Now the Center for World Music has provided me with a way to express and share my years of life experience with other people, since it is a combination of music, getting to know the local culture, and guiding at historic Inca sites. This year marks the 30th year that I have been guiding in Peru (it was my summer job while working on my Masters and PhD), so I have been living the Peru life either here in Peru, or in the U.S. writing about Peru.
Many people dream of living in a foreign country and becoming immersed in the culture. How did you get to know the musicians and families that the people on the Andes and Beyond tour visit and work with?
This question is related to the previous one. Really I came to know many musicians just by living in Peru, playing my flute, and working on my PhD research. After awhile Cusco becomes a small city, everyone comes to know everyone. I must say it was really when I started my PhD research in 2005 that my work with various musicians became more regular and intense. In my earlier years in Peru I had been working as a trekking guide full-time and playing music part-time, and it was my dream to reverse that: be involved in music full-time and guiding part-time. While I still guide regularly, I simultaneously have many music projects going, like my newest one working with the near-extinct Wachiperi group in the Amazon region of Madre de Dios.
What else would you like to tell us about the Andes and Beyond music/cultural tour in Peru?
I just want to reiterate that experiencing Peru through a variety of musical styles is very special. I am hoping that anyone who is interested will do the Afro-Peruvian add-on after the Andean portion, where we go to El Carmen, the "cradle of Afro-Peruvian music," to experience the Virgen of Carmen festival and participate in wildly fun cajón workshops with some amazing musicians. In addition to getting to know the musicians we will work with, we will also visit some amazing Inca archeological sites set in stunning mountain scenery, so the tour is rich in every way: musically, culturally, historically.
If you're planning on going to Machu Picchu and want to learn to play music with indigenous master musicians, the "Andes and Beyond" Music/Cultural tour may be just the journey for you.