Thanks to the recent archaeological discoveries of musical instruments, experts now know that in Peru, music has been played at least as far back as 10,000 years ago.
This ancient tradition created quenas, zampoñas, pututos (trumpets made from sea conch) and a wide variety of other wind instruments crafted from a range of materials such as cane, mud, bone, horns and precious metals, as well as various percussion instruments.
Contact with the Occident has brought over a large number of instruments, which have been creatively adapted to the rhythmic and tonal needs of each region of the country. The clearest evidence is the many transformations that the harp, violin and guitar have undergone in the Peruvian highlands.
The encounter between the Andes and the Western World have given rise in Peru to 1,300 musical genres. But two of them have crossed the country’s borders and have become symbols of Peru’s identity: the huayno and marinera.
Today, Peru continues to assimilate new instruments such as synthesizers, electric guitars, drums and harmonicas. Local musicians are also creating new genres like chicha or Peruvian cumbia, which is enabling Peru’s music to open up to new influences to expand both at home and abroad, beyond native folk music.
This capacity for musical fusion and innovation is a lively expression of the integrating force and dynamic character of Peru’s culture.