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El Cóndor Pasa ("The Condor Goes by") is a Peruvian zarzuela, or musical play, and its more famous title song El Cóndor Pasa.
In 2004 the piece was declared Patrimonio cultural de la Nación, an official part of Peru's cultural heritage. The music was composed in 1913 by Daniel Alomía Robles and the libretto by Julio Baudouin under the pseudonym Julio de La Paz. It was published in 1933.
The story is set in a mine in Cerro de Pasco, and deals with a tragic conflict between Indians and "Sajones" (Saxons), their European bosses. The exploitative Mr. King, owner of the mine, is killed by Higinio, but is soon replaced by another owner, Mr. Cup, and the fight continues. The condor of the title symbolises the ideal of freedom.
The song appears in the finale. Originally it was wordless. The tune is a cashua, a kind of Andean dance similar to a huayno. It was inspired by traditional Andean songs.
The words are in Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire, which is still spoken by the indigenous people of Peru. The singer calls on the mighty condor of the Andes to take him back to the old Inca kingdom of Machu Picchu.
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