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In 1982, the countryside of northern Potosí was hit by a devastating drought. Many indigenous peasants were forced to leave their arid fields and communities and migrate in search of new livelihoods. The song below—written by Luis Rico in the rhythmic tinku style of the traditional music of the region—tells the story of one such young migrant. In the city, he resorts to begging, playing music for money, and carrying loads in the market. Like many highland peasants in this period, he travels as an agricultural settler (colonizador) to the subtropical lowlands, where land was available, but where...

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