Festejo (from Spanish 'fiesta') is a festive form of Afro-Peruvian music. The dance is a staple in the Black coastal populations and it celebrates the emancipation of slaves. Festejo is recognized for its high energy and the improvisation carried out by the dancers. Some believe that its origins trace back to competitive dance circles performed by individuals playing cajóns. Despite its African origins, people of all different backgrounds participate in the dance that many regards as one of the greatest representations of Peruvian culture.
Festejo was created by African individuals brought to Peru from Congo, Angola, and Mozambique in the XVII century by Spanish conquistadores to perform agricultural work, although their true intention was to send them to work in mines due to the steady physical condition they had.
Nonetheless, they could not handle the cold weather of the Peruvian highlands, and Spaniards took them to the coast for agricultural and domestic labors. For that reason, their songs narrate their customs, happiness, pains, and suffering.
- Heidi Carolyn Feldman (2006). Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific. Wesleyan University Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-8195-6814-4.
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