Renata Flores' Quechua covers and original Quechua + trap songs
July 9, 2020 10:00 PM   Subscribe

"¿Qué motiva a una joven de 17 años a cantar en su idioma ancestral? Renata Flores, cantante, compositora y activista del idioma quechua revaloriza y promueve la lengua natal de sus antepasados a través de la música, mezclando sonidos andinos con géneros modernos." Quien Soy (Who I am) is a short Spanish documentary about Renata Flores, who started singing in Quechua covers, first House of the Rising Sun (original; subtitled) and went viral with The Way You Make Me Feel, and now blends other styles like trap and electric/dance to promote Quechua while also bringing attention to issues of femicide and the treatment of rural people. Renata Flores Brought Quechua to YouTube, and Then Everything Changed (Vice)

Yahoo! News covered Renata Flores when she released her first two songs in 2015, when she translated "The Way You Make Me Feel" with the help of her 72-year-old grandmother, Ada. More recently, as noted by Vice, her original lyrics are composed in Spanish and later translated to Quechua with the assistance of a professor in Huamanga.

Currently, Flores has 14 videos on her YouTube channel:
  1. "The House of the rising sun" The Animals version quechua
  2. "The way you make me feel" Michael Jackson - Versión en Quechua
  3. Renata Flores Rivera Explota mis Sentidos Formas y Sonidos with the students of La Academia de Música Formas y Sonidos (The Music Academy of Forms and Sounds)
  4. "Mi Primer Concierto" Ayacucho Perú where she performed Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy," Ben E. King - "Stand By Me," Guns N Roses - "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and more
  5. Renata Flores en la Cumbre del FMI y BM ¡Perú vive la fiesta! en Parque de la Reserva
  6. "Fallin' " - Alicia Keys - Versión Quechua
  7. "Earth Song" Michael Jackson - Versión en Quechua
  8. "Noche de Luz" (Canción De Navidad) Versión Quechua
  9. Quechua - "Mirando la misma Luna" "Qawachkanchik chay Killallata" - a song of protest against the bullying suffered by Quechua speaking children and young people because of their difficulty of speaking Spanish correctly
  10. Trap + Quechua - "Miradas" (audio only)
  11. Trap + Quechua - Tijeras ft. Kayfex - a call against femicide and abuse of women. "With this video I want to encourage women NOT TO SHUT UP in the face of so much injustice and corruption."
  12. Qam hina speaks to the suffering of people in rural areas
  13. "Bellyache" Billie Eilish Versión Quechua - the video also starts start a new section on her channel where she learns the Quechua language with viewers, many more things about the Andean culture
  14. "Bad Guy" Billie Eilish Versión Quechua includes an informal conversation in Quechua between young people
For English speakers, Quechua Language has 27 lessons for free.
posted by filthy light thief (13 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks to Johnny Wallflower for sharing this short Kottke article on Renata Flores.

And to be clear, Quechua is the most widely spoken native language in Peru, but is still spoken by a fraction of country. More information: langues of Peru on Wikipedia.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:02 PM on July 9

*languages of Peru. You get it.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:08 PM on July 9

Oh yeah! Spotify served me a Latin Trap playlist and I was like, "where has this music been all my life" (I enjoy trap as well as reggaeton) -- and then I realized that there weren't too many women . I googled 'women in latin trap' and got mostly results for Bad Bunny and his feminism, but I found Renata Flores on the bottom of the first page!

She's inspiring and I applaud her effort. I hope it makes a difference.

I would be interested in some Manchu trap. My grandmother said that her older relatives clung onto bits and pieces but there wasn't enough for her to learn.
posted by batter_my_heart at 2:01 AM on July 10

When I visited Peru in the 70s, I tried to learn some Quechua. I was not successful.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:53 AM on July 10

The NYTimes had an article about her this spring, and since then I've been enjoying listening to her music. Thanks for posting this and the additional links.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:33 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

had a bit of a rough childhood growing up with a type of spanish that incorporates random quechua words every once in a while, and then we move to the Caribbean, where spanish is *completely* without quechua (mind that I was too young to even know that the quechua words weren't "regular" spanish words. they were just words my parents and family said, so completely normal for young me) - so I go to school and am this new kid that can speak fluent spanish and then just freaks the other kids out by saying some random noises in a sentence.

"Hi, could you please pass me the XKWWZY, please? Why are you looking at me like that....?"

Only then when I brought it up to my parents did they realise that I wasn't distinguishing between both languages.
posted by alchemist at 8:18 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]

Looking now at the Wikipedia page on Quechuan languages, how the language has diverged into regional versions, I'll note that the link to Quechua Language can help you learn Quechua from Cusco, also called Quechua Qollao, which is spoken in southern Peru. That said, Jon, who runs that site, says it's similar to other Quechua variants.

alchemist, thanks for sharing! Have you learned more Quechua since then?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:33 AM on July 10

Love this, and it will definitely go on my mix for this years music swap.

batter_my_heart: "Oh yeah! Spotify served me a Latin Trap playlist and I was like, "where has this music been all my life" (I enjoy trap as well as reggaeton)…"

Might I suggest Paloma Mami? US-born Chilean artist who sings in Spanglish.
posted by signal at 12:14 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]

alchemist: ""Hi, could you please pass me the XKWWZY, please? Why are you looking at me like that....?""

In Chile we use a lot of Mapuche words without really being aware, like Cahuín (gossip), Guata (stomach), Pichintún (a bit), Pilucho (naked).
Also Quechua: Chupalla (hat), Cototo (swelling), Guácala (ewwww, as in gross), Chaucha (small denomination coin), Carpa (tent).
And Aymara: Apañar (to support), Guagua (baby).
Chileans get funny stares whenever we attempt to speak Spanish outside of Chile.
posted by signal at 12:23 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]

signal, interesting! Do you learn the linguistic history of those words through school, in general when growing up and living in the area, or through your own reading and research?

Linguistic adaptations and adoptions like these are fascinating. I wonder if they come from people finding that one word is more evocative or somehow feels more correct, or if they're associated with a group or event, or if it's a mix of everything. They seem like little ways of keeping another culture alive in the midst of a dominant culture.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:01 PM on July 10

I learned about a few of them from hearsay and then looked them up online. I knew about the Mapuche ones, but found out about the Aymara and Quechua ones researching my comment, which was eye opening as they're all in common usage in Chilean Spanish.

The variations of Spanish throughout Latin America are super interesting, in my opinion, and we Chilenos are sort of notorious for how strange and barely intelligible our speech is to other Latin Americans.
posted by signal at 7:28 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

filthy light thief, I have learned a few more in the intervening years, and, luckily, can tell which is which. That discovery process opened my eyes to just how interwoven the languages are, and also how sharply regional. Quechua is (obvious to me now) a mountain language so I didn't really hear it when visiting the coast. Helping my SO learning spanish is now a mixture of "here's how it is in spanish" and "here's what you say in my family". As if learning spanish wasn't complex enough for them when we start getting into region/country differences and how slang changes from place to place :)
posted by alchemist at 11:24 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

signal and alchemist, thanks for sharing more!

I heard a bit of this type of information when learning Spanish in high school, and in more detail when learning more in college (from an Irish bloke, which was fascinating).

I imagine this mix of languages is very common, sounding normal to locals but baffling anyone who formally learns a language before traveling to a specific location or region. man of twists and turns had a post on different cultural borders and maps, including "coke" vs "soda" vs "pop" though that differentiation doesn't go as far as alchemist's familial (or regional?) inclusion of Quechua words. That sounds a bit more like responses to sneezing (Wikipedia) in the US are generally "bless you," but also "gesundheit," where German has been integrated into some regional or community responses.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 PM on July 11

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