When it comes to music, dancing and playing an instrument, many foreigners and visitors to the country often associate Peruvians with loving the music their ancestors already played, all the time dancing to the sounds of pre-Colombian rhythms that are promoted in the country’s numerous festivals and of course playing either some sort of flute (pan flute or quena), a cajon, the boxy wooden percussion instrument, or a charango, the small Andean guitar. As so often these typical stereotypes are far from the truth for modern Peru.
A recent survey conducted by GfK Peru, the local subsidiary of one of the largest market research institutes in the world, revealed now which type of music Peruvians really like today, what they think about dancing and if they even play an instrument.
What kind of music do Peruvians listen to?
According to the study a little over two-thirds listen to music; 33% a lot and 35% some. But the sound of traditional Peruvian music isn’t on the top of the list.
- Overall 22% love Cumbia, a dance-oriented music genre originating on the Caribbean coasts of Colombia and Panama which today is popular throughout Latin America
- 18% prefer Salsa music, a popular dance music that is heavily influenced by Cuban and Puerto Rican sounds and combines various musical genres
- 18% like Huayno, a genre of popular Andean Music and dance originating in the Peruvian highlands
- 10% enjoy listening to romantic ballades and only 6% love rock music.
But when looking at the different regions of Peru, it is interesting to see that people in northern and eastern Peru prefer Cumbia, in central and southern Peru Huayno and only in Lima Salsa is on top.
To what kind of music do Peruvians dance?
Over half of the Peruvian population likes to dance; 23% a lot and 34 % some. And these prefer to dance to the music most Peruvian like to listen to. With 53% Cumbia is the preferred choice for those loving to dance, followed by Salsa (46%) and Huayno (30%) – by the way multiple answers were allowed.
Interesting here: only in central Peru most of the people prefer to dance to Huayno, while in Lima Salsa is once again the top choice. In northern, eastern and southern Peru however people dance to Cumbia music.
Do Peruvians play an instrument?
While most of Peruvians love to listen to music and to dance, playing an instrument isn’t on top of their list. It’s hard to believe, but only 18% play an instrument at all; 3% regularly, 9% a bit and 6% a little.
Top musical instruments for those playing are the normal guitar (32%), the quena, a traditional Andean flute (6%), drums (5%) and electric guitar (5%).
For detailed information have a look at the full GfK survey "Music preferences of Peruvians" (in Spanish).