We are delighted to be writing from Quito-Ecuador at this time! INTAKE is proud to continue our international partnership with the United States Embassy in Ecuador since 2010 and to have the opportunity to follow-up and go deeply into a long-dreamed project incorporating afro-Ecuadorian, African-American, and afro-Caribbean roots, cultures and their diverse forms of expressions through music.

Since 2009, INTAKE was exposed to the “leaf blowers”, an ancient technique that is still practiced in the small village of Chalguayacu, in El Chota, Ecuador—a very impoverished town that is mostly known for the talented soccer players in the nation’s soccer team as well as the traditional music form called “Bomba” (not to be confused with Puerto Rico’s “Bomba & Plena”).

Given the western-classical and native European connection— we couldn’t help but connect the dots to Hungarian master composer Bela Bartok also listening to leaf blowers and then being inspired to transcribe some of those melodies and compose his 44-duets for violin, along with other folk songs that were inspired and nurturing for his groundbreaking symphonies and signature style. This will be our next attempt to make classical and traditional folkloric music relevant, accessible, and inclusive across various continents.

We are very excited to be performing and partnering with the entire band (8-members) from La Banda Mocha— as they were featured in our PBS documentary “Compadre Huashayo” and also to meet new artists from: “Las Tres Marías”. Their name translates to “The Three Mary’s” and they are a group of sisters who sing and accompany themselves because they lacked musical instruments! For example: Maria 1 sings the melody, Maria 2 sings the bass line, and Maria 3 sings the trumpet/harmony part. What drove us to reach out to them and partner with these female artist trio was that they were named a Cultural Patrimony by Ecuadorian government (Patrimonio Cultural del Ecuador) since they are the oldest living female singers that preserve the traditional musical form of “Bombas” from El Chota.

Ecuador-02Here is a picture of one of the ‘Tres Marias’ sister, cooking a chicken in their hometown of Chalguayacu (Taken a few weeks ago when our local Project Coordinator traveled to set up our initial project dates).

Photo 2 is of the Banda Mocha practicing in the streets of Chalguayacu (when we first met them in 2009).

Stay posted as we wil be in El Chota on July 9th! Follow our blog and subscribe!