Andean Music Turns Heads with ILLAPU!

In this article, we continue traveling through the musical traditions of the world. With the Progressive movement of the 1970s, Andean music remained a focal statement of the Latin Music industry. Through the trials and tribulations of dictatorship and loss of musical freedom, ILLAPU prevails through traditional historical insight which highlights the purity of Andean Music.

Andean music is not a forbidden musical genre. It has seeped through multiple musical acts since resting upon the earth we walk on. Music and culture go hand in hand. A statement that may be a bit firm, but stands true in so many ways. With tradition rooted in every note, every instrument and every melody, music has managed to express the past in multitudes of ways. Music speaks volumes when it comes to people and their experiences, something we can all identify with.

It is an appreciation for different people’s experiences that make the world circle round and round. Andean music is a traditional form of music that resonates with people everywhere today. And with its Latin customs, the emotion of this Latin folk entity feeds a different part of the soul, that one may not have been tapped into yet. It is important to understand the culture of music and the variety of regions it has produced. A global musical perspective allows a listener to be introduced to areas of the world that they never have been equipped to visit. But visiting multiple areas through music is the freest kind of air travel. Through the sounds of Andean music, ILLAPU has morphed the music industry through its efforts to liberate a once forgotten sound.


From Exile to Musical Freedom

ILLAPU is a Latin American group that specializes in its incorporation of updated rhythms and audio interpretation melted into traditional Andean Music. The Latin masterpiece started in the late  ‘60s early  1970s. With their heavy emphasis on activism and protest music that leans towards an opinionated nature, the group was exiled from Chile due to their social views.

Their liberal viewpoints through a musical outlet bashed the right-wing dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet which polarized their intricate music and statements surrounding the essence of Andean history. During their dramatic exile from Chile, the band transcended to the European area, calling France their sanctuary of optimism. The band returned to Chile in 1988, which sparked the inspiration for their 1989 album ”En Vivo: Parque La Bandera”. Quechua was the language of the Incan Empire which is fairly spoken in various Native American groups of South America. Being a prominent native language of Andean Music, the progressive band named themselves “Lightning bolt”. With their striking musical interior and exterior, the name suits the liberal group perfectly.


Andean Music stops time!

“Vuelvo Para Vivir” is a track that gives the pure essence of summer vibes. The sunshine falling down upon your cheeks as you frolic through the day with happiness and unknowing hopefulness for the day to continue to give pure thanks. The song proclaims love in the most romantic nature. This song can also be interpreted from their happening of exile and coming home to a different perspective and atmosphere of future intellectual unity.

I am going home; I’m going home mate. I return sea, mountain, I return port. I return south, I return port. I return south. I salute my desert. I am reborn, my beloved people.

The song is one of my favorites as it embodies an orchestral instrumentation with the pure implication of  1970s music.  The song adds a layer of harmonies which adds another textual component to the material and fills the room with such purity that the song becomes a part of you as the material comes to an end.




“Lejos Del Amor” creates this serene environment of peacefulness. The track embodies the essence of Latin music. There is a tranquility and calmness when it comes to Andean Music. The urgency is prevalent while still keeping a content experience. The song lyrics translate the longing and distance of a better tomorrow with a lover. The romantic lyrical gesture is filled with an authentic pure sound that shows the traditional texture of the ancestry of Andean musicality.

What are these lovers doing here? In this place, what are you doing here? Between herbs and candor in this love park. What are you doing here, far from reason? 



The brunettes in celebration of the hope, wiggling leg and hips burned like candela.


“Morena Esperanza” is a lustrous presence as the romanticism is more of physical expression. The feeling gives a sense of sensuality while monitoring the position of traditional Andean heritage.




A Listener of a Stereotypical Nature

My first impression of the music strained as I was not familiar with Andean Music in any way previously. As a stereotypical ignorant bystander, I only listened to Latin music as I pounded down my throat a couple of margaritas on Taco Tuesday. But as I dived into the world of Andean musical culture, I experienced the value the ancestral genre had and its powerful influence on the Latin community. The music pours out of the soul like no other and proclaims a romanticism that other music is heavily influenced by.

The group showed me a musical design that allowed me as the listener to fall into the rabbit hole of another culture which is deemed important and crucial to a full well rounded musical experience. The appreciation for the band’s authenticity through language and various instrumentations will span throughout time. It’s important that bands such as ILLAPU be favored and valued for years to come.

With the current generation, the presence of Andean music can still be upheld and cherished. The historical waves only leave a  permanent mark on society and should be held in such a manner. With Andean music, the musical incorporation feeds the spirit… From dusk to dawn, traditional music of Latin communities will continue to create artistic excellence and expand musical reaches for centuries further.

Photo: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

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