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On July 2nd, the Smithsonian Folkways Tradiciones/Traditions series presents '¡Así Kotama! The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador,' featuring the music of the Hatun Kotama Cultural Center. Nestled between three Andean volcanoes in the arts-centric municipality of Otavalo, Hatun Kotama is a success story that defies globalization, steers tradition in a new direction, and revitalizes a musical practice that was once considered obsolete. Hatun Kotama performs in Kichwa, a Quechuan language designated by UNESCO as endangered.
The group's residency at the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival July 3-7 is part of the "One World, Many Voices" Festival program focused on endangered languages and cultural heritage.
The Hatun Kotama Cultural Center was founded in the early 2000s by Luis Enrique
Cachiguango and several flute masters from the region. In an era when indigenous people of Ecuador denounced oppression and rallied for their rights, the center/school was seen as a means of self-affirmation and a way to preserve their heritage. Hatun Kotama's flute students and masters, who range in age from 8 to 72, collaborated to produce this album, the first the Smithsonian Folkways Tradiciones/Traditions series dedicated to Ecuadorian music.
The music on ¡Así Kotama!' draws from a pre-Incan musical practice commonly called gaita. In Otavalo, gaita refers to a specific type of side-blown flute historically used to summon rain and pray for prosperity during rituals, festivals, and rites of passage.
The songs on the album feature meditative, repeated phrase melodies on the flute and call-and-response vocals delivered with a shouted intensity and joviality. Certain songs are used at particular times of the year. For example, the middle section of the album features songs for Hatun Puncha, an agricultural festival marking the end of the corn and bean harvest in the summer. Other sounds, such as harmonica, conch shell, and sharp, repeated whistling, complement the vocals and flutes, which are often set to a pulsing, driving rhythm kept by dancers' footsteps.
Listen to a preview of '¡Así Kotama! The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador' here: https://www.folkways.si.edu/radio/asi_kotama_preview/index.html
'¡Así Kotama! The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador' is the 39th release in the Smithsonian Folkways Tradiciones/Traditions series since 2002. The series, a co-production with the Smithsonian Latino
Center, showcases the diverse musical heritage of the 50 million Latinos living in the USA.
More information is available at https://folkways.si.edu and https://festival.si.edu
'¡Así Kotama! The Flutes of Otavalo, Ecuador' Tracklist:
1. CHINKASHKA / Perdido / Lost
2. ARIAS PAMPA / Valle Arias / Arias Valley
3. LLAZ TUAZ / Llaz tuaz / Llaz Tuaz
4-29. HATUN PUNCHA
30. KOTAMA ÑAN / Camino de Kotama / Kotama Path
31. KOTAMA WAYRA / Viento de Kotama / Kotama Wind
32. YAKU TAKI / Canción de agua / Water Song
33. KASHNA KOTAMA / Así Kotama / This Is Kotama
34. ÑAWI MAYLLAY / Lavado de cara / The Face Washing
35. PUCHKA PASKACHIK / Limandero / Umbrella Swift
36. BONUS TRACK: YAKU CHAKA / Puente del río / River Bridge