Celebrating Andean Culture:Center for Andean Ethnomusicology

The Center for Andean Ethnomusicology (CAE), a Cultural Survival Special Project, works to revive local cultures and promote ethnic diversity in Andean countries, through the study and documentation of traditional cultures. Its work often centers on recording cultural representations like music, ritual, and the dance-drama.

Since 1985, the project has produced an extensive audiovisual archive of Andean ethnographic materials, obtained by staff or from private collections of independent researchers. Currently, it holds over 1,400 hours of video recordings of fiestas and rituals, 2,000 hours of recorded sound, and more than 20,000 photographs obtained during field research.

Much of the media from the CAE archive has been published. Between 1996 and 2002, CAE co-edited with the Smithsonian Institution a series of eight compact discs titled Traditional Music of Peru, which is available in stores worldwide. The project’s ethnographic video collection is distributed in the United States through Insight Media, and its multimedia CD Music and Ritual of Peru is distributed through the University of California-Los Angeles. All of these publications have been released in Spanish and English.

In Peru, CAE publishes a book series called Avances de investigación (Preliminary Reports). Each book includes a CD, and presents ethnographic information on the fiesta calendar of different regions of the Peruvian Andes.

CAE is also developing three projects:

• The implementation of LANMAR (Latin American Network of Music Archives), a consortium of the most important sound archives in the hemisphere. Latin American collections will eventually be available through the internet.

• The digitization of audiovisual materials for future physical conservation and protection against deterioration.

• Promoting community participation in teaching and promoting cultural preservation in the Andes. This project implies empowering peasant and indigenous communities to take cultural preservation in their own hands, which CAE would facilitate through the transfer of new technologies and general supervision.

CAE covers its operational costs through the indispensable staff, office materials, and facilities of the Catholic University of Peru. In addition to the Ford Foundation grant, the project has recently received support from the Harvard University Program for Latin American Libraries and Archives for the digitization project, and from the Swiss Agency for Development for promoting community participation.

Raul R. Romero is director of the Center for Andean Ethnomusicology.

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