The masked media: Aymara Fiestas and social interaction in the Bolivian highlands

Research output: Book/Report/EssayBook


My interest in Aymara fiesta goes back to my childhood in Bolivia, watching my father take film sequences of dancers in Tiquina. The beauty of Aymara music first struck me on a trip to Sun Island when I was nine. The memories of the melodious solfa which filled the air all day and night still haunt me today. Later, when I was a teenager, Felix Mamani, a migrant from that island to La Paz, taught me how to play the panpipes and arranged for me to record a group of musicians from his island who performed at the fiesta of the general hospital, where some of them worked. During summers in Bolivia I traveled extensively to distant localities to record music with cumbersome equipment. Dr. William Carter introduced me to the anthropology of Aymara fiestas in 1961. He taught me, a novice, aspiring anthropologist, how to record the social arrangements underlying fiestas in addition to what initially met eye and ear. From November, 1964 to February, 1966, I undertook a community study of the Aymara-speaking community of Compi, funded by a Columbia University Travelling Fellowship and later by the Research Institute for the Study of Man. In the summers of 1967 and 1969 I continued studying fiestas in Compi and began research on fiestas in La Paz. I was supported by the Canada Council and, on the second field trip, by the Social Science Research Council.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages399
ISBN (Electronic)9783110829082
ISBN (Print)9027977771, 9789027977779
StatePublished - Nov 5 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


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