October in Lima begins with processions and ends with Creole serenades. Although Halloween is celebrated as well (on a lesser scale), for Peru, Oct 31st is the Day of the Creole Song. This year will mark the 70th Día de la Canción Criolla, a day honoring the African, Spanish, and Andean rhythms that came to define Peruvian music during the colonial period. Spanish guitar, the Peruvian cajón, and castanets come together in Peru’s national dance, the graceful Marinera, the bluesy Landó, festive Festejo, and the creole waltz known as the Vals Criolla. Many of you have probably heard of the three superstars of música criolla in Perú, all of whom won strong international followings: Susana Baca, Eva Ayllon, and Chabuca Granda. Read on for our suggestions on how to celebrate the day for different budgets….
Even if you’re low on dough, you can pay homage to one of the founding greats, Chabuca Granda, by visiting the Bridge of Sighs in the artsy enclave of Barranco (the colorful seaside district right next to Miraflores). She made this spot famous in one of her songs. In fact, she is so associated with this area that, crossing the bridge and heading towards the statue of her in the Parra del Riego Plaza (by the chapel stairs and the gardens), you will find many street musicians- some in Chabuca drag- eager to play you one of her songs in exchange for some small change. This is a great (and cheap!) plan because it gives you an excuse to explore Barranco, a must-see.
When Limeños want to enjoy Afro-Peruvian Creole cooking and live music, they head to the peñas. For the occasion, most have special lineups with big-name performers and drinks. Some of the biggest are De Rompe y Raja and Peña El Carajo, although you might find these more popular peñas rather packed, so make sure to check around for backups. If you’d like to visit a traditional peña while in Lima, on any day, try one of the city tours with folkloric shows which Pirwa Travel Service offers.
If you’re looking to splurge and really get into the spirit, you can spend Criollo night Grammy-nominated Eva Ayllon at the Teatro Peruano Japonés. Internationally, she’s Peru’s most famous singer, and for the occasion will be presenting a show called “Memorias con Sabor”, presenting a history of Peruvian Creole music. Tickets available at Wong & Metro, from 65-180 soles.
Many travelers treat Lima as a mere transit point en route to hotspots such as Cusco or Arequipa, and yet Peru’s capital is currently enjoying a rennaisance. It’s home to a rising culinary scene (earning the nickname of Gastronomic Capital of the Americas) as well as the best museums in Peru for learning about the country’s many pre-Columbian cultures. Both of Pirwa’s Lima hostels, Pirwa Inclan B&B and Pirwa Prada Hostel are in the relaxed seaside district of Miraflores, the most popular neighborhood for travelers to stay in. Its green cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean are perfect for tandem paragliding, and you can take surfing lessons along the beaches. Miraflores even boasts a pre-Incan pyramid temple in the midst of its modern buildings, Huaca Pucllana. Make sure to browse our site and blog to learn all about what Lima has to offer!