Luzmila Carpio’s Music of Unity and Peace

Barbara Merkley

Hidden GEMS
Luzmila Carpio’s Audio of Unity and Peace


Maria Barrios

November 24, 2021

“Luzmila Carpio is a violin that sings,” reported Yehudi Menuhin right after listening to Carpio perform live. Coming from 1 of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, this was not a minimal observation. 

Born in 1949 in Qala Qala, a rural city in Potosí, Bolivia, Luzmila Carpio started accomplishing in her teens. Her tunes, carried out in Quechua, an indigenous language spoken by thousands and thousands in the central Andes region showcase soprano vocals that mimic hen vocalizations, a procedure which is also indebted to Quechua tradition: precisely its devotionals to the goddess Pachamama, or “Mother Earth.” Dedicated to showcasing her indigenous heritage and the continued struggle of her folks article-colonization, Carpio paired her musical occupation with activism. Quite a few of her songs, in which she also plays the charango (a smaller stringed instrument), are about resistance and racial integration. Carpio, in dialogue with pan flutes, guitars, and a choir, speaks up for the setting, the legal rights of females, and from injustice and loathe.

In that context, Carpio recorded a sequence of tracks for UNICEF in the nineties. The document, Yuyay Jap’ina Tapes, was component of a literacy undertaking to maintain and encourage the musical expressions and languages of indigenous populations. For Carpio, these recordings had been meant to dispel the exoticism around Bolivian indigenous tunes and to protect its legacy. Pretty much twenty many years later on, in 2014, Yuyay Jap’ina Tapes was reissued by Parisian label Just about Musique. “I composed a entire collection of music and melodies, created on the aesthetic degree to showcase the tonalities, appears, and instruments inherent to the musical varieties of the Potosí region, and oriented on the conceptual degree in the direction of fostering an awareness of the loaded range of Aymara and Quechua, Andean languages that express the correct wealth of civilization,” wrote Carpio, looking back at what went into the making of the album. 

The music in Yuyay Jap’ina Tapes are illustrations of Carpio’s otherworldly singing capability. On “Uqhumanta,” Carpio’s soprano soars, her piercing falsetto getting almost indistinguishable from the pan flute that prospects the melody. On “Arawi,” Carpio’s voice, accompanied by her charango, sounds like an oscillation, nearer to notes generated by a theremin than a human voice. Carpio’s vocals, woven around layers of chicken sounds, guitar, woodwinds, and bells, transmit an eternal information of unity and peace.

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