North American Peruvian duo brings music in Quechua to the Latin Grammys 2022

This content was published on 04 November 2022 – 11:56

Monica Martinez

Lima, Nov 4 (EFE).- With more than 20 years singing traditional music from Peru, Araceli Poma moved to New York to produce an album with North American Matt Gerarghty that brings Andean singing in Quechua to an encounter with funk and world music, which has earned him a Latin Grammy nomination and, he confesses, a great surprise.

“The nomination was a surprise for us; however, we have been working with Matt since 2018 and it has been wonderful that we can be nominated because when the album was nominated it was four months old,” Poma told Efe in a remote interview from New York. York.

The duo formed by the Peruvian Poma and the American Gerarghty, called Afro Andean Funk, is among the nominees this year for the Latin Grammy Awards in the category of best alternative music album, along with established artists such as the Spanish Rosalía and the Colombian group Stereo Bomb.

Gerarghty also explained to EFE that he met Poma in a studio in Lima in 2018 when he was filming a musical documentary called “The Warriors of Afro-Peruvian Music,” which also earned them both a 2020 Latin Grammy nomination.

However, the duo was born in 2021, when Poma settled in New York and started “the Afro Andean Funk band that connects Araceli’s culture, part Afro-Peruvian and Andean”, with Gerarghty’s world, which is “rock, jazz , funk, world music”, detailed the also producer of the album.


The Sacred Leaf has two songs in Quechua, among its nine own compositions, which Poma interprets to give voice to the largest indigenous community in Peru and a large part of South America about shamanic rituals, the coca leaf to which the name of the album alludes , and the struggle of forcibly sterilized women in the 1990s.

“I was lucky that Quechua came to me through my grandmother’s songs in her cradle, but I grew up with the story that she learned the town’s Quechua, because her parents didn’t want to teach her Quechua at home, because they told her that they were going to discriminate against her,” Poma said.

The singer added that “unfortunately, this is how many native languages ​​are lost out of shame or fear.”

“So I believe that we must continue to revalue and what better way than with music,” he stressed.

Poma has produced three albums, the first of which was released in 2017 with a repertoire of traditional Creole music from the so-called Guardia Vieja, which took him 10 years to compile.

For his part, Gerarghty has five jazz and world music albums, where he has brought together much of the musical influence he received from flamenco from Spain, North Africa, as well as from Cuba, Brazil and Peru.

“I’ve always been interested in other cultures musically and as a bass player it’s been a very easy way to understand other cultures,” said the pianist.


At this year’s Latin Grammy Awards, four Peruvian artists have been nominated, including Poma. Among them the consecrated Susana Baca and Eva Ayllón for best folk album, as well as the novel Nicole Zignago, daughter of singer-songwriter and composer Gianmarco Zignago, for best new artist.

“I admire Nicole’s work and what can I tell you about the teachers Susana Baca and Eva Ayllón, who are musical references for me,” said Poma.

The singer especially thanked Baca for having “opened the international path to many of the artists” something that she wants to “continue doing because, somehow, working with the music” of her roots and being in an alternative music category, opens the doors for the musicians who are going to come”.

The Peruvian-American duo will attend the Latin Grammy gala in Las Vegas on November 17 and will work on the dissemination of their album at the level of workshops in American universities and cultural centers, before going on a tour of Europe next year. . EFE



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North American Peruvian duo brings music in Quechua to the Latin Grammys 2022