Mapuche Song and Musical Instruments

Esquel, Chubut, Argentina
-42.909528100000, -71.314311700000
Journal Entry:

One of the few universals shared among human cultures throughout the world is song. Song forms a key part of community life, marking important rituals, bonding people together, and inspiring people in both happy and difficult times.

For the Mapuche people, there are two categories of song: tail (“tie-yeel”) and ülkantun (“uhl-can-toon”). Tail are sacred songs that connect closely to particular families. Tail are almost always sung by women, sometimes a capella and sometimes with accompaniment from the kultrun drum. Ülkantun, on the other hand, are non-sacred songs that can be about any topic. There are many ülkantun about the landscape, love and country life.

In addition to song, the Mapuche people have many types of musical instruments. Traditional Mapuche instruments include the kultrun drum, which I have talked about in my previous posts, as well as several wind instruments including the pifilka, pilolo and trutruka. I have learned a lot about these instruments from Mapuche instrument maker Albarino in the Lago Rosario Mapuche community.