You are on page 1of 17

Chicha in the Shanty Towns of Arequipa, Peru Author(s): Margaret Bullen Reviewed work(s): Source: Popular Music, Vol.

12, No. 3 (Oct., 1993), pp. 229-244 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 17/06/2012 21:42
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Cambridge University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Popular Music.

PopularMusic (1993) Volume 12/3. Copyright O 1993 Cambridge University Press








Chicha, a fermented maize beer, traditional in the Andes and brewed by Andean migrants in the shanty towns of Peru's cities, has given its name to a musical movement, which first emerged in the migrant squatter settlements of Lima in the 1960s. By the mid-1980s chichawas the most well-known and wide-spread form of urban popular music in Peru (Romero 1990; Rowe & Schelling 1991, pp. 121-2), widely played, sung and danced in impromptu chichodromos,set up in walled-in vacant lots or back yards. Mass rural-urban migration in Peru brought rural Andean cultural forms into contact with the tropical rhythms and rock music prevalent on the urban coast, giving rise to a creative mix of Columbian cumbia, Andean wayno, and rock, to form chicha. The mix is suggested in other names given to this music style: 'tropical Andean music' (mzisicatropicalandina) or 'Andean cumbia' (cumbiaandina). Im. ",-,



WIN' -M.f? ,4.1--.11jr,"


4", AL ILt,

41 Alwo 5N, ,

could Joven'ElPorvenir' Figure1. Pueblo Arequipa Chichodromos beset up in anyof thelotes. 229



It is a point of debate whether chichais a positive innovation, drawing on preexisting music styles or a degradation or dilution of purer strands to produce a 'hybrid'. As the presenter of a chicha radio programme described it to me: 'It's a product of the migrations in the last few years, this music didn't exist before, it's a mixture of wayno and [cumbia], of coast and highlands, resulting in the cumbia andina, it's a hybrid'.' Another important feature of chicha is that it is primarily a youth music, the music of young people from the shanty towns, descendents of Andean immigrants who find in chicha an expression of their combined rural-urban heritage and an outlet for social frustration. Thomas Turino (n.d.) demonstrates how chicha expresses 'the ambiguities of bicultural and transitional social situations where asymmetrical power relations are fundamental in shaping identity'. It is my intention in this article to pursue this thesis by examining how cultural identities are constructed in the discourse of chicha, both directly in its lyrics and indirectly in the way chicha is talked about in different sectors of Arequipan society. I will demonstrate how identities are constructed by appealing to stereotypes and how the evaluation of cultural forms is influenced by these historically-shaped, racially-prejudiced preconceptions. Taking self-ascription and ascription to be important in the construction of identities, I propose to explore how the discourse of chicha is operative in the way the shanty youth perceive themselves, and the way they and their music are perceived by others, whether their parents, the Arequipan middle classes or the broadcast media. I will discuss the discursive categories used by members of the Arequipan bourgeoisie and go on to explore how these are taken up by the broadcast media. Different producers and presenters of Arequipan radio provide varying evaluations of chichaaccording to their particular definition of 'culture', influencing their representation of shanty town culture. Their categorisation of cultural forms adds another dimension to the analysis of the negotiation of power in the construction of identities, establishing a link between the micro level of social interaction and the wider, less visible power structures embedded in institutions such as the media. This article is based on fieldwork carried out in the shanty towns of Arequipa, the second city of Peru, from July 1988 to December 1989. The broad aim of the research was to explore the impact of modern urban society and the mass media on the cultural identities of rural migrants and chicha was examined as part of this process. The methodology employed was fundamentally participant observation, through residence with migrant families in two shanty towns, Rio Seco and Porvenir, where the majority of first-generation migrants were peasant farmers or traders from the highland provinces of the department of Arequipa and the southern Andean departments of Puno and Cusco. Participant observation was backed up with interviews, especially in researching the broadcast media in Arequipa. The informants are shanty town residents, members of the Arequipan middle classes and staff at radio stations. The evolution of chicha

I will first look briefly at how the wayno and the cumbia, the two main musical currents which combine to form chicha, became popular in the capital and other

Chicha in the shanty towns of Arequipa,Peru


coastal cities of Peru and made possible the evolution of a new music form (Llorens 1983, pp. 97-116; Turino 1988, pp. 127-50). In this section I will be referring largely to Lima, where chichabegan, but elsewhere my observations will be limited to the specific social context of Arequipa. Before the mass migrations of Andean migrants to the coastal towns from the 1950s, Lima was more open to music from other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America, than music forms from the interior of Peru. Prior to the arrival of cumbia and salsa, the dominant music form of the Peruvian coast was mtisicacriolla (creole music), heavily influenced by Spanish and European trends and popular in the mid-nineteenth century. It began as the music of the bourgeoisie, but was popularised by the emergent working classes. In the 1920s it was displaced by new foreign forms: tango, jazz, swing and charleston. Although it is now regarded as old-fashioned, it is still upheld as the essence of Hispanic Peru. Andean music was little heard on the coast until the first decades of this century (1910-40) when it was introduced in an erudite form, adapted for the urban ear with rearrangements of traditional Peruvian melodies in European forms, producing what was known as the 'Incaic Opera', favoured by the upper classes of the capital. In the 1920s, other stylised forms of Andean music were brought to Lima by urban-academic composers and members of the highland elite in support of indigenismo, an intellectual movement with both political and cultural overtones, which aimed to incorporate the Andean peoples into a Peruvian 'nation' and use aspects of highland indigenous culture as a model for reform (Turino 1988, p. 131; Rowe & Schelling 1991, pp. 57, 184). There was no market for authentic Andean music in Lima at this time as migrants were mainly from the departmental capitals rather than the more isolated rural areas of the Andes, and not yet sufficiently strong in numbers or organisation to diffuse their own cultural forms. From 1938, the first folkloric shows were staged in Lima and Andean music began to be played in the shanty towns, but its authentic expression continued to be disdained by limefios. Even composers from the lower classes felt obliged to adapt to fashionable urban tastes and migrants of peasant origin were afraid and ashamed to play their own music. In the 1950s, urban growth, as a result of the demographic explosion and rural-urban migration, was characterised by increased Andean presence in the coastal cities and manifest in the proliferation of coliseos folkl6ricos (Andean folk centres) and in the first recordings of Andean music. In Arequipa, Antonio, a migrant from the department of Puno and resident of the shanty town of Porvenir, related how it took three years to organise a folkloric festival. Permission was constantly refused by the authorities, until it occurred to him to arrange a festival in honour of the Civil Guard. Authorisation was obtained, only to be retracted two days before the event, but under pressure from the guards, it went ahead and the first large-scale public performance of Andean music was held in Arequipa. The popularity of the coliseos was accompanied by the incursion of Andean music into the media as many radio programmes began to devote themselves to 'folkloric music'. Mass production brought about the standardisation of the wayno and a loss in regional distinctiveness. The wayno is the most well-known form of Andean music but by no means the only one, the highlands occupying a vast and varied area of Peru, giving rise to many regional variations in the wayno itself.2 The wayno has



undergone many changes since conquest and colonisation, first incorporating Spanish instruments, such as the harp and violin, and later adding the saxophone, accordion and Spanish guitar, in addition to traditional indigenous instruments, such as the zampolia (panpipes), the charango, (a small banjo-lute instrument made out of an armadillo shell) and an Andean flute. Both the media and migratory movements have contributed to the process of standardisation, consolidated by the commercial recordings by singers of Andean music, such as Pastorita Huaracina, who popularised a standard wayno which became representative of 'Andean' or 'folkloric' music. Despite the homogenisation of Andean music on the commercial front, more variety was introduced in live performances. As more rural migrants entered the cities from different regions, rather than assimilating to urban forms as was expected, they gave greater preference to regionally specific varieties, asserting not only their Andean identity, but also their identification with a particular district or community. In the 1960s and 1970s, migrant organisations gained in strength and associations were formed according to place of origin. These reinforced the maintenance of their specific regional identity in the city and stressed the sense of shared community in organising self-help projects or festivals to celebrate the feast of their community's patron saint with the music and dance peculiar to the district or community of origin. Radio programmes and performances of Andean music in the city were also addressed to a particular region or department. The diffusion of Andean music on the radio was also boosted by the reforms introduced by Velasco (1968-75) who ruled that at least 60 per cent of programmes should be of national production and took other measures designed to exploit the media as a vehicle for the promotion of national identity (Ball6n 1987, pp. 15-41; Gargurevich 1987, pp. 211-304). In the 1960s, an urban popular form of the cumbiabecame fashionable in Lima and Peru's coastal cities (Romero 1988, pp. 215-82). Whilst cumbia originates specifically from the Afro-Columbian rural tradition, in Peru it is placed in a broad category of 'tropical music'. Rural migrants, wishing to assimilate to the new urban culture, started to play cumbias, heralded as a symbol of urbanism. However, the strengthening of migrant organisations and the assertion of regional identities, prompted migrant music groups to resist creole cultural hegemony with their own musical innovations, adapting well-known Andean melodies, such as 'Virgenes del Sol' and 'El Condor Pasa', to the rhythms of the cumbia (CEPES 1986, p. 28). In the late 1960s and early 1970s, rock music, entering from North America and Britain, became popular with the younger generation in Peru and its electric instrumentation was added to the mixture of tropical and Andean music. If cumbia was an index of urbanism in Peru and wayno a signifier of the highlands, then rock was representative of the youth. It is rock which adds the modern dimension to the cumbia-waynomix and brings it specifically into the realm of the shanty town youth. Whilst cumbia lends the rhythm and the wayno features in the melody, phrase structure and imitation of panpipes, rock furnishes the instrumentation of chicha bands. A band usually comprises lead and rhythm electric guitars, electric bass, electric organ, timbales and/or a conga player, one or more lead vocalists (who may double up as percussionists) and in wealthier groups there may be a synthesiser for special effects such as video sounds (Romero 1988, p. 272; Turino n.d., p. 6). Chicha has not supplanted either tropical or folkloric music, but occupies a

Chicha in the shanty towns of Arequipa,Peru


different space and generates different meanings. The first group to make a commercial success of chicha music were 'Los Demonios de Mantaro' (The Devils of Mantaro) from the central highlands of Junin. They had a hit with 'La Chichera', ('The ChichaSeller'). It is from this song title that the movement derives its name. The most famous chichaplayers today are 'Los Shapis', another group of provincial origin who shot to stardom in 1981 with 'El Aguajal' ('The Swamp', literally 'place of much water') an adaptation of a wayno called 'El Alizal' ('The Alder Grove') which has been acclaimed as marking the birth of the new genre (CEPES 1986, Although 'Los Shapis' are an all male group, other chicha bands, such as 'Mily, Heley, Keley', include female lead singers, following the tradition of the commercialised wayno, protagonised by women such as Pastorita Huaracina. Both male and female-led groups use the same adaptations of songs from Andean folk and chichaand simply change the pronoun or referent as in 'Lagrimas de Hombre/ Mujer', tears of a man or woman according to the singer.

p. 28).

Chicha lyrics
First and foremost, chicha lyrics deal with love themes, whether the lead singer is male or female. The subjects range over unrequited love, reproaches and jealousy, love-sickness, pining and suicide, sorrows which call to be drowned in drink. Whilst treating a universal theme like love, there are specific Andean references in songs like 'Coraz6n Andino' ('Andean Heart') which laments a lost love and refers to the deep feelings engraved on the 'Andean heart, highland heart'. The Andean references derive from the contribution of the wayno to chicha, using the same lyrics with some modifications, but adapting the rhythm. At the same time as borrowing songs from cumbia and wayno, there is some original composition referring to modern urban society: trains, buses, telephones (e.g. 'El telefonito', by Mily, Heley, Keley). Some lyrics relate to social issues and articulate the concerns of migrants, expressing the hardships they face: under-employment, the lack of basic living requirements and other problems relating to their class and occupational status. Songs deal with the instability of their socio-economic position, with children having to work or the plight of the street seller. 'El Ambulante' ('The Street Seller'), written by Jaime Moreyra, one of 'Los Shapis', draws on his own childhood experience of accompanying his mother to provincial fairs (Rowe & Schelling 1991, p. 122). It relates, very simply, the experience of hundreds of people who work in the informal sector and describes the precariousness of their position, ever at risk of being moved on by the police. The song opens with a reference to the rainbow colours of the flag of the Inca Empire, identifying the Andean heritage of the ambulante, but these are also the present-day colours of the mantas or carrying cloths which the sellers use both to transport and to set out their wares on the street. Furthermore, it defines the street sellers as part of the urban proletariat ascribing to them a class status. Shanty town residents may recognise themselves in this song and discover a point of identification which is not manifest in mainstream music. My flag is of the colours and the stamp of the rainbow For Peru and America. Watch out or the police will take your bundle off you!


MargaretBullen Ay, ay, ay, ay, how sad it is to live, Ay, ay, ay, ay, how sad it is to dream. I'm a street-seller,I'm a proletarian(bis) Selling shoes, selling food, selling jackets, I support my home. I'm a street seller, I'm a proletarian(bis)3

Another chicha song 'Pan y Paz' ('Bread and Peace') describes the plight of many a homeless and hungry child begging for bread on the streets of Peru. Calling upon the power of chicha, 'Los Shapis', defying criticism that their music is ephemeral, declare themselves 'now and forever', spokespeople for Peru. Defending the cause of the helpless, the song implores the passer-by not to turn a deaf ear to the child's pleas and to proffer not only a crumb of bread but something of the love from their own home. Now and forever, the Shapis of Peru, The power of chicha, This little child is in the street, With neither roof nor food, and asks you for bread, bread, bread, Please sir, a piece of bread, For my hunger, don't deny me, Please sir, a piece of bread, Because I'm poor, God will reward you. If you see a little child, With no direction, Everythingagainst them, you must give them bread, bread, bread, Fromyour home a little love, They just want to play like a child, Like just another child. The song not only asks for generosity but also for understanding, for recognition of the street urchin as 'just another child', equal in wants and needs to the children of the rich: a plea to overcome prejudice and respond to human need.

Cultural identities in Arequipa

The construction of an 'Arequipan' or 'Andean' identity operates categories based on a partial knowledge of 'the other' and uses racial and moral stereotypes arising from socio-economic and political factors in the development of Arequipa. The racist and reactionary attitudes to be found amongst the Arequipan bourgeoisie have their roots in the city's regionalism, forged of a history of Spanish colonialisation and subsequent British commercialisation, defining trade routes independent of Lima and leading to the organisation of the bourgeoisie in demand of economic and political decentralisation of the acclaimed 'Independent Republic of Arequipa' (Flores 1977). The consolidation of Arequipa as the capital of the south, its domination of commercial circuits in the nineteenth century and its industrialisation in this century, have made it a pole of attraction for peoples migrating from the poorer and less developed areas of the southern Andes (Martinez 1968, 1983, pp. 213-40). However, the stagnation of industrial growth in Arequipa and widespread economic crisis in recent decades have rendered both the urban space and the labour

Chicha in the shanty towns of Arequipa, Peru


market insufficient to absorb the influx of Andean migrants and increased Arequipan resentment towards the indigenous peoples. In Arequipa, divisions are made between indio, mestizo and cholo, all of which are used interchangeably to denote members of the migrant sector, and blanco or criollowhich are assumed by Arequipans.4 Identities are also constructed in relation to place of birth or dwelling place, operating a coast/highland dichotomy. The geographical location of Arequipa, poised between the coast and the western foothills of the Andes, prompts Arequipans to exploit the ambiguity of their local identity. At over 2,300m above sea level, the city of Arequipa qualifies as sierra (highlands), but the Arequipans reserve the epithet serrano (highlander) for those arriving from the higher altitudes of the surrounding provinces and prefer to think of themselves as costefios(coastal people) or criollos (creoles), the descendents of the Spanish conquistadors.5 The Arequipans pride themselves on their Spanish descent and boast the 'whiteness' of their city, manifest not only in the white volcanic rock (sillar) of the colonial architecture which characterises Arequipa, but also in the predominance of blancos, the white descendents of European settlers who form Arequipa's elite. Alfonso, a young migrant from the department of Puno, now resident in Porvenir comments: 'This city was white, it belonged to the whites, and because of the sillar it was white too, but more because of the whites who were here'. Concerned to preserve this whiteness, Arequipans fear that by interbreeding with Andean migrants the Arequipan stock will be whittled away. There are overtones of eugenics in their discourse and Cecilia, a middle-class Arequipan, talks of the need to 'purify the race', believing 'Indian blood' to be degrading to the 'Peruvian race': 'As far as race is concerned, we're going backwards ... there's a cataclysm in race as much as in economy at the moment. The indigenous peoples used to be separate from the whites, now the Indians are overturning the city'. The Arequipans not only fear the 'tainting of their blood' but also the dirtying of their pristine streets. Flora, another member of the Arequipan middle class, condemns the migrants for bringing the squalor of the shanty towns into the heart of the white city, attributing the unsanitary conditions of poverty to a defect of the 'Indian race': 'The Indian is like the snail: they both leave a trail of dribble wherever they go. They are the symbol of our backwardness and disgrace'. The opposition between civilisation and bestiality is central to a moral stereotype in which the Arequipan is depicted as fully human: civilised, intelligent, hard-working, ambitious, progressive and sociable whilst the stereotype of the Indian is the antithesis: savage, brutish, lazy, stubborn, backward and unsociable, and moreover given to violence, drunkenness and delinquency. Mixing with non-Arequipans is also seen to signal the corruption of Arequipan culture. The 'true' Arequipans are distinguished by their cultural practice, especially the playing and singing of the yaravi, a traditional Arequipan lovesong (Carpio 1976). However, the influence of peoples from other regions of Peru has relegated the yaravi to the rural outskirts of the city where 'legitimate' Arequipans are still to be found. Dionisio, a resident of Rio Seco, formerly from Arequipa's coast, observes: 'The true Arequipan people have disappeared, people have married others from Puno, Cusco... the real, true Arequipans, well, in [the villages] there they sing yaravis'. The yaravf functions in opposition to the wayno to differentiate migrants from the 'authentic' Arequipan: 'They've got their own different customs, out there their folkloric dances, here the yaravis'.


Margaret Bullen

The Arequipans consider their culture to be superior and discredit the language, customs and cultural expressions of the shanty town residents. They expect Andean immigrants to emulate them, to conform to their standard and to adapt to city ways (Cecilia proposed forcing new migrants to do a compulsory period of domestic service in which to learn how to live 'properly'). Speakers of an indigenous language are made to feel embarrassed of their mother tongue and ashamed of their Andean heritage and may deny their origins, claim ignorance of Quechua or Aymara and pretend dislike for Andean waynos. This opinion is voiced by Cristobal, a radio presenter: 'It's an inferiority complex . .. the person to emulate is the city man, they try and imitate, they are being depersonalised, losing themselves, it's alienation. They no longer want waynos, they want city music, rock, salsa'. In referring to an Andean migrant, moving between two worlds and not fitting into either, the term cholo is sometimes used. In Arequipa, cholo is used synonymously with serranoor indio, in opposition to criollo or costeho and generally signifies inferiority.6 Mercedes, a migrant from a wealthy family of former landowners, speaks disparagingly of the identity loss of her neighbours: 'When they come to Arequipa, those people think they're something else, [but] they're neither Indians nor mestizos, they're nothing'. The discourse of chicha echoes that of cholos in reference to rural migrants in Arequipa. Chicha is seen to be a product of the rural in the urban context and a reflection of the identity crisis Andean migrants are believed to undergo in the city: Mauricio (Radio Surperuano) comments: 'In the city, the Andean people begin to change their identity, they assume other models, they only listen to waynos inside the house, at home they don't feel Andean, nor are they coastal people, that's how chichaarises'. The shanty town youth This identity crisis is the inheritance of second and subsequent generations of migrants who form the principal group of chicha followers. Ernesto, Arequipanborn son of cusquefios,resident in Porvenir, comments: 'I think our generation has a kind of divided heart, it still has some feeling for its roots, but it's submerged and on top of that is a bit of feeling for the imposed culture which is stronger, which alienates more'. Brought to Arequipa when very young or born in the city, the shanty town youth express the ambivalence of their position as children of Andean parents who have grown up in the city and may never have visited their parents' place of origin, have no knowledge of their parents' mother tongue (Quechua or Aymara) and do not relate to the Andean way of life. However, their very status as the descendents of migrants and inhabitants of the shanty towns, meets with prejudice from the middle-class Arequipans of the town centre and residential areas, who refuse to accept them as fellow Arequipans and block their integration into the urban society. In the face of racial discrimination, the shanty town youth play down their Andean heritage and assert their Arequipan birth. Prestige is attached to being born not only in Arequipa, but significantly in its hospital. In Rio Seco, Marcia, a young migrant from Puno, tells how her sister-in-law boasts her Arequipan birth status: '[She's] awful, she calls people Indian, she's Arequipan but her husband is

Chicha in the shanty towns of Arequipa,Peru


from Puno, it's just that those who have their birth certificate saying "born in the General Hospital" think that they're better than the rest'. Contrary to their parents, regional differences diminish in importance for the children of migrants whose main reference of identity becomes their Arequipan birth. I was surprised to find that young people I talked to in the shanty towns were often unaware of their parents' exact place of origin, having a vague idea that they came from some region of the Andes but unable, or unwilling, to specify the locality. Some claimed origins to be irrelevant and seemed oblivious as to where their family or their neighbours came from, as Susana and Anita, two young women in Rio Seco commented: 'I don't know where [my parents] come from, or where my neighbour comes from either ... everyone is equal, like brothers and sisters, it's a matter of inconsequence if they've come from another place'. This disregard for local identities indicates the construction of a new inclusive level of identification amongst second and third generation migrants. They identify themselves as Peruvians or Arequipans or as residents of a particular shanty town. Luis, from Porvenir, testifies: 'I feel more Peruvian ... now people don't say I'm from Puno or from another place, rather they say I'm from Porvenir'. Chicha expresses this inclusive identity, addressing itself to a wider audience of Peruvian youth. 'Los Shapis' introduce themselves as 'The Shapis of Peru' and dedicate their songs 'with affection' to 'the people of Peru and America'. There is still a marked Andean frame of reference but it acknowledges a general Andean background rather than emphasising exact places of origin. As Turino (n.d., p. 8) demonstrates, chichahas a pan-highland character and evokes regional neutrality and the unity of all those of Andean heritage.





2. the Pueblo Joven Figure An extended party: older generation the from aftera roofing familyresting bornin Arequipa ruralAndesenjoyhuaynos andwititis, theyounger and generation theirchildren, enjoychichaandrock.


Bullen Margaret

Nevertheless, although the children of migrants may reject traditional Andean culture and assert the urban base of their identity, the Arequipans refuse to accept them as fellow Arequipans. On account of their Andean surnames and the origins of their parents, the young people still face discrimination as they look for work or seek promotion. Elmer, the son of punefios, relates a bitter experience of having secured a good post in an army office after completing his military service, but because of his Andean parentage he was gradually downgraded until he was forced to resign: 'They discriminate against you, because you're from the sierra, because you come from there, so they say to you OK, first requirement, to be Arequipan, you present yourself and you're Arequipan, but your parents are from the interior, so there you've got a problem, you're at a disadvantage'. Elmer believes many young people are discriminated against in this way: however hard they try to dissociate themselves from the language and lifestyle of their parents, they continue to be rejected by mainstream society on account of their background. This creates bitterness and resentment in many young people, thwarted in their attempt to secure a good job and improve themselves: The situation of a young person in a shanty town is a bit more difficult, a bit tougher than that of any other youth, because the fact of living on the outskirtsof the city implies a lot of things ... for example, there's no water, no electricity,none of these servicespeople need to meet their basic necessities, never mind develop themselves culturally, no libraries, no culturalcentres or clubs, nothing like that. (Elmer) Cultural integration is impossible for the shanty town youth because even by conforming to the norm of the dominant sector, that sector ostracises them on other grounds. The hopelessness of their endeavour creates tension between their 'roots' and the urban way of life which simultaneously attracts and repels them. Chicharesponds to this conflictive situation: it is a response which combines traditions of the past with trends of the present, manipulating the ambiguities confronting young people in the shanty towns of Arequipa.

Performancecontexts and prejudice

Chicha dances In Arequipa, chichais played at a variety of social occasions in the shanty towns; in Porvenir, for example, the shanty town's anniversary was celebrated with a whole day of chichamusic, bringing in a variety of local bands. However, the main venues for live chichaperformances are the public chicha dances where the music defines a space exclusive to the shanty town youth. At the same time it serves as an outlet for social frustration and consequently the dances are the subject of much controversy both within the shanty towns and without. The dances are held in the shanty towns at weekends and attended by young a residents. In the chichodromos small stage is erected, cement floor laid and the PA system set up so that the music blasts out into the open air and keeps the rest of the shanty town awake until the early hours. Stalls sell beer and food and chichadances are notoriously accompanied by heavy drinking. Chichadances meet with disapproval both from the Arequipan middle classes and the other shanty town residents and are frequently banned on account of the noise, drunkenness and brawling which often attend the event. The proposal to hold a chichadance in the cloisters of the church of La Compafifa, in the city centre,

Chicha in the shanty towns of Arequipa,Peru


I oi



01, 1:1w

in 3. fromPunodancing an Arequipan shantytown. Figure Migrants caused a public outcry from the catholic Arequipans and an article in the local press suggested that healthy pursuits such as team games or a mini-marathon would be suitable alternatives to occupy a restless youth.7 In spite of such naivety, it is recognised by both migrants and some members of the middle classes that wretched economic levels attract people towards a form of music which expresses their frustration and their rejection of a system which fails to cater for them. However, the middle classes also attribute this to the 'baseness' and lack of 'culture' and education of a 'social class of low, uncultured people'. I often heard the comment that the poor should not be spending their money on drink and enjoying themselves and this attitude is taken up with irony by 'Los Shapis' in the spoken introduction to a chichasong: Isn't it impudent, isn't it shameful Drinkingbeer with so much poverty? How come they say there's no money? First generation migrants tend to class chicha along with rock and pop as music of the youth, as Milagros in Porvenir remarks: 'I don't really like chichas, they're for the children'. Some parents believe chicha encourages immorality and are critical of the delinquency connected with chicha dances, but they tend to be more sensitive to the social environment from which chicha arises. Domingo, another migrant now resident in Porvenir, recognises it as a youth protest movement in which drunkenness and violence are interpreted as expressions of the youth's discontent: 'It's a way of feeling, of expressing oneself. Chichamanifests, in almost all its content, rebellion, protest'. That listening to chicha music or getting drunk at a chichadance can be forms


Bullen Margaret

of rebelling against the system is also recognised by some middle-class Arequipans like Cristobal: 'They want to throw off the system, flout the law, loose themselves'. Max (Radio Landa) recognises the importance of a music which moulds itself to the specific social situation of the shanty towns: The themes of misery, of the problems people have, yes, they're important ... it's a way these people have of talking, of expressing themselves, it gives them their own way of living, it deals with problems that arise'. However, some older migrants like Cesar in Porvenir, also indicated that the chicha movement is manipulated by forces beyond their control, not only by the media but also by corrupt local authorities who accept bribes from the organisers of chichadances: 'It's a bit awful about the chichadances, it seems we have no say in it, no autonomy. For example, the present mayor, all he can say is "give them chicha, give them chicha, give them chicha". But what happens? here in a dance there are even shootings, stabbings, that can't be allowed'. The manipulation of what seems to be the spontaneous expression of young people in the shanty towns by commercial and political concerns has provoked a rejection of chicha by some migrant associations who want to revive and restore value to the indigenous pre-Hispanic culture of Peru and feel that chicha is politically counter-productive, detrimental to the advances made in promoting Andean cultural forms in the city. They claim the wayno, dating back further and held to represent the essence of ancient Peru, to be more threatening to the national order than chicha, held to be 'conservative' because it is inserted in modern society and manipulated by 'non-national interests' (CEPES 1986, p. 30). However, in Porvenir, which has some of the strongest neighbourhood organisations in Arequipa and runs the only popular communications centre in the area, the people involved in these associations are of the opinion that chichashould be given a place alongside waynos. At the same time as actively promoting their Andean past.they recognise that Peruvian folklore is not a thing of the past but still part of the life of 'the people' and is continually being recreated in the urban context. The exploitation of chicha for commercial purposes and the desire to control the conditions of its performance, continue the conflict from which chicha originates. A reaction, in part, to socio-racial discrimination, chicha provokes a new outcry from the Arequipan bourgeoisie and generates fresh criticism of the shanty town residents, echoing the same stereotypical prejudices.

Chichaon theradio
Middle-class prejudices are further reflected in the attitudes of media people towards chicha. I interviewed the owners, producers and presenters of Arequipan radio stations about chicha. Few radios will actually play chicha because of its negative associations with the shanty towns and connotations of aggression. Of over twenty broadcasting stations in Arequipa, at the time of my fieldwork only two had cashed in on the success of chicha and targeted that corner of the market. One of these, Radio Surperuano, devotes itself entirely to chicha, an enterprising step in Arequipa where most radios tend to diversify their production and mix music styles. The owners of Surperuano run another radio with a more varied programme and

Chicha in the shanty towns of Arequipa, Peru


decided to open up their second frequency for chicha given that the market was virtually unexploited. The other radio to play a significant amount of chichais Radio Landa, interestingly Arequipa's oldest radio. This status might lead one to suppose that it would be more reactionary and less open to new music currents. However, it is the older radios which have been accessible to the migrant population in Arequipa, including programmes of waynos which the proliferation of new FM radios in the last few years are reluctant to do, preferring rock, pop and salsa. Radio Landa, founded in the 1940s, has been forced to change over the years because of increasing competition from other stations. The introduction of chicha, as Max, its director, confesses is a purely commercial venture, at odds with his poor opinion of it: 'Radio as a business has to be on the lookout and see what type of listeners there are, you have to keep in step with these changes, modify your programming. Andean tropical music is very profitable'. Whilst recognising its profitability, Max excludes chicha from the category of 'culture' and defines it in purely negative terms: 'Chicha is not autochthonous music, but rather a mix of folkloric and tropical music ... it's folkloric music with a youthful rhythm, it's not culture, it doesn't represent the culture of Peru, it's a mixture, an invention, it was only made up a little while ago'. This concept of culture, common amongst the middle-class Arequipans with whom I spoke on this subject, is based on the assumption that high culture is enduring and immutable, whilst chicha is a recent invention and has not withstood the test of time, and moreover a mixture of two supposedly pure, 'authentic' strains, degrading the original stock and producing a 'mongrel' music. The proximity of Andean migrants in the city means that the 'urban Indian' is the main source of Arequipan unease and chichahas superceded Andean music as the most despised form of popular culture. The wayno, although associated with peasant and lower class life, acquires status as 'folkloric music', representative of the folk tradition of Peru. The rural context is conceived to be the seat of folklore and the essentially urban chicha, as well as commercialised folkloric music, are held to be corruptions of a pure cultural tradition, however erroneous the belief in the existence of a single unified and untainted cultural source. Rene of Radio Continental, a self-styled 'quality radio' and one of Arequipa's most powerful stations, belonging to a nationwide radio and television chain, dismisses such commercial production: '[Our] folklore is being vulgarised, degraded. Commercial folklore is a distortion, with no depth of meaning; the authentic should transmit the culture of our ancestors'. The notion of ancestry, problematic for the Arequipans who claim a Hispanic rather than Peruvian heritage, is resolved by an appeal to their Inca, as opposed to their 'Indian' past. Flora explains that the contemporary Indian is not the same intelligent Indian of Inca times because the Spaniards bludgeoned their brains and dulled their senses (literally 'turned them into brutes'). Many of the negative connotations of chicha derive from its association with the lower classes of Arequipan society, the Andean immigrants, the shanty town residents. Rene makes a direct link between 'low culture' and 'low people': Chicha being played for the very reason that there are a lot of low people, it's aimed at the is lower class, its public are mostly of low conditions, those who have migratedhere, they like that type of music. The Peruvian people of a low level don't respond much to cultural things, they're more worried with finding a way to stay alive.


Bullen Margaret

This class-based evaluation of culture derives from the aristocratic concept of 'high culture', the prerogative of those with time and money for education and artistic pursuits, whilst the impoverished way of life of the shanty towns, where people remain at subsistence level, is considered incompatible with 'culture'. Rene judges that those who are preoccupied with keeping body and soul together have neither the time nor the inclination for the refinement of the spirit: 'they don't pay attention', 'they think with their stomachs'. The people of the shanty towns are held to be primitive, remaining at the level of animals or savages whilst they remain uneducated. Education is held to be fundamental to the process of refinement necessary for the appreciation of 'high culture' and the 'low culture' of the shanty towns, deduced from the supposed superficiality and accessibility of chicha, is attributed to low levels of education. David of Radio Hispana, professing to promote Hispanic high culture says: 'They're uncultured people, they're not interested in culture, they prefer chicha,

. cumbia'

Whilst the failure of the education system is held responsible for people's inability to appreciate 'culture', there is also implicit the idea that the Andean people are innately ignorant, as Max comments: 'They're used to listening to things purely for entertainment, you have to teach these people, they listen to things of no educational value. . . there's no culture here, there's a lot of illiteracy, the government have no coherent plan'. Consequently, the broadcasters, like the middle-class public, feel the need to educate, 'civilise' and control the migrant population. This is part of the 'popular mission' which commercial radios conceive for themselves in Arequipa, adopting the rhetoric of public service radio and defining themselves as a medium of information, education and culture. Chicha presents a problem to those broadcasters who assume the role of promoting culture amongst the uncultured; since, as far as they are concerned, chichais not culture, it must be dealt with either by repression or by isolating it from its social context. Juan, of Radio Cultura, based in a shanty town in the vicinity of Rio Seco, favours the second option, believing that to outlaw chichadances would only push them underground and exacerbate the problem. He proposes that giving chicha a higher profile on the radio would familiarise it, assuming that it is the music itself that gives rise to violence rather than other social factors: 'You have to give it another meaning, which won't lead them to knifing and fighting, there ought to be more space for chicha on the radios ... with a person able to orientate them, to explain that the point of it is to enjoy themselves, not to fight'. However, most radios refuse to play chicha at all and believe that to take up Juan's suggestion would be reneging on their mission to change habits and to educate in order to preserve and protect the status quo to which popular culture poses a threat. Conclusions The discourse of chichainvolves a negotiation of power in the attempt by dominant sectors of Arequipan society to categorise, relegate and exclude chicha and to ascribe a negative identity and inferior status to its followers. This is countered by the response of chicha itself which in both its style and its lyrics creates an alternative discourse which confronts the social situation of second and subsequent gener-

Chicha in theshantytownsof Arequipa, Peru


ation migrants and asserts a positive identity for the young people of the shanty towns. The racial and social prejudices towards Andean migrants and their children, manifest in the discourse of Arequipans, derive from stereotypes which are transferred from the evaluation of people to the consideration of their cultural forms. This correlation is evidenced in the analysis of the radio producers' and presenters' comments about chicha.Just as the migrants are excluded from mainstream society, so this particular cultural expression is excluded from the category of 'culture'. Discursive dichotomies are manipulated by Arequipans in order to fit notions of their historical identity. In opposition to chicha, the wayno is elevated in status as the pure expression of the Incas, whilst chichais devalued as the hybrid production of contemporary 'brutish' Indians. Just as the Andean peoples are accused of degrading the Arequipan race, so they are condemned for corrupting the authentic music of their ancestors. The Arequipans, on the other hand, believe themselves to be 'cultured' and 'civilised', contrary to the 'primitive' and 'savage' shanty town inhabitants, whose lack of culture is exemplified for the Arequipans in the superficiality of chicha's lyrics and simplicity of style, and in the violent behaviour and drunkenness of chicha dances. The Arequipans consider themselves naturally intelligent and refined by education whilst those of Andean origins are thought to be innately ignorant and in need of educating. The education of the 'uncultured' is an exercise in conformity to the dominant norm and is assumed as the role of local radio in Arequipa. Like the Arequipan middle classes, radio producers and presenters attempt to curtail the liberties of the shanty town population through the minimal representation of new music forms like chicha and the dismissal of their cultural expressions. However, whilst the repression of chicha and chicha dances is attempted by certain sectors of society, other cultural and political concerns exploit chicha for their own ends. Control for whatever ends is the central issue in the discourse generated by chicha in which a power struggle is waged through the attempts of dominant sectors and institutions of Arequipan society to impose identities on the shanty town population. To follow Foucault's concept of power, power always meets with, and depends upon resistance. Rather than achieving the conformity of migrants and their children to the dominant norm, the prejudice and discrimination of Arequipans prevents their integration and provokes resistance. The attempts of the dominant to suppress cultural differences result in their proliferation and give rise to new forms of cultural expression like chichawhich accentuate difference and articulate new subjective identities.

I am grateful to David Horn for inviting me to give an earlier version of this paper in the Institute of Popular Music in Liverpool in May 1991 and for encouraging its publication. I would also like to thank Penny Harvey, Barbara Bradby and Jan Fairley for their comments and suggestions.


Margaret Bullen

1 Mauricio, owner-manager of Radio Surperuano, Arequipa, actually refers to chicha as a mix of wayno and salsa, the latter often being confused with cumbiain Peru. 2 Montoya (1990) identifies eight regional varieties of Andean music, but CEPES (1986) affirms that there are over thirty indigenous forms of music. 3 My transcription and translation of song texts. 4 These racial divisions refer to social rather than biological concepts. After centuries of interbreeding in Peru, the vast majority of the population is mestizo ('of mixed blood') and an 'Indian race' would be impossible to define. 5 Criollois now generally used to indicate the supposedly fair-skinned inhabitants of the coast as opposed to the 'dark' highlanders, although this differentiation is a discursive category and does not refer to empirical groups. The dichotomy is social rather than racial and ignores the historically complex composition of the Peruvian coast which includes black, Chinese and Japanese ethnic groups. 6 In the social science literature cholo has been taken out of context and used to define a category of 'marginals', impossible to identify empirically (see Quijano 1965). 7 El Correo,22 November 1989.

Ball6n, E. 1987. 'La radio en el Peru', in Radioy comunicacidn popular, ed. M. Valderrama (Lima) un Carpio Mufioz, J. G. 1976. El yaravi arequipefio: estudio histdrico-social un cancionero(Arequipa) y Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES). 1986. Huayno, Vals, Chicha, Rock(Lima) Flores Galindo, A. 1977. Arequipay el sur andino:siglos XVIII-XX (Lima) SelectedInterviewsand Other Writings 1972-1977 (Brighton) Foucault, M. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Gargurevich, J. 1987. Prensa, radioy televisi6n:historia critica (Lima) Llorens Amico, A. 1983. Musica Popularen Lima:Criollosy Andinos (Lima) Martinez, H. 1968. Las migracionesinternasen el Peru (Lima) 1983. 'Migraciones internas en la regi6n sur', in El sur peruano, ed. R. Guerra, pp. 213-40 Montoya, R. 1990, interview in DESCO's Quehacer67 (Lima) Quijano, A. 1965. Dominacidny cultura: lo choloy el conflictocultural en el Peru (Lima) Romero, R. 1988. 'La muisica tradicional y popular', in La Masica en el Peru, ed. Patronato Popular y Porvenir Pro Muisica Clisica (Lima) 1990, interview in DESCO's Quehacer64 (Lima) Rowe, W. and Schelling, V. 1991. Memoryand Modernity:Popular Culture in Latin America (London) Turino, T. no date, '"Somos el Peru" [We are Peru]: Cumbiaandina and the children of Andean migrants in Lima' (paper from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) 1988. 'The music of Andean Migrants in Lima, Peru: demographics, social power and style', Latin AmericanMusic Review, vol. 9:2, pp. 127-50

Los Shapis, Cinco Estrellasen Chicha(pirate cassette) Mily, Heley, Keley, Pintura Roja (pirate cassette)