Andean Music Odyssey (Formerly World Music Odyssey)

The goal of this program is to develop the Andean indigenous values of Ayni and Ayllu – reciprocity and community – through an interactive presentation of Andean and Amazonian instruments, rhythms, and song.  Transporting the listener to the magical world of the Andes, Amado and his guest will share how musical instruments have been fundamental in human beings’ relationship to each other and to the environment, and in the well-being of our communities.

The following are a few of the musical styles from the Andes Mountains demonstrated: 

Sikuri (Sikuriada): A pan-flute ensemble typical of Peru and Bolivia.  As each siku cannot play the entire notes on the scale, the siku players use an interlocking technique to play the entire melody.  A bombo (large drum) provides the beat in the rhythm of Huayño (see below).

Huayño: From Quechua and Aymara origin, the huayño is a style of Andean music which is characterized by its rhythmic structure and dance accompaniment. It can be either melancholy or festive.  Usually danced in groups, often taking each other’s hands and dancing in a serpentine chain. The Huayño is played with instruments such as the quena or sikus/zampoña (Andean pan flutes), the charango (10-string guitar) and guitar, and bombo (large, native drum).   In different regions, trumpets, saxophones and accordions are included.  The melody of the huayño comes from the pentatonic scale and uses a binary rhythm of 2/4 (sometimes ¾).

Tarqueada:  Musical expression of the Aymara Region of Bolivia (high plains), characterized by the playing of tarqas, (wooden flutes similar to recorders) by members of the community, usually performed during festive rituals as a call to nature (call for rain, good harvest, etc).  Tarqas translates to “hoarse voice” but connotes the sound of a boy’s voice as he is going through puberty.  Also played with the percussive rhythm of the huayño.

Tinku (the Warrior Dance): The Ceremony of Tinku (meaning Encounter) dates over 1000 years old, characterized by a blood offering to the mother earth (Pachamama) during the planting season.  

Facilitated by Amado Espinoza and guest

Program length:  60 min

For ages 7+.  Max. participants:  200 +

Junkyard Orchestra Concert/Assembly

Since the dawn of time, we as a human species have felt the drive to create music and poetry.  Ancestors used the resources around them – wood, animal skin, clay, etc. to recreate sounds from nature, to create rhythms and harmonies in order to connect with each other, and to create melodies in order to express feelings and stories.

Not much has changed, except that the resources we find around us are discarded materials waiting to be reborn as a flute, whistle, guitar, even a cello!

In this interactive concert, Amado and guest(s) play tunes using instruments that Amado made from found or recycled materials.  These instruments are inspired by native instruments from around the world.

Facilitated by Amado Espinoza and guest(s)

Program length:  60 minutes or TBD

Meditative Sound Immersion

Time to Chillaxxx!  In this 45-minute meditative sound experience, Amado uses instruments from our earth’s ethno-sphere to transport the listener to the landscape of the soul.

Music is a part of our reciprocal relationship to the mother earth and to each other, our way of creating harmonious vibrations to cultivate collective consciousness, or to repair the broken threads of our spirit.  Music can be a way to bridge to Source, whatever that may be for the listener, to release trapped emotions and to calm our nervous systems.

Guided by Amado Espinoza

Program length:  45 minutes

Max. participants:  80


JUNKYARD ORCHESTRA Classroom or Small Group Workshop

Amado’s Junkyard Orchestra demonstrates how the science of music making and art can combine to help change our relationship to our Planet Earth.  As a classroom or small group workshop, participants will have fun making instruments and making music together, consequently promoting resourcefulness, self-esteem and community building!  Adults and children alike will tap into their innate ability to explore and be resourceful, just like our ancestors, the first music makers!

  1. INTRODUCTION: (15 minutes) demonstration of instruments made from recycled/found objects.
  2. ACTIVITY (Part A): (25 minutes) Students will create their own instrument. Emphasizing trial and error, focused minds, teamwork, problem solving, and balancing emotions through breath work!  Amado will provide group instruction and will help students individually.
  3. ACTIVITY (Part B): (10 minutes) Students will learn technique to play their instrument individually, and/or as a classroom ensemble.
  4. CLOSING: (10 minutes) Reflection/Questions

Facilitated by Amado Espinoza and guest

Program length:  60 minutes

For ages 10+.  Max. participants:  25

SOUND PAINTING (improvised percussion orchestra with hand signals)

Rhythm has the power to unite our heartbeats, empower our communities, and lead us through whatever battles we may choose to face.

In this dynamic and interactive workshop, participants learn to paint with sound.  It is a new and inclusive form of playing rhythmic music that weaves together a drum circle with an orchestral game of collective composition.  (To look at it in a different perspective, we connect indigenous musical wisdom to the perfect tool for classroom management). We integrate tactility and sensorial emphasis to the act of learning music, cultivating a holistic musical education, and creating dynamic musical language that doesn’t have to have lyrics to have meaning.

So much of the anxiety and depression in our youth (and adults) stem from the fact that we are disconnected with our bodies, while demanding our brains to compete in a hyper-distracted world.  This workshop is a small anti-dote to help us regain our socio-emotional health – integration and reconnection through rhythm and ancestral wisdom, specifically the Andean fundamental concepts of community (Ayllu) and reciprocity to the non-human world (Ayni).

It begins with a mindful listening exercise to promote a visceral awareness, and to demonstrate the unifying power of music.

Participants are then taught the basics of an inclusive percussive language system* developed during times of crisis and protest in Argentina in the early 2000s and that has spread throughout several other cities in Latin America and northern Europe.  It has been used by teachers of children with special-needs and by professional musicians alike.  It starts simple, combining a small repertoire of signs into phrases expressing various rhythmic ideas of different complexity.  It is a method that promotes external and internal listening, comprehension of roles, coordination, creativity, appreciation of diversity, capitalizing on mistakes, and group and personal leadership, all while deriving enormous pleasure from making music with others. Its universality makes it easy to collaborate with other individuals or groups who know this simple vocabulary.

Basic instruments are the hands and bodies of the participants.  However, participants are encouraged to bring instruments (drums, hand percussion, or any instruments they may already play)

Amado used this technique to develop the musical language of a theatrical storytelling project with UMKC’s MFA Acting and Directing program in 2018/2019. It was an unforgettable show and a great base to weave together text, dance, and story!

*Invented by Santiago Vazquez and the Bomba de Tiempo

 Facilitated by Amado Espinoza and guest

Program length:  60 min

For ages 10+.  Max. participants:  30


The way the Andean pan flute (or sikus) is played symbolically demonstrates our potential of human harmony.  Controlling the breath is to control the mind, and breathing together with interlocking melodies cultivates a non-competitive cooperation. In this workshop, participants will build their own PVC pan flutes to develop an organic relationship to their own instrument, learn proper diaphragmatic breathing and technique.  By the end of the workshop, the group will be able to play a traditional Andean melody together.  They will also learn how to score a song so they can create their own compositions.  Participants develop skills of focus, concentration, listening, precision, team building, cultural sensitivity, and more.

Facilitated by Amado Espinoza and guest

Program length:  2 hrs

For ages 14+.  Max. participants:  25