New York, 14 (EFE).- The Peruvian singer Araceli Poma wants to make Quechua known throughout the world through the Afro-Andean Funk duo, which she integrates together with the American bassist Matt Geraghty. Together they have been nominated for a Latin Grammy this year and will attend the ceremony to be held next Thursday in Las Vegas.
The Afro-Andean Funk duo, which debuted in 2021 in New York, is nominated in the category of Best Alternative Music Album for their album “The Sacred Leaf” (hoja sagrada) in which they compete with the Spanish Rosalía, the Colombian group Bomba Estéreo, the Argentine Ca7riel and the Venezuelan singer living in Spain Arca.
“As long as I make music, I have to be true to what my heart seeks and I am happy for that. Recording in Quechua vindicates my ancestors, it is the original language of my grandparents and of millions of people in South America. That is to say, that we care, ”said EFE Poma, also proud of her Afro-Peruvian heritage.
“The Sacred Leaf”, which mixes musical styles, includes three songs in Quechua, a language that Poma heard from her cradle through her grandmother’s songs and which, to the duo’s surprise, earned a Grammy nomination.
He admits that it took them by surprise since it happened shortly after publishing the album, and above all because of what it means for the inclusion of Quechua, a language spoken by more than 10 million people in all the Andean countries.
As part of the responsibility that he says he feels to spread this ancient language of the Incas, Poma is taking classes to learn it at a spoken level, despite the fact that he has been singing in Quechua for two years.
“It is very emotional to call my grandmother, speak to her in Quechua and have her correct my pronunciation because she says that (this language) must be respected,” she commented.
In addition to Quechua, in “The Sacred Leaf”, with 9 songs composed by Poma and Geraghty, the duo also highlights others related to Peruvian culture such as the one dedicated to the “sacred leaf” of coca.
“I am one of the people who chaccha (chews) the coca leaf. I am very connected through my grandmother, who made us a high-altitude tea every time we visited her (at her home in Huancayo). For me it is a spiritual ritual to visit her and chew the leaf with her,” she noted.
The album also includes a tribute to shamanic rites in “Agua del olvido”, about the use of water in Peru for healing, and the social theme in “Luchadora de los andes” inspired by women, mostly indigenous, sterilized. forced in the 90s under the presidency of Alberto Fujimori.
They will soon release a video for that song featuring one of the victims, whose voice is heard on the album.
“The compositions are a mirror of the music we love, which goes beyond playing and composing. It is being able to give visibility to stories that the world does not know about”, commented Geraghty.
The duo, who will attend the Grammy Awards, although they admit they do not have high expectations, are already working on what will be their next album, also with songs in Quechua, and a new documentary on “warrior women” in music, on artists from Brazil, which they will film in that country.
The first documentary was about Afro-Peruvian artists, -in which Poma participated and it was there where they met- who pose a challenge to racism, sexism and marginalization in Peruvian society. He was also nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2020.
Ruth E. Hernandez Beltran
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A Peruvian singer wants to take Quechua to all parts of the world