Debates in Latin American Social Theory

Natures’ Sonorous Politics- Joshua Tucker

Entry Question

.What elements and ideas from the short documentary stood out in terms of the Quechua’s ecological thought, spiritual views, and living?

.How this quote from Joshua Tucker’s essay resonates with what you saw in the documentary?

“chimaycha made seasonal change, pastoral subsistence, community geography, and the human life cycle—particularly the securing of a life partner—into distinct facets of one indissoluble ecosystem.” (75)

Nature’s Sonorous Politics

Radio Quispillaccta’s staff is sparking a profound change in local attitudes. Furthermore, they are doing it through broadcasts that center on the chimaycha music of their hometown, presenting it as part of a distinctive land ethic. Once inaudible within Ayacucho’s urban soundscape, chimaycha has become a favored genre and a symbol of Quechua cultural affirmation for the city’s youthful, indigenous migrant majority. It’s helping to shape a newly invigorated debate over indigenous self-determination. As such, it holds the keys to the ways that local leaders will organize their struggles in years to come.

Vida Michiy (Page 48)

Making Music Indigenous Popular Music in the Peruvian Andes (Joshua Tucker)

How does the concept and practices of “vida michiy” let us understand Quechua’s ways of life?

How can indigenous nightlife hold political significance according to Tucker?

Can you think of other Latin American, Latinx, and/ or Afro-diasporic cultural or musical movements that promote ethnic and linguistic pride, and cultural (and ecological) well-being?

Self-representation through audio recordings

“The Centro de Capacitación Campesina (associated with Ayacucho’s Universidad Nacional San Cristóbal de Huamanga) established a Quechua-language radio program, featuring field recordings made by and for rural musicians with borrowed cassette recorders. This radio program drove the creation of a chimaycha performing scene, made up of young musicians eager to hear themselves on the radio. More importantly, it established a cassette archive of traditional music.” (75)

Radio Quispillaccta

“We are a Peruvian station that has the purpose of disseminating the process of affirming our culture and strengthening its organizations and encouraging respect for the cultural diversity of our people, thus imposing our own style out of the conventional radio stations in the region.”

“Listen to Radio Quispillaccta, then, and this is what you will hear: community news, programs about human rights and agricultural techniques, exhortations about the value of indigenous tradition, and a lot of chimaycha.” (76)

(Tucker, 128)


By encouraging listeners to valorize “autochtonous” music, Radio Quispillaccta became instrumental in building an indigenous public, composed of Quechua-speaking people with common investments, but also cognizant of their membership in an ethnic group with distinctive rights.