Los Jaivas – Alturas de Machu Picchu (1981)

FrontCover1What would it sound like if you combined symphonic prog with Andean folk influences? Well, “Alturas De Macchu Picchu” by Los JAIVAS answers that question. This album is an incredible find for anyone who enjoys both progressive rock and traditional Peruvian, and Chilean, folk music. If you can imagine electric guitars, bass, drums, piano, and the Moog interacting with instruments like the cuatro, quena, and zamponia then you’re in for a treat. “Alturas…” combines epic-length symphonic prog tracks, with shorter traditional Andean songs. In my opinion, the keyboardist really stands out when playing acoustic piano. He tends to mix pentatonic-based melodies with local rhythms, yet those melodies sound closer to Chinese classical folk more than American blues, or Eastern European folk. His style is unique in the world of rock. The other musicians are equally impressive, but I think most listeners will focus in on the excellent vocals. Anyway, this is one of the top 5 prog rock albums to come out of South America. (by Steve Hegede)

“Alturas De Macchu Picchu” (The Height Of Macchu Picchu) is a brilliant blend of Andrean folk and progressive rock music styles. Essentially Los JAIVAS have taken traditional Peruvian / Chilean folk music and blended it with a heavier Progressive rock style (moogs, guitars, drums…). The end result is something you have never heard before but will definitely learn to love quickly. Lead singer Gato Alquinta has an amazing voice and can really belt it out without ever sound overly overbearing. His vocals are sung of course in Spanish and are done so with high degree of romanticism not unlike many of the Italian prog greats. The band houses 2 keyboardists but are surprisengly not the most dominant aspect of their music and instead ensures the music remains symphonic. A couple of songs are pure Chilean folk but blend beautifully against the more symphonic pieces throughout. Without a question progressive fans will fall off their chair when they hear “La Poderosa Muerte” an 11 mins piece of progressive rock magic. A great album for sure…! (by loserboy)

Los Jaivas

And all they lyrics were written by Pablo Neruda:

Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet-diplomat and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973). He derived his pen name from the Czech poet Jan Neruda. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

Neruda became known as a poet when he was 10 years old. He wrote in a variety of styles, including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and passionate love poems such as the ones in his collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924). He often wrote in green ink, which was his personal symbol for desire and hope.

Pablo Neruda2The Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called Neruda “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Harold Bloom included Neruda as one of the 26 writers central to the Western tradition in his book The Western Canon.
On July 15, 1945, at Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo, Brazil, Neruda read to 100,000 people in honor of the Communist revolutionary leader Luís Carlos Prestes.

During his lifetime, Neruda occupied many diplomatic positions and served a term as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When President González Videla outlawed communism in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda’s arrest. Friends hid him for months in the basement of a house in the port city of Valparaíso. Later, Neruda escaped through a mountain pass near Maihue Lake into Argentina.
Years later, Neruda was a close advisor to Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende. When Neruda returned to Chile after his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Allende invited him to read at the Estadio Nacional before 70,000 people.

Neruda was hospitalised with cancer at the time of the coup d’état led by Augusto Pinochet but returned home after five days when he suspected a doctor of injecting him in the stomach with an unknown substance for the purpose of murdering him at the order of Pinochet.[7] Neruda died in his house in Isla Negra on 23 September 1973 six and a half hours after that injection. Although it has always been reported that he died of prostate cancer or heart failure, on November 5, 2015 the Interior Ministry of the Chilean government issued a statement acknowledging a Ministry document from March of that year indicating the government’s official position that “it was clearly possible and highly likely” that he was killed as a result of “the intervention of third parties”.

Pinochet, backed by elements of the armed forces, denied permission for Neruda’s funeral to be made a public event. However, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets.

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda

Gato Alquinta (vocals, guitar, bass, cuarto, zampona, quena, ocarina)
Mario Mutis (bass, guitar, zampoña, quena, vocals)
Claudio Parra (piano, synthesizer, harpsichord)
Eduardo Parra (piano, synthesizer, tarka)
Gabriel Parra (drums, percussion, xylophone, trutrucas, tarka, vocals)
Patricio Castillo (quena on 04,, tarka on 05.)
Alberto Ledo (all instruments on 01.)


01. Del aire al aire (Instrumental) (Ledo) 2.15
02. La poderosa muerte (Los Jaivas – Pablo Neruda) 11.08
03. Amor americano (Los Jaivas – Pablo Neruda) 5.26
04. Aguila sideral (Los Jaivas – Pablo Neruda) 5.20
05. Antigua America (Los Jaivas – Pablo Neruda) 5.37
06. Sube a nacer conmigo hermano (Los Jaivas – Pablo Neruda) 4.48
07. Final (Los Jaivas – Pablo Neruda) 2.34


Los Jaivas2