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OAS recognizes Peruvian guitar "maestro"

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 - 02:27

The Organization of American States held a special ceremony this week to honor Peruvian guitar ''maestro'', Manuel Prado Alarcon and award him the title, ''Composer of America''. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Peruvian guitarist Manuel Prado Alarcon was the first Andean musician to be officially recognized by the Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday (December 7). Performing a "concert for human rights" at the international body's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Prado was recognised with an award for his 45-year career as an artist and his commitment to spreading Andean and culture throughout the western hemisphere. Prado, better known by his artist name Manuelcha Prado, is a guitarist, singer and troubadour of traditional South American music who has been called a "maestro of the Peruvian guitar." His music often incorporates sounds of nature and he has long advocated for the preservation of indigenous languages of the region such as Quechua. "Andean music is music that arises from the Earth, that springs from nature, from the mountains. It is Quechua music, which we inherited from the Tahuantinsuyo (the Inca Empire), the Tahuantinsuyo culture, which lives on until today, " Prado told Reuters. The recital was organised by the Peruvian and Spanish missions to the OAS as part of a week-long series of events commemorating human rights in the Americas. Manuelcha is a native of the Ayacucho region of southern Peru, one of the regions hit hardest by the internal violence during the 1980's and '90s. It was the birthplace of the Maoist guerrilla movement Sendero Luminoso, or "Shining Path" in Spanish, which launched a war to overthrow the Peruvian government in 1980. The insurgency's efforts to topple the state has claimed an estimated 69,000 lives. In a ceremony before the performance, OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro presented Manuelcha with an award for his commitment to disseminating Andean culture in the region. "Manuelcha, whoever listens to the chords of his guitar can feel in their heart and soul the original peoples of our America. Thank you for giving us your music through the experiences of the peoples of the Andean mountains," Secretary Almagro told members of the audience. The OAS has honoured other Latin American artists in the past. Last year the OAS gave Peruvian composer José Escajadillo Farro the title of "Composer of America" in honour of his decades of work with the musica Criolla genre. This is the first time that the OAS has officially acknowledged an indigenous artist from Southern America's Andean mountain range. "Our work is meant, above all, for the Peruvian people, for the Andean people, the Quechua people. And if we can bring our work to another latitude, as we are in this moment, we also do that, so that other cultures can know our work and feel our people," said Prado. Human Rights Day falls on December 10, the date in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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OAS recognizes Peruvian guitar "maestro"

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 - 02:27