Roberto is a Quechua Indian from the region of Sucre in Bolivia. He is a descendant of the Incas who have ruled the immense territory from Peru to Bolivia via the Ecuador and a part of Colombia between 1438 and 1532.
This atypical and idealistic personage is a fervent defender of the South American Indian culture. Renowned musician and admired in the whole country for its traditional musical group "Los Masis", he has put his popularity at the service of his people. He founded an Indian cultural center where he teaches zampoña (panpipe) to children from the surrounding areas of Sucre.
In a village located 30 miles away from the white city, he created the country’s first school teaching in Quechua to safeguard Indian traditions. From the start the Bolivian government, emanating from a white elite, was fiercely opposed to the project.
Today, thanks to his success, his school has become a model for the safeguard of Quechua heritage and language. Music gave Roberto the opportunity to travel the world to meet other indigenous cultures that are in the process of disappearing.
He tells of one experience that touched him especially, that of the Inuits of Canada for whom he played. During the representation, the Inuit community’s “ancients" started crying, moved by these South American Indians so similar to them a few years ago and who had been able to preserve their traditions. Here, alcohol and Westernization had taken their toll..
. The Quechua Indians of Bolivia, left on their own, keep living closer to their traditions. Nonetheless, they suffer from the disease of modernism and from a persistent racism coming mostly from the white population. Roberto incarnates a possible future for these people torn between two worlds, proud of his origins and defender of its wealth.
Extract from the travel dairy of the four musketeers (quatre mousquetaires) http://www.2001-odyssee.net/carnet_voyage/content/c_p12.html