Chabuca Granda

Chabuca Granda is the single most important figure in the history of twentieth-century Peruvian music: her most famous ballads (‘La Flor de la Canela’, ‘Fina Estampa’, ‘José Antonio’) are a lyrical celebration of Peru itself, with its Inca heritage and its mixed population of indigenous peoples, mestizos, criollos and Afro-Peruvians. Over her long career, she first created and then transformed Peruvian popular music, giving it a depth and a fluidity that has enabled her songs not only to serve as a commentary on what it means to be Peruvian, but even to become themselves an essential part of that national identity. She remains the benchmark by which today’s Peruvian musicians are measured. In recent years, Susana Baca and Eva Ayllón have both enjoyed success with covers of Chabuca’s songs, including versions of ‘El fusil del poeta’.

– from Timothy Allen’s introduction in MPT 3/14 Polyphony