About the Piece
This is a popular andean panpipe piece titled Sankayo Pankara by the group Bolivia Manta, from the album Wiñayataqui, released in 1981!
Traditionally such panpipe music is played by two musicians on one instrument. Each panpipe can be separated into two rows, and each musician only has access to half the number of notes in the scale to create the melody. Hence teamwork is really important to interlock the notes of the melody across musicians!
Here I'm playing it in a more urban and modern style, where just one musician (me) plays both rows. It's less interlocked but a fair compromise as there aren't any other siku players in Singapore that I know of!
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What happens when traditional music is commercialised?
Panpipe music played in the Andean highlands within allyus (small communities) are often only composed and performed for a specific festival occasion. Many are then never performed or heard ever again.
When a popular piece is commercialised through recording and distribution, it takes on characteristics outside the norms of its original context. In this case, the piece adopted the name 'Sankayo Pankara', whereas such compositions usually remain nameless.
Why does it need a name?
Simply to label the track on the CD when it is distributed for sale.
To me, this is a very interesting impact of commercialisation and distribution on traditional musics!
Until next time, I'll see you again!
By Neil Chan