Review: Peruvian Folklore in Lima

Traditional music and dance is one of the many cultural branches of Peru’s vibrant personality. More than just a live performance in a great location, The Peruvian Folklore Company’s show at The Candeleria restaurant in the popular Barranco district is a beautiful way to experience the charm of Peru.

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As many layers to the skirts as there are to Peruvian folklore

The energetic, well-choreographed routines are chosen from all three regions of Peru: the coast, the jungle and the mountains; with an appealing array of colourful costumes and accompanied by an authentic creole band, the dances are both traditional and highly entertaining. Just as interesting as the performances themselves are the origins and history of each dance: every style has its own persona: which the performers do a great job of bringing to life.

The show begins with the famous ‘Anaconda’: a tribal routine from the Amazon ‘selva’ in which people demonstrate vitality, excitement and elation. Through sentiments of freedom and unification with the jungle, the men would display their strength and physical prowess whilst the women reveal a type of sensual elegance unique to the tropical areas of Peru. These customs are highly celebrated in the jungle regions during the annual festival of San Juan. Held on 24th June, men and women come together in grand style to honour St. John the Baptist, whose association with water makes him one of the most important saints of the rainforest regions, where the rivers are the centre of daily and economic life.

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The Marinera Norteña: expressing elegant courtship

The band creates a lively atmosphere by playing traditional tunes from the different regions using characteristic flute and drum sounds, which doesn’t fail in getting everyone on their feet to dance during the intervals between performances. With only a handful of tourists in the audience, the show seems mostly favoured by Peruvians, a point on the side of authenticity, especially as Barranco is an area infamously filled with foreign ‘gringos’.

To follow, there are excellent performances of one of the most popular traditional dances in Peru: the Marinera Norteña. With its official home declared as Trujillo, this romantic symbolism of amorous courtship, performed elegantly with the sweeping of white handkerchiefs, incorporates Spanish, Moorish, Andean and Gypsy influences. The national dance competition is held every year in Trujillo, with the dance having become so famous, that 7th October is named as ‘Marinera Day’ in the city, where a parades and music mark the special significance of the Marinera Norteña.

The Candeleria itself is an elegant and spacious restaurant/live lounge with a large stage and an ample selection of dishes on the menu. You can choose from a number of reasonably-priced beverages: juices, soft drinks, cocktails… even the famous Pisco Sours.

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Well-timed routines from the Sacred Valley area of the Andes

We could also appreciate stunning routines from the highlands, such as the Turkuy, which is a traditional carnival dance from the Cusco area. Symbolising the predatory flight of the Condor bird (the bird with the second biggest wing span in the world after the Albatross), the dance represents the sacrifice of the bird by the Incas. It is said that an Incan farmer was victorious over the Condor after it preyed relentlessly on his livestock. We watched in wonder as each dancer performed in character: a reenactment of this ancient tradition.

Lima is well-known for its entertainment scene, hosting a myriad of concerts and events throughout the year with Barranco being especially trendy for live music however, this was one of the best traditional music and folklore shows we have seen by far and an absolute bargain at 25 soles per ticket.

The shows are every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, with an afternoon show on Sundays. For tickets and more information you can contact The Candeleria on (01) 2471314.

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