K’ala Marka and the Landscapes of Southwestern Bolivia
During our three-day tour of the Salt Flats and southwestern Bolivia, our guide Faustino subjected us to a steady diet of traditional Bolivian music. The best album, and one he played on repeat almost continuously, was from a band called K’ala Marka.
K’ala Marka are one of Bolivia’s most popular traditional bands. The name means “City of Stone” in Aymara. Hugo Gutiérrez y Rodolfo Choque joined forces in La Paz in 1984, and have been exploring and pushing the boundaries of traditional music ever since. Using mountain rhythms and instruments like the pan flute, their sound has been evolved from the very traditional to more experimental, and earned them success all over Latin America and Europe.
As you can see from the video above, this was the perfect soundtrack for a drive through the Andes. And we definitely had it better than the poor elderly German woman that had wound up in a jeep full of 19-year-old British kids, who insisted on blasting Coldplay at full volume during the entire three days. Every time we saw her, she had a shell-shocked expression on her face somewhere between desperation and rage.
Check out one of our favorite songs from K’ala Marka… Cuando Floresca el Chuño. And if you enjoy it, pick up one of their albums!