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The most common and popular genre of Andean traditional music, the huayno (wayno, wayñu) is heard with many variations from Ecuador to northern Argentina. It is most prominent among highland indigenous and mestizo communities in Bolivia and Peru. Often described as originating in the Inca epoch, the first concrete references to the genre do not appear until the colonial era, when it gained popularity as a secular couples' dance. Musically huaynos are strophic songs in duple meter, with highly syncopated melodies in contrasting phrases (e.g., aabb), accompanied by a variety of string and wind instruments. In mestizo forms of the genre, it often concludes with a faster section known as a fuga. In the mid-twentieth century the huayno took on a new popularity among highland migrants to Lima, Peru, leading to significant changes in its presentational style and its dissemination via recordings and radio. While still popular in rural areas, its urban form continues to evolve in the early twenty-first century, particularly through fusion with other popular music styles.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance; Music: Pre-Columbian Music of South America.


Roel Pineda, Josefat. "El wayno del Cusco." Folklore Americano 6-7 (1959): 129-245.

Romero, Raul. Sonidos Andinos: Una antología de la música campesina del Perú. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú/Centro de Ethnomusicologia Andina, 2002.

Turino, Thomas. "The Music of Andean Migrants in Lima, Peru: Demographics, Social Power, and Style." Latin American Music Review 9, no. 2 (1988): 127-150.

                                      Jonathan Ritter