Renata Flores Rivera is paving the way for a new generation of Quechua-speaking artists, creating empowered pop music that pays tribute to her Andean culture.
At the age of 14, Renata Flores became a pop music Quechua-singing sensation. Born in Ayacucho, the young teen never imagined that a YouTube video of her singing “The way you make me feel” by Michael Jackson, in Quechua, would reach more than one million views.
Since then, the young artist has produced multiple Quechua covers of popular songs, including Roxanne by The Police, and participated in the Peruvian version of the reality show The Voice Kids.
Renata also creates her own music, fusing traditional Andean instruments with contemporary pop and urban beats. She released her first single, Qawachkanchik chay Killallat (Looking at the same moon), on International Women’s Day in 2008.
“I sing in Quechua as a voice of alert, since the language is getting lost. Children and young people are ashamed to talk about it, they think that only the poor of the Andes speak it,” said Flores, according to El Comercio. Out of Peru’s total 30 million inhabitants, 3.6 million speak Quechua and most of them reside in the Peruvian Andes.
In 2018 she released another single, Tijeras, a Quechua trap song that rallies women of all ages to speak out against the impunity of feminicides and violence against women.
According to a recent profile in The New York Times, Renata’s first full-length album, Isqun, (meaning nine in Quechua), is set to be released this year. The nine songs will speak of the women’s experiences throughout time in Peru, including the Spanish conquest.
For now, she is using her YouTube page to teach Quechua by translating popular songs like I Like It by Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny.
Cover photo: Renata Flores Rivera Facebook Page
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