After my first month in Peru I didn’t really think life in Lima could get more exciting. Meeting different musical artists during the month of September kept me pretty busy, little did I know the month of October would be even more jam-packed with musical goodness.
Soon after I arrived in Lima I noticed colorful posters, with toucans and bongos, plastered all over the city. Something, probably the bongos, told me these were most likely advertising a musical event of some sort. Sure enough, the small little toucans were enticing everyone to trek to Oxapampa, a small community in Peru’s selva alta, or high jungle, for the second annual Selvamonos music festival. In hopes of finding more Afro-Peruvian artists, and hopefully seeing a toucan, I bought my bus ticket.
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Living in Peru is like constantly trying to piece together a puzzle, only your puzzle pieces constantly change and you realize that it doesn’t matter what pieces you connect because one way or another it’ll all work. This is how I first felt upon my arrival to Lima. It was this vast expanse and everyday I tried to have it all figured out, my housing, work, running paths, but you realize that the city moves as fast and uncontrollably as the micro-buses that zip through its streets, and while planning is good, sometimes you just have to be.
My knowledge of Spanish helped me communicate to a certain extent, yet it was also the one thing that set me apart from the Limeños of the city. I knew that Spanish accents vary from country to country yet I didn’t realize how different Mexican and Peruvian accents can be. Fortunately these differences in language helped spark conversations between me and people from many walks of life in Lima, and during each of these conversations I made sure to bring up the topic of Afro-Peruvian music. And almost all of the people I spoke to, whether it be a restaurant owner, cab driver, or my landlord, had something to say about this musical genre.
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