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LA Paz -Music of the wind in the nest of an eagle

Dragana Jovančević / 05.06.2018.

La Paz

Yurway Kawthur, which means “white”, “wind”, “life”, “let’s live condor”, which all together we can translate as ”Long live the white condor - lord of the winds”, is the name of the group on whose wings of music I traveled Bolivia, learning about the traditions hundreds of years old.

In Bolivia Andean Condor is one of the most important symbols. Long before it was founded the city in which in one of the most famous Restaurant-Huari at an altitude of 3700 m I enjoy the Andean cuisine and traditional folklore show, there used to be only eagles nest.

The Eagle predator or Condor vulture-Killi-Killi is one of the most famous viewpoints in the upper Miraflores, where I observe again in my mind this unusual city listening to the song "Condor's Flight”. There are two million inhabitants in this town in the houses sqeezed next to each other, and in the wild settlement El Alto arised above the city about a million inhabitants. The huge difference in height between the parts of the city makes it even more unusual, and you get the impression that you also fly high, like an eagle, in the city that is at the top of the world.

Market of the witches

In La Paz, there is the world's highest golf club, the highest ski-run (at 5300 m above the sea level), which is no longer used due to the lack of snow, the highest stadium-Fernando Silez, where is in 2010 year Argentina national team lost 6: 0 from Bolivia, and the Bolivians sang on that occasion: "Don’t cry for me Argentina"

Just because of the huge difference in altitude that hinders and slows down the traffic, here is made the first cable car as a part of the city's traffic, which shortens the time to the airport to fifteen minutes instead of an hour as it was needed before.

Magic of symbols and colors

Bolivia is one of the few countries that has two capitals (La Paz which is the seat of government, and Sucre in which judicial authority is located) and two flags: the official state flag and Indian flag that stands out alongside the official flag of the country. On the indian flag the 64 ethnic groups are represented by 64 squares of different colors, while on the official state flag there are only three colors: red as a symbol of animals living in Bolivia and the army, yellow as a symbol of fertility and green that symbolizes minerals. At the center of the emblem there is an eagle - condor, one of the main symbols of Bolivia, as well as a lama that is characteristic of this country, unlike the alpaca that is the symbol of Peru. On the emblem one can see a hill rich with silver ore and streams, nine stars representing nine departments and coca leaves, which is the holy plant of indians which represent the majority of the population in Bolivia. This patchwork of colors interweaves in various national costumes of folklore dancers who have turned this evening into magic.

Market of the witches

In this country with a rich tradition, the customs of the Indians mixed with the customs of colonizers who came from Spain, creating a wonderful fairy-tale world where sounds created by natural instruments characteristic of Bolivian folklore such as: el charango, la quena, el tarijeno, elerke , el pututu, el tamborcito, las zamponas and la mantraca pulls us into it. All musical instruments characteristic of Bolivia are divided into three groups: percusion or percussion, cuerda or wire instruments and viento or wind instruments, which can be seen in the Bolivia Musician Museum located at the corner of Linares and Sagarmagos streets. Viento in literary translation means wind, a wind that gently whispers secrets of past centuries that are passed from the knees to the knee and so preserved until today.

Instrumenti, predstava

Tradition woven into dance

While we enjoyed the culinary specialties typical for this area, from which the most famous was those from the meat of Lama, folklore performances, as a strange mixture of Catholic and pagan customs, left us breathless. Dancers dressed in colorful costumes vivified in front of us mythical creatures and figures from the colonial period. In devils and angels costumes, with muffled sounds of drums and wind instruments, they invited the guests to join them on the dance floor in one of the traditional dances: diablada, morenada. Under the influence of this magical sound and refreshing taste of coca tea, we danced as if we were not at 4000 meters of altitude, where the thin air made difficult breathing, movement, and dance and as if with that dance we participated in the process of creating of this mysterious world. By Music and dance are presented customs by which people in Bolivia live more than hundred years.

Jatri, a tribal sorcerer, represents everything for the Indians, physicians, judges, and professors. He also takes on the role of parents by explaining to young married couples everything about common life, which few years before marriage must live together to see if they are one for the other because it is impossible to divorce there. After the jatiri had married them, they married in the church according to the Catholic customs. Knowledge of the shaman has been transferring from knee to knee, and no one can decide that he will be a shaman when it grows up. Shamans often use the coke in the rituals of healing. It is also offered as a sacrifice, and placed underneath the stone to provide good conditions for traveling. In this country, magic is present at every step.

Market of the witches

On the wings of music, we again walked in our thoughts through the market of witches, which was on the same street as this restaurant. There you could buy various amulets and objects for protection from evil forces, plants that have healing properties, even lama's fetus used to protect newly built houses. Everything about white magic is allowed, while black magic is strictly forbidden.

There are a variety of amulets for various areas of life, such as puma amulets for health, Pachamama for family, turtle for long life, frog for money, owl for wisdom, Viracocha for positive energy, condor for travelers and unavoidable amulet for love. It is best to keep all these amulets together in a ceramic bowl coated with wool of lama in the colors of a rainbow. The most striking is Ekeko, the amulet for well-being in the form of a man who holds in his hands, around his waist and on his back a handful of little things that are necessary for life in Bolivia: money, jack with corn and Andes' cereals, heart for love, el viento for music of the soul, and unavoidable a lama figurine that is a sacred animal for the inhabitants of Bolivia. All these motifs are enchanted in the folklore show through the colorful costumes, music, dance, and acting that reflects the life of these inhabitants of the Andes, which is entirely in harmony with nature. This life and richness of various rituals tried to tell us, through the movement and the music, worshippers of the white condors who are, at the top of the world, masters of the winds.


Mystery of the missing sea and the city which name means peace

At 4200 m of altitude near the town, there is the Devil's mountain top where witches hold their rituals, and only 15 km from the city- the Valley of the Moon, which in 1980, after the visit of Neil Armstrong, was declared a national park. Stone formation in this valley, formed under the influence of erosion of petrified sand from the bottom of the sea, which was located here a hundred million years ago, according to the theory of Jacques Cousteau, give the impression that you get lost in an unknown world. The Petrified face of Indian watches me hidden in the character of one of the musicians while his instrument produces a sound that draws me into space without time. In this world, beneath the clouds, where only the silence reign, there is a city that is named so, Peace or La Paz.

Moon Valey

In this town, one time ago, someone said: "No one will extinguish the torch I set on fire." These were the last words of the first revolutionary, Murillo, who fought against the Spanish colonial authorities. According to him, the main square in La Paz was named La Plaza del Murillo (la plaza del Murillo). Another revolutionary has lost his life here in the fight against the Spanish authorities. In El Alto settlement, there is a monument to Commander Che Guevara, who was killed in Bolivia, near the border with Argentina.

On the Murillo square, there is a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin of the Carmen-Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Paz. It was built in 1831 in neoclassical style. There is a board on it that testifies that the first Pope who visited South America was Pope John Paul II. Besides this cathedral, the temple of San Francisco is also essential. It was built, built in 1549, while the façade was made in 1740 in the Baroque style. This temple is located on the square of the same name, at the end of the street which represents the main city promenade - Avenida 16 de Julio, better known as El Prado, which continues as Avenida Mariscal Santa Cruz. The construction of the tower in this temple lasted forty years. In the church, there is a pinacotheque in which are kept an extensive collection of artistic works from the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, etc.

All the main roads are shown on Murillo Square. There is a zero-kilometer mark here, and everything is measured in relation to that point, and as it is said that all roads lead to Rome, it can definitely be said that all roads lead from La Paz. In the country where magic is present everywhere, I close my eyes and listening to the magical sounds of El Viento I spread my wings and disappear.