When I go to another country, I like to have some idea of their most beloved music. Why? Because it tells me a lot about the culture. For Argentina, I listened to the tango songs of the immortal Carlos Gardel, who died in a plane crash in Colombia some eighty years ago. For Iceland, I love listening to Ólafur Arnalds. For Peru, I picked Chabuca Granda, famous for her song “La flor de la canela,”
Born Maria Isabel Granda Larco on September 3, 1920, Chabuca has a number of her songs available on YouTube:
Granda is known for the nostalgic Afro-Peruvian rhythms in her work. It is not that well known that Peru has a fairly substantial black population, especially in the south, from which Chabuca hailed.
To honor her, the Peruvians have set up a large entertainment space called the Alameda Chabuca Granda along the Rimac River and directly behind the Government Palace. She also has a park dedicated to her in the Barranca neighborhood in which she lived.