Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Afro-Peruvian Dances & Music : Zamacueca & Festejo

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about & four videos of Zamacueca, an Afro-Peruvian dance and music form. This post also provides information about & four videos of "Festejos", another Afro-Peruvian dance and music form.

Click for a related pancoocjams post about other Afro-Peruvian music & dance forms. That post also includes information about the South American nation of Peru.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All content remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos, and thanks to the publishers of those videos on YouTube. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

"The Zamacueca is an ancient colonial dance and music that originated in the Viceroyalty of Peru, taking its roots from African, Spanish, and Andean rhythms. Although currently the dance is not widely popular, several dance institutions in places such as Peru still dedicate part of their time to teaching Zamacueca.

The popularity of the Zamacueca would eventually lead to it flowing out of its main region in modern-day Peru to other places in South America. The dance would slowly evolve as it took on new influences, but the basic steps and foundations of the dance remained almost the same.

In Peru, the dance would adjust itself to the post-revolutionary times and take a series of adaptations especially from the coast of the country. Early on, two new styles developed: The Marinera Norteña and the Marinera Limeña. Although the dance never so much as "left" Peru, due to cultural and political reasons this new version of the Zamacueca gained the nickname "la chilena" (in reference to the Chilean Cueca). During the War of the Pacific, the broken ties between these two countries forced this new Zamacueca to indefinitely change its name in honor of the Peruvian Navy to the name of "La Marinera."

The Cueca is the Chilean version of the Peruvian Zamacueca. In Argentina, Zamba (artform) is related to the Zamecueca."
Some of the summary statements to the videos found below contain information about this particular Afro-Peruvian music and dance form.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their YouTube posting date with the oldest dates are given first.

Example #1: Zamacueca--an Afro-Peruvian music & dance

Palomino Productions/Eve A. Ma, Uploaded on Apr 9, 2010

An Afro-Peruvian Zamacueca. Learn more at This great dance is performed by the group "de Rompe y Raja," led by world-famous Lalo Izquierdo (artistic director, of Peru Negro) and Gabriela Shiroma (director of "de Rompe y Raja"), with Rosa los Santos singing. This performance is on our upcoming DVD, "A Zest for Life: Afro-Peruvian Rhythms, a Source of Latin Jazz," to be released on October 24, 2012.

We learned from Lalo Izquierdo that the Zamacueca comes Angola and was brought to Peru by Africans kidnapped, enslaved and brought to Peru in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was part of a wedding rite, in which the bride´s family promised the bride was a virgin.

The original Zamacueca included movements that were seen in Peru as being obscene and for years, the dance was banned. Now, those movements have been eliminated from the dance, but it´s still pretty lively and, well, yes: sexy.


eduAmarasAQP, Uploaded on Aug 22, 2011

no se que universidad es la que baila este danza con musica de VictoriaSanta Cruz
pero que lindo lo baylan espero que les guste
The publisher of this video indicates that Santa Cruz isn't the university that this dance group comes from. He doesn't know the name of that university, but the dance is very beautiful and he hopes that we enjoy it.
Here's my standard American English transcription of Google Translate's English translation of the Spanish text of this comment posted to this video's viewer comment thread:
Jorge Luís Medynah, 2012
Eduamaras ... I am the choreographer of this video: Jorge Luis Medynah ... These are the premiere members of the dance group of the coast: CREOLE UNALMA from the coastal Agrarian University La Molina, back in 2000. 12 years have passed since this was filmed and the group is still enjoying

Example #3: Jarana Nº 6 (Zamacueca / Marinera Limeña) - Manuel Quintana, Hermanos Ascuez y Luciano Huambachano

Amaruyacu, Published on June 24, 2012
This is Google Translate's English translation of the Spanish text in this video's summary statement:
Peruvian recording, produced in 1958 by the late historian of Latin American literature, Professor José Durand Flórez (Peru, 1925-1990) this production is the only one with the masterful execution of Manuel Quintana Olivares, Augusto Villanueva Ascuez Elias Villanueva and Ascuez Huambachano Temoche Luciano, known as "The Four Aces".

A 5-3 revelry zamacuecas composed of three (now called sailor) and a slippery escape.

Revel No. 6

Zamacueca: I'm the golden bell
Zamacueca: For your hair braids
Zamacueca: Send love like a king
Slippery & Fuga: Break the bluestocking - Chancaquita 'e court

The images that illustrate this piece of music works correspond to Pancho Fierro, José Sabogal, Vinatea Jorge Reinoso, José Effio and AA Bonnaffé.

Example #4: Zamacueca- Peruexpresion

Juan Carlos Urbina Sarzo, Published on May 26, 2013


"Festejo (from Spanish 'fiesta') is a festive form of Peruvian music. It can be seen as a celebration of Perú's independence and the emancipation of slaves, or as an attempt to reinvent diaspora African music without reference to slavery. Composers of all races have contributed to the development of festejo repertoire. Its origins are in a competitive circle dance performed by men playing cajóns. Nowadays, people of all ages and races participate in a witty dance accompanying the festejo."
Some of the summary statements to the videos found below contain information about this particular Afro-Peruvian music and dance form.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their YouTube posting date with the oldest dates are given first.

Example #1: Festejo, Wonders and Traditions of Peru

Katia Sanchez, Uploaded on Jun 22, 2010

As its name suggests, this is a festive dance. The festejo is the most joyous of Afro-Peruvian dance styles from the coastal region of Peru. Its music has African roots, indigenous and European influence bringing you as a result of Array of complex and upbeat music. The dancers follows each strike of the Cajon, donkey jawbone, wooden box among other instruments, with extremely sensual body movements, synchronize taps making this a unique and extraordinary expression of the black rhythm of Peru.

Example #2: Kambalache Negro performs Festejo el Ritmo

Martincongahead, Uploaded on May 16, 2011

Kamalache Negro led by Roberto "Chino" Bolaños performs the song, Festejo el Ritmo accompanied by the multi award winning Afro Peruvian dancer, Vania Castillo

Example #3: Ritmos del Perú - festejo

El Rincón de la Peruanidad, Uploaded on Dec 3, 2011

[This is my transcription into standard American English of the Google Translate's English translation of the Spanish text of this video summary. Additions & Corrections are welcome.]

“Festejo” is an Afro-Peruvian dance that comes from the central coast, Lima and Ica in particular, and especially in Cañete and Chincha. It is danced during festivals and social gatherings, has an erotic and festive rhythm linked to the rite of love as an act of manhood, youth, vigor and fertility.

The celebration was created by black people who were brought to Lima as slaves from Africa (Congo, Angola and Mozambique) during the seventeenth century by Spanish conquistadors to do farm work, although it should be noted that the original goal was for them to work in mines due to their robust physique, but during cold weather they were relegated to do field work and house work. Those the dance’s lyrics tell the customs, joys, sorrows and sufferings of the black race back then.

The original musical accompaniment for this dance were Afro-Peruvian drums made out of a wooden crate. The musician sits on this crate and beats upon it with his fingers and his palm. Other o as originally wooden box drums, or jars of clay pumpkins,. Over the years other musical instruments were added such as clay pumpkin jars, wooden platters that served as cowbells , jawbones, and spectators clapping. More recently guitars, congas and bongos have also been used as musical accompaniment for this music. The music is in 4/4 time with a continual sensual beat that is maintained by hitting the cowbell or the jawbone .
The choreography is free style. The dancer’s creativity plays an important role in determining what is danced. The agile and dynamic dance steps combine in place and movement steps, dancing on their toes, and doing small jumps.

No standard clothing is used for this dance. Some dance groups wear clothing typical of that which was worn by enslaved African s in Peru while other dance groups wear costumes consisting of the nineteenth century in shirt and pants with a lace in botapié and a scarf around his waist, wide sleeve tops and vest with bare feet.
In many groups women wear a tied head scarf, and old fashioned wide, colorful dresses or skirt sand wide, long white petticoats. Like the men, women typically don’t wear any shoes while doing this dance.

“Festejo” is the oldest representation of black culture in Peru and has given to a series of dances with their own choreography such as “Alcatraz”, “the Inga”, among others.

In 1978 the " Gold Valentina " competition was created in honor of Doña Valentina Barrionuevo Arteaga a highly regarded dancer of Creole/mixed ancestry. This event has promoted beautiful black folklore dancers who later captured attention in the professional dance field.

"La Valentina" was officially founded on 14 April 1977. However, as early as 1950 , people recognized the symbology of the rock called the old "dead ship " on the av 3era.cuadra . La Victoria Luna Pizarro. That rock, known as “La Valentina”, was then moved to Iquitos 984 Avenue. La Valentina was the meeting place where Creoles featured artists gathered (and performed) . In 1978 a group of Creoles decide to create this rhythmic celebration called " La Valentina Gold " in honor of Doña Valentina . The well known group "Black Peru" was formed as a result of the " Valentina".

Through the years, Valentina Gold has been gaining importance in our country , making it the most important Afro-Peruvian music competition in Peru..

Example #4: Festejo baile y musica afro peruana Un grupo de niñas bailando musica negra.mpg

losperuanos,Published on Apr 11, 2012

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  1. Muchas gracias por tomarse el tiempo de publicar cada una de las manifestaciones danzarias y musicales sobre LA ZAMACUECA... Los invito a visitar mi página cultural: Jorge Luis Medynah (facebook) o en Google / Youtube todos los vídeos de danza y música del repertorio criiollo y afrocosteño que he recreado desde el año 2000 hasta la actualidad. Thank you a lot!

    1. De nada, Jorge Luís Medynah.

      I appreciate your compliments. Thanks for alerting us to your videos. I enjoyed them.

      Best wishes!

  2. hermosas historia de nuestro ritmos y cultura negra de nuestro peru. Te Amo Peru

  3. Gracias por sus comentarios.

    Me encanta aprender sobre su cultura!