Dancing with the Incas
Available as: VHS and DVD
Catalog #: 0043
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This extraordinary film documents the most popular music of the Andes -- Huayno music -- and explores the lives of three Huayno musicians in a contemporary Peru torn between the military and the Shining Path guerrillas.
The film shows how ancient Incan music passed down through the centuries has a contemporary life of its own in the cities of Peru. Lima on Sundays is alive with Huayno music, in which one hears authentic Inca melodies performed on every conceivable type of instrument. In the moody lyrics, the musings of oppressed people assume an existential and timeless quality even when a carnival atmosphere prevails.
This is one of the few ethnographic films that deals with complex issues of cultural mixture. Rather than focusing on a single community or ethnic group, the film investigates a broad cultural region and illustrates what happens to it as it confronts the commercial traditions and demands of the West.
"Dancing with the Incas" will generate thought, analysis, and discussion in a wide array of courses in cultural anthropology, Latin American studies, ethnomusicology, popular culture, and the arts and humanities. It was produced by renowned filmmaker and musician John Cohen.
"A tour-de force! Musically rich and politically poignant, this work paves the way for a new kind of ethnographic film. It demonstrates how members of the Peruvian urban poor are transforming rural indigenous traditions and producing an entirely new artistic genre that is sensitive to Andean musical structures and to contemporary popular culture. While focusing on the music, the film never lets us forget the economic struggles of the people who perform." -- Judith Friedlander, Prof. of Anthropology and Dean of Social Sciences, Hunter College, City University of New York
"Maverick filmmaker John Cohen has turned the ethnographic film scene on its ear during his storied career. Cohen's gift is not only to find what is unique about his subjects, but to dig beneath the surface and discover unexpected links between culture, music, art and religion -- and the rest of the world." -- Anthony Della Flora, Albuquerque Journal
- Latin American Studies Assn. Award of Merit
- American Anthropological Assn. honoree
- Margaret Mead Film Festival honoree
For additional information on John Cohen and his films, photography, and music, please visit http://www.johncohenworks.com/.