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Loyola has been active as a musician and musical ethnographer/anthropologist for many decades. She has published a large body of work dealing with musical styles, folk music and customs of all Chilean regions as well as other South American countries. She has also taught music.
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Loyola studied piano with Rosita Renard and Elisa Gayán at the National Conservatory of Music of Chile, and song with Blanca Hauser. In 1952 she immersed herself on the research and learning of some typical Peruvian dances and musical forms, the "marinera" and the "resbalosa". This allowed her to study the origins of these dances and to characterize the similitudes between the Peruvian versions and the Chilean ones ("resfalosa" and "cueca"). Subsequently, she worked with Porfirio Vásquez, the patriarch of black music in Peru, and then, she went on to study the indigenous culture of Peru, with José Maria Arguedas.
Later on, Loyola studied Argentine and Uruguayan traditional and folk music, with Carlos Vega and Lauro Ayestarán, respectively. In 1952, she began her celebrated research on the ceremonial dances of the Chilean north, with Rogelia Perez and other musicians and groups. Loyola has researched the folklore and traditional musical styles of all the regions of Chile as well as Easter Island (a Chilean province, located in the south Pacific Ocean). She has compiled and published a great deal of valuable material obtained from her scholarly research and is regarded as an artist and researcher of great authority. Among the art expressions she has researched about there have been some which were virtually rescued from oblivion and extinction by her work.
Legacy and recognition
Loyola created Chile's first traditional music and dance group, The Conjunto de Alumnos de Margot Loyola (Student Group of Margot Loyola), through which she effectively became an unofficial ambassadress of the Chilean culture.
In 1972, Loyola became a Professor of the University of Chile, and in 1998 she was made a Professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Valparaíso. She was awarded the coveted (Chilean) National Prize of Art (mention in Music) in 1994 and the "Premio a lo Chileno" in 2001.
Loyola's activities have resulted in several books, videos, LPs, cassettes and CDs.
- "Bailes de tierra" (Earth dances), (1980)
- "El Cachimbo", (1994).
- "Danzas tradicionales de Chile" (Traditional dances of Chile), (1994)
- "La Zamacueca" (1999)
- "Los del Estribo: Cantos y Danzas Populares de Chile", (2001)