Misa de Indios


Misa criolla - an indian mass

Barbara Kusa, Luis Rigou – soloists
Ensemble La Chimera
Eduardo Egüez – direction

On the fiftieth anniversary of its creation, Luis Rigou and La Chimera begin a resurrection of this work, which figures among the musical events of the twentieth century. In 1963, the Argentinian composer Ariel Ramirez wrote a mass composed on popular themes from South America. The Misa Criolla consists of the five main parts of the Catholic liturgy (Kyrie, Credo, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) but includes a number of instruments from Andean folklore. The result is an incredible spiritual force and an exhilarating sound vitality. Alongside this mass, sacred pieces of South American colonial baroque in native language (Bolivia).

Like most South Americans, I tend to think of the famous date of October 12, 1492, a date that universal history has called the “Discovery” of America. I would like to quote the famous Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, about this mentioned “Discovery”:

In 1492, the aborigines discovered that they were "Indians", They discovered that they lived in America, They discovered that they were naked; They discovered that there was sin, They discovered that they owed allegiance to a king and a queen from another world and a god from another heaven, and that this god had invented guilt and the robe and commanded to burn alive all those who worship the sun and the moon and the earth and the rain that wets it.

From that moment on, the music and culture of America were renamed “pre” and “post” Colombian, forming a true cultural universe of immeasurable richness whose effervescent evolution continues to this day. Undoubtedly, one could say that American music in general, especially over the last two centuries and through popular genres such as jazz, tango, Brazilian music, salsa, Cuban and Venezuelan music, to name a few, has contributed (and continues to do so) generously to the universal musical heritage.
When Luis Rigou proposed me to perform Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla, Galeano’s words and countless isolated words such as blood, conquest, honor, Jesuit, Indian, ambition, sword, barbarity, silence… came to mind. I hesitated to accept the proposal but Luis finally convinced me. The challenge was enormous. After almost a year of reflection and considering my inability to conceive an album without a “story” or “argument”, we divided the work into two parts: the Misa Criolla on one side and on the other, a series of pieces that represent a vast and varied journey through the history of the Andes Cordillera, on the vast Collao shared by Peru, Bolivia and Chile. From pre-Columbian melodies, through colonial popular music to finish with modern compositions inspired by Galeano’s lyrics. Thus, our “Indian Mass” travels a broad path from pre-Columbian cultures to the music of our time, focusing particularly on the rich religious syncretism of Latin America.

Eduardo Egüez

video gallery



  • “Hanacpachap” (Pérou) Anonymous, South American  (17th century)
  • “En Aquel Amor” (Pérou – Bolivie) Anonymous, South American –  lyrics by San Juan de la Cruz (1542 – 1591)
  • “Tonada La Despedida – Tonada El Huicho de Chachapoyas” (Pérou) Codex Martínez Compañón (1782–1785)
  • “Iesu Dulcissime” (Bolivie) Letania Moxos Anonymous, South American (17th century)
  • “Tonada El Diamante” (Pérou) Codex Martínez Compañón (1782–1785)
  • “Bico Payaco Borechu – Bayle de Danzantes” (Paraguay – Pérou)  Anonymous – Codex Martínez Compañón (1782–1785)
  • “Muerto estáis” Codex Zuola – Lyrics by Lope de Vega (17th century)
  • “Como un Hilo de Plata” Eduardo Egüez (1959)
  • “Oh admirable Sacramento” Francisco López Capilla (circa 1614 – 1674)
  • “Intiu Khana” (Bolivie) Clarken Orosco 
  • “Alleluia” Eduardo Egüez (1959)
  • “Misa Criolla” (Argentine) Ariel Ramírez (1921 2010)
    Agnus Dei 

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