First written by Daniel Alomía Robles in early 20th century, you will now uncover even more than 4,000 versions of El Cóndor Pasa around the world. Find out why this song is engrained in Peru’s national identity.

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You might be familiar with Simon & Garfunkel’s variation, however what is it about El Cóndor Pasa that made it so renowned way prior to the American folk duo’s cover? The answer to this question has actually whatever to perform via Peru’s facility and also deep cultural and also social history.

(Photo: Wikimedia)

What’s in a song?

If you’ve been to Peru for any size of time, possibilities are that you’ve heard many type of versions of El Cóndor Pasa. It’s a song that you’ll hear inside of restaurants and also cafes, in the roadways, and also on the radio. The song is so well-known in Peru that a lot of take into consideration it to be the country’s unofficial second national anthem.

Who composed El Cóndor Pasa?

Daniel Alomía Robles composed the song as an orchestral play well-known as zarzuela. The play was percreated hundreds of times throughout the 20th century. The Peruvian zarzuela itself isn’t rooted within an Andean legacy, however quite in the European legacy. In spite of this, the origins of El Cóndor Pasa are anything but European. Before he created this song,Alomía Robles spent many years traveling approximately Peru and also experimenting distinct musical styles from the many kind of regions of the country.

As an ethnomusicologist, Alomía Robles learned about Peru’s wealthy folkloric legacies and also realized that traditional Andean musical styles worked via a pentatonic range. He regularly publimelted his findings in academic write-ups about traditional music of the Americas. Only after spending many type of years traveling across Peru did he create El Cóndor Pasa.

Andean rhythms in El Cóndor Pasa

Upon closer inspection, the song has numerous facets of typical Andean as well as European styles. Below are a pair.

(Photo: Flickr)


The harawi is a musical style identified by sad and also slow melodies. It’s likewise a traditional Andean way of storytelling and poetry, frequently current in songs about loss and longing, including songs played at funerals. The influence of the harawi is strongly existing in El Cóndor Pasa. The slow dvery own tempo rhythm is very evident in the time of the opening phase of the song, which traditionally starts through the sounds of flutes or pan pipes that are played in a minor essential. Here is an instance of a traditional Andean harawi. This certain song is devoted to longing and also love.


The huayno is among the most basic musical styles of Peru. A huayno song is commonly written of one solid beat, adhered to by 2 weak beats. Tbelow is also typically a singer that sings high-pitched vocals. Usual huayno instruments encompass the quena, harp, accordion, violin, and also guitar.Its beginnings stretch to the early american period, yet it roots go much deeper than that. Here is an instance of a typical huayno.

El Cóndor Pasa is about mining exploitation, loss and also hope

(Photo: Google maps)

According to writer Manuel Orbegozo, the original zarzuela of El Cóndor Pasa speaks of a group of Andean miners exploited by their boss. A cóndor, that watches them from over, becomes a symbol of freedom. Many kind of believe that Alomía Roble was inspired after visiting miners who were working in unimaginable brutal conditions in Cerro de Pasco, the almost totally abandoned and also depleted mining mecca.

Noteworthy versions of the song

Los Incas

The team Los Incas (initially named Urubamba), started by Argentine musician Jorge Milchberg in France, is known for being the first to take El Cóndor Pasa to other countries. By the time the team started playing the song (1960s), they were unaware the original writer of the song was still alive, and also were under the impression that the song had actually been handed dvery own for many type of generations throughout the Andes. Listen to their variation here.

Simon & Garfunkel cover El Cóndor Pasa

Other versions of The Cóndor Pasa

The famed Peruvian Charango musician Jaime Torres spanned the song, listen here.

Leo Rojas mixes electronic rhythms via pan pipes to offer a distinctive and highly well-known variation of El Cóndor Pasa, listen here.

For a contemporary dance interpretation of the song, listen to this variation.

Cover photo:

This post has actually been updated from its original variation publiburned on December 10, 2018.



We carry out safe and also superior experiences approximately Peru, partnering through knowledgable and passionate local tour guides! Due to the fact that 2003, we have led the method as an authoritative and also reputable English-language reresource and also travel company for those interested in traveling to Peru.

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Traveling & Living in Peru We carry out safe and also superior experiences approximately Peru, partnering through knowledgable and passionate local tour guides! Since 2003, we have actually led the means as an authoritative and reputable English-language resource and also travel agency for those interested in traveling to Peru.