

    In “Paceñita”, which refers to a woman from La Paz, Bolivia, we will notices many distinct features: First, this song is in 4/4 meter (I think), meaning the texture of the beat is more circular than much of what we’ve listened to already. Second, notice the singing style. Huayño has a very melancholic style, no matter the song’s content, to the point that it almost sounds like the singer is crying (listen for the vibrato [the voice trembling] toward the end of a line). Third, you’ll notice that every line is repeated once (even if I only wrote it one time). Fourth, we notice a heavy emphasis on the quena and zampoña (the flutes), especially during breaks between verses, as well as a faint accordion. On the same token, note when they enter during a verse and how they do. They introduce a verse, falls out entirely, pops up quickly between lines 1 and 2, then steps up into the background of line 3, disappearing deep into the background in 4 (though you can still hear it if you listen closely), then reappearing to introduce the next verse. Not sure if there’s anything to that, but it’s an interesting observation. Fifth, notice how the last verse changes gender. I don’t really understand why she does this, but for some reason the first part of the song is sung from the perspective of a Peruvian man to a Bolivian woman, then for the last verse the woman is suddenly Peruvian and the guy is from La Paz. I wish I could offer an explanation for that.

    The song tells of a peasant from Peru who travels to Bolivia to find a beautiful woman in La Paz. Anyway, let’s go ahead and get to the lyrics, provided in both languages as always. I hope you enjoy this one!


    Del Peru vengo a buscarte, linda Paceñita
    Y entregarte mi cariño, mi negrita
    Hoy te pido con ternura, linda Paceñita
    Un beso de tu boquita, mi negrita

    Hoy te pido con ternura, linda Paceñita
    Un beso de tu boquita, mi negrita
    Campesino soy del Ande’ y de mi tierra linda
    Hoy te brindo un saludo de mi patria

    Campesina soy Peruana, lindo Paceñito
    Campesina soy del Ande’ y a ti te quiero


    I come from Peru to search for you, beautiful woman of La Paz
    and to offer you my affection, my dear
    Today I ask you with tenderness, beautiful woman of La Paz
    a kiss from your lips, my dear

    Today I ask you with tenderness, beautiful woman of La Paz
    for a kiss from your lips, my dear
    I am a peasant from the Andes, and from my beautiful land
    today I offer you a greeting from my country

    I am Peruvian peasant, handsome man of La Paz
    I am a peasant from the Andes, and I love you

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