Thursday, November 15, 2012


Fuera, Fuera!

I recently happened on a charming villancico by the Bolivian composer Roque Jacínto de Chavarría (1688?–1719), with the title Fuera, Fuera! There is a performance by Florilegium and the Arakaendar Bolivia Choir, conducted by Ashley Solomon, with commentary by mezzo soprano Angélica Monje, on YouTube. Lyrics and an English translation can be found here. The score might be in Latin American Colonial Music Anthology (Washington: General Secretariat, Organization of American States, 1975), which is unavailable to me.

If you listen to the villancico, don't be fooled, as I was at first, into thinking that you hear the choir singing "It's a lie!" or "It's alive!" about halfway through. They are actually singing "Achalay" or "Achallay," a joyful exclamation in the Quechua language. See Mily Crevels and Pieter Muysken, edd., Lenguas de Bolivia, Tomo I: Ámbito Andino (La Paz: Plural Editores, 2009), p. 322, where the word is glossed:
'¡Qué felices estamos!' (pareja en la fiesta bailando)
Instead of the same old Christmas carols this year, it would be a delightful change to hear a choir sing Fuera, Fuera!

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