The Band


four brothers and three sisters born to Juan de Dios and Julia in a little town in Bolivia where all the trains ran and all the children and all their parents and the parents of their parents told stories of their families that also always began with Juan de Dios and Julia.  Even today after many years, all the stories concur, and if you go to that town, all the people in all the stories remember that there were celebrations of uncountable number given by Juan de Dios and Julia, the parents who begat all who there resided.  One morning, after a celebration of uncountable number, a son picked up a charango left behind. To the amazement of his mother, he said with a twinkle in his pícaro eyes, Here is how your compadre played the charango. And he played and he played as if he had always played that armadillo-skinned guitar.



taught him some chords. And so he played even after he left his little town of Machacamarca Bolivia and went to the far eastern reaches of the earth, and others of the brothers and sisters also scattered the earth and had many adventures. One sister went west and fell in love with the chauffeur of a movie star, who took her to his home in a little-known place called Kansas City. All the brothers and sisters wanted to know what this place was, so they came to see. And they found that they loved this place, and they stayed. 



they loved this place, they also missed the sounds they left behind, so the charango-playing brother assigned them each an instrument, and blew the breath of the highlands in their lungs and in their fingers, and they played and they played as if they had always played. And they played all the sounds of all the instruments as if they had already known how to play them– the charango, the wankara, the bombo, the ronroco, the quena, the zampoña, the chuk’las—and they called themselves Wind, which was Huayra in the ancient language of the sounds.



from the bottom of the earth, they moved the lines of longitude and latitude until the lines were so enmeshed with joys and tears that they released themselves into the sky in a constellation of dreams, and they breathed new rhythms in this place of the Midwest where the lines rose and fell like fingers on a bongo, and they put them on a cassette.

They played in the city of Presidents and alongside the Queen of Cuban Brown Sugar. They played to the outstretched hand of Liberty. They delighted in the warmth of Boonville and St. Louis, Missouri, where they met a woman they had known in another life, and who helped keep their music connected in this life. They traveled in a single, teeming caravan with impossible quantities of instruments, whole dance troupes, costumes, speakers, microphones, Juan de Dios, Julia, children, grandchild, and they traveled impossible distances without stopping at all throughout the night and into the day.



and another dream took root, one they called ERV. They sang to the Virgen morena and they searched for her together, in many parts of the earth. They sang to her of regal dreams and crazy magic, on the streets and stages of the cities, and in the echoes of museums and cathedrals. They carried her instruments to the heat of concrete summers where her flutes and keyboard dried up like sweet figs, and left them voiceless in the midst of their song. They carried her lavender in their cases, and wrapped their instruments in strings of braids and book marks of her image. They were musical synthesis in motion, just as the symbol of the Virgen morena they loved, who was the synthesis of all things Hispanic throughout the centuries of the centuries of transatlantic sound, cultures that swung from the instruments like pollenating shafts of light.

From those days and those years they made CDs: Gol de America America’s Goal, De cara a la vida Looking to Life, and Dejar que el corazón Let Your Heart Show the Way, and they played and they played.



whispered change, Cachecanto was born. Two brothers blew into the breath of the highlands and listened. They heard the story of the gods who said that a man made of corn would have the heart to strike the big drums. They heard musical notes in crescendo on the path like rain and followed them in circles round and round like endless treble clefs til they came to the house of teachers next door right where they had started. They heard of a man who made 16-feet chairs and balanced the bass on his fingertips. And of a woman who photographed China who said she knew where the morning light befit. So they went together to the native grasses. And they played and they played.


You can hear them still.