The Peruvian Condor Flies over NYC This Week

The cast of “El Cóndor Pasa: Andean Hope” and organizer of the musical in New York María S. Aller-Narváez at the Peruvian Consulate in New York. (Photo by Javier Castaño)

With the Virgin of Cusco as background and to the rhythm of the donkey jawbone, director Dante Valdez spoke about the importance of the musical “El Cóndor Pasa: Andean Hope.”

The concert will take place on Thursday, April 25, at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in Lower Manhattan.

 “It is the first time we will be bringing together authentic Peruvian music with a symphonic orchestra,” said Valdez. “The condor is the great South American symbol, and I want to add that life in the Andes is an alternative; there is no need to move to the big cities.”

Valdez spoke exclusively to QueensLatino at a press conference held in the Peruvian Consulate in New York. “We are a team of 100, and we are going to demonstrate that art and music are the weapons we need to unite the Latin American peoples,” he said.

“This show symbolizes the cultural depth and the wholesomeness of Peru,” said Consul General for Peru in New York Marita Landaveri, the main organizer of the concert.

Roberto Bocanegra, director of the musical, said that he wants to surprise spectators with world-class soloists through a play inspired by the chaquitaclla, a foot plow used during the Inca empire. “It is a play that focuses on human beings, on respecting the land, and that exalts Andean places where no one has been,” said Bocanegra.

In the show, the condor arrives in representation of humans, of community, to face Sajra, the demon in the Quechua language. Bocanegra said that three elements survive from the Andean culture: the concept of solidarity, or ayni; the family group, or ayllu; and minka, a celebration in which we can all collaborate for the common good.”

“This solidarity characterizes the Inca peoples,” he said, “and that is why we have invited artists from other nationalities.”

One of them is Marco Matute, a tenor and actor from Honduras, who said that the show expresses “the love for nature and the Andean hope.” Ghana-born singer Kofi Hayford will summon the “Andean apus” or spirits of the mountains.

Top-notch Andean instrument musicians have flown to New York to take part in the show. Manuel Lito Ramos will play the quena and other wind instruments, and Gustavo Valdez will be in charge of the traditional Peruvian cajón.

“The show displays the qualities of Peru,” said Aurora Ayala, art director and set designer. “We are not doing folklore. We will be showcasing the south of Peru all the way to Ayacucho, with beauty and color.”

(…) This cultural event is promoted by María S. Aller, and will feature the United Nations Symphony Orchestra (UNSRC).

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