Atahualpa Yupanqui


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Atahualpa Yupanqui biography

Atahualpa Yupanqui (22 January 1908 - 23 May 1992) was an Argentine singer, songwriter, guitarist, and writer. Yupanqui was born Héctor Roberto Chavero Haram in Pergamino (Buenos Aires Province), in the Argentine pampas, about 200 kilometers away from Buenos Aires. His family moved to Tucumán when he was ten. In a bow to two legendary Incan kings, he adopted the stage name Atahualpa Yupanqui, which became famous the world over. In his early years, Yupanqui travelled extensively through the northwest of Argentina and the Altiplano studying the indigenous culture. He also became radicalized and joined the Communist Party of Argentina. In 1931, he took part in the failed uprising of the Kennedy brothers and was forced to seek refuge in Uruguay. He returned to Argentina in 1934. In 1935, Yupanqui paid his first visit to Buenos Aires; his compositions were growing in popularity, and he was invited to perform on the radio. Shortly thereafter, he made the acquaintance of pianist Antonieta Paula Pepin Fitzpatrick, nicknamed "Nenette", who became his lifelong companion and musical collaborator under the pseudonym "Pablo Del Cerro". Because of his Communist Party affiliation (which lasted until 1952), his work suffered from censorship during Juan Perón's presidency; he was detained and incarcerated several times. He left for Europe in 1949. Édith Piaf invited him to perform in Paris in June of that year. He subsequently toured extensively throughout Europe. In 1952, Yupanqui returned to Buenos Aires. He broke with the Communist Party, which made it easier for him to book radio performances. Recognition of Yupanqui's ethnographic work became widespread during the 1960s, and nueva canción artists such as Mercedes Sosa recorded his compositions and made him popular among the younger musicians, who referred to him as Don Ata. Yupanqui alternated between houses in Buenos Aires and Cerro Colorado, Córdoba province. During 1963-1964, he toured Colombia, Japan, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, and Italy. In 1967, he toured Spain, and settled in Paris. He returned regularly to Argentina, but these visits became less frequent when the military dictatorship of Jorge Videla came to power in 1976. Yupanqui died in Nimes, France in 1992 at the age of 84; he was buried in the Cerro Colorado Cementery.

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