Meet Renata Flores: 19-year-old Rap artist breathing life into 800-year-old Peruvian language

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Updated: May 14, 2020 2:42 PM

Flores was 14 when she had started singing popular songs of Michael Jackson in the Quechua language.

Renata Flores, rap artist, peru language, ancient Quechua language, Michael Jackson, quechua language, who is renata floresRenata Flores is a 19-year-old young artist and activist who sings in Quechua, the official language of the Incas

She could pass off as another 19 year old in Peru if it wasn’t for her voice. And when she combined that powerful tempo with her love for the 800-year-old Quechua language, little did she know she would be a sensation. Meet proud Peruvian, Renata Flores, the latest music sensation in her country by rapping in the ancient Quechua language. Though the second most spoken language in Peru, after Spanish, the 800 years old dialect derived from the Incas who spoke it, was slowly facing neglect.

Thankfully, a determined teenager had been doing her bit. Flores was 14 when she had started singing popular songs of Michael Jackson in the Quechua language. Before she knew she had become a symbol of the fight against racial discrimination and an internet sensation.

With that also came the “Cool” quotient to the language which, over the years was only being spoken by the older people living in the Andes. The youth which so long avoided speaking or even trying to learn it, thanks to it being considered the language of the poor, were mouthing her lyrics now.

Today when Flores gets on the stage and sings in a mix of English and Quechua, wearing the traditional chullo cap, the crowd goes berserk, especially the young. Why, most even sport the chullo, which has now become the symbol of the fight against ethnic discrimination in Peru.

Patricia Rivera Canchanya, a singer herself and mother of Renata Flores interacts with the Financial Express Online. Following are excerpts:

Can you tell more about her?

Renata Flores is a 19-year-old young artist and activist who sings in Quechua, the official language of the Incas, with the proposal of rescuing her ancient culture that covers not only her country but also a large part of Latin America. A native of Ayacucho, she became the art world presenting important themes from famous international singers in Quechua such as: The way you make me feel “by Michael Jackson” when he was your man “by Bruno Mars,” Bad Guy “by Billie Eilish, “New Rules” by DuaLipa, among others.

Today, she is part of a generation of Peruvian musicians who combine the rhythms of trap, rap and reggaeton with the sounds and language of the Andean countryside. She will soon be presenting her first album called “ISQUN” which is number nine in the Quechua language. Her music talks about female power, government corruption, war, and the politics of international pop culture.

When did she start singing?

She started singing from a very young age, and at the age of four, she was already attracted to singing using the microphone. Renata has participated in popular singing competitions such as “The voice kids” and “The Four” in Perú.

What difference is her Rapping making?

When she started writing and composing, looking for a style where she could feel comfortable, considering that her lyrics were very extensive, with so many things to say … she had to stick with rap. And her popularity grew when she dabbled with her own creations, in contemporary rhythms such as rap and trap; thus, The New York Times has named the Peruvian singer of urban genre “The queen of rap in Quechua”

How is it going to help the indigenous people of Peru?

By using it, practising, singing, reciting and speaking it, Quechua will be in use again. This is a fact. And not only it will help in rescuing a language, but also a way of life.

The Quechua language is supportive and respectful of Mother Earth and that knowledge and way of life are what we need in these times. Latinos of indigenous descent will remember and have the strength of their ancestors to be better day by day.

What are her plans for the future?

To continue making music, to teach, to help people through it, to take our mother tongue further and finally to be valued and rescued in the future; I would also like our millennial culture to reach the world through music. Well, this culture, which has long been marginalized and despised, will be admired and practised for the good of humanity.

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