The Juvenile Orchestra of Ayora (SAIA) is a combined project of the Andean Institute of Popular Arts (IADAP) with the Federation of Popular Organizations of Ayora-Cayambe (UNOPAC). The orchestra functions since April 2001 and is composed of 106 indigenous/campesino children aged 5 - 12 years who come from 17 rural communities of Ayora.
The idea for the orchestra was born as a way to emphasize the ethnic musical patrimony of the Cayambi indigenous people through the musical education of their children.. "It's about fomenting the identity of the pueblo through the children and music," expressed Gabriel Serrano, mayor of Ayora and one of the projects promoters.
The children realize a rigorous daily routine. Participating children are picked from their communities and taken to the UNOPAC school in Ayora. After a nutritious meal, the students are sorted into different classes. Included in the curriculum are reading and music appreciation and practicing with various indigenous and traditional instruments: 18 zampoñas, 5 quenas, 5 charangos, 8 bandolines, 8 guitars, 4 tiples, 7 violins, 2 bass, Andean and Latin percussions. The instruments are complemented by a 51 member chorus.
In two years of working, the results, both artistic and social, have been beyond expectations. The local communities feel proud and are invested in the continuation of the project. The children have increased their self-esteem. The ongoing ethno-musical investigations has recuperated melodies and rhythms of the region. Similar projects are now being initiated in other regions.
The Orchestra has already realized presentations in different cities throughout Ecuador. Among the most important have been the International Festival of Sacred Music in Quito (2002), the Children's Musical Festival sponsored by the Banco Central of Ecuador in Guayaquil, the Fiestas in Riobamba, an appearance in the Church of the Compañía in Quito and of course presentations in Cayambe. This December the orchestra will play for the Presidencia de la República.
Here we present for you the title song from their first CD, "Chivilito Negro" (2002). 1000 CD's with 12 songs were distributed to the local market. Currently they are working on their second CD.
(Please see our article, "The Juvenile Orchestra of Ayora" for more information)