Alejandra Pau reports for Pagina Siete:
The life, work and death of the composer Humberto Iporre Salinas share several coincidences close to the commemoration of November 10th.
The potosino composer Humberto Iporre Salinas.
Potosí celebrates 208 years of its Gesta Libertaria [Libertarian Deed], whose soil is evoked as a pillar of the Bolivian economy, a center of national mining. This land is also a vast cultural and artistic vein with exponents such as Humberto Iporre Salinas. The life, work and death of this author are close to the November 10 in an almost synchronized way.
Author of such emblematic works on his homeland as Mi Potosí Querido [My Dear Potosí], Chirihuayrita (Little Cold Wind). On the Boulevard, Humberto Iporre Salinas (1915-1985) composed the work that is considered the second hymn of his land … Potosino Soy [I am Potosino].
This huayño that identifies the potosinos fulfilled this week 80 years, was composed on November 7, 1938. Since then part of repertoires, civic celebrations and the longing of those who live far from their land.
On November 7, but 47 years later, the composer and concert player died due to cardiac arrest, in the same house where he composed Potosino Soy.
“It is an interesting and curious paradox in the life, work and death of the author. The same date, the same place; of this we realized many years later (…). The coincidence is greater, because he (Iporre Salinas) indicates, during an interview, that he premieres the Potosino Soy huayño, the 9 of November of 1938, in the gala party of the eve of the Libertarian Deed of the 10th of November, in the Club International; and on November 9, 1985, they were at his wake in the same room,” says the grandson of the composer, Eduardo Maldonado Iporre.
47 years after the premiere of Potosino Soy, his remains at the funeral wake were in the same place where he played that musical work for the first time. They were then transferred to Colegio Pichincha before being buried in the crypt of the Illustrious Children in the Cathedral of Potosí, located in the Plaza 10 de Noviembre.
More than 600 compositions
Iporre Salinas studied in the Franciscan school and later in the Pichincha. From a young age he stood out as a student and piano interpreter. The talent as a composer soon became evident.
Later, he would teach music to several generations of students in the schools where he studied, as he did in the Academy of Fine Arts of the Tomás Frías Autonomous University. From those spaces and others, he would form ensembles and orchestras that were the seedbed of several renowned musicians.
He developed a career so prolific that they add more than 600 compositions. For the grandson of Iporre Salinas, his grandfather had four aspects of inspiration and creation: love, education, Potosí, and an ancestral and telluric, the latter belongs to Suite India 1 and 2, whose first part is The Prayer of the Mitayo .
A time of civic fervor
Two years after the premiere of Potosino Soy, there was an uprising in the Imperial Village due to the lack of attention to several demands, including the issue of mining royalties.
The then mayor, Walter Dalence, was one of the voices raised the cry of “Potosi Federal” and also gave the red and white flag recognition as a regional symbol, as reflected in several articles of El Potosí.
The combative spirit has been the protagonist of its history, a rebellion that was crucial on November 10, 1810, when the inhabitants rose up against the Spaniards.
The homeland made song
On the Boulevard, it is the composition that describes the iconic pedestrian promenade that congregates the youth and inhabitants of the Imperial Village up to the present.
For Maldonado, Iporre’s notes are a way of painting, of telling how Potosí was in the 20th century, like Eduardo Caba, Eduardo Berdecio, Armando Palmero, Simeón Roncal, among other outstanding musicians.
The dates and November
In the present-day Potosi, the projections of the National Institute of Statistics (INE) estimate that the department of Potosí has 887 thousand inhabitants. Of which 213,719 people live in the municipality of Potosí, according to data from 2017.
Today the house of more than 300 years where the Potosian teacher and composer lived, has become a museum. There his piano, his recognitions as the Condor of the Andes, his family photos, his scores are exposed to visitors.
From there, Maldonado talks about those coincidences between November and the life of his grandfather. And this month was a starting point, musical inspiration and, if that were not enough, the end point in the existence of Iporre Salinas.
His first composition dates, according to family records, of November 14, 1929. The talented young potosino was 14 years old.
Today his remains are in the cathedral of the city of Potosí, along with those of other illustrious citizens. Crossing the street, on another sidewalk in the Plaza 10 de Noviembre is the Club Internacional, a space in which he premiered the theme that will surely sound today in many places when commemorating the Libertarian Deed.
“This work has become an emblematic song, almost like a ‘Marseillaise potosina’ (…). In 80 years, Potosino Soy has become a second hymn for Potosinos, a popular anthem that people sing with mixed feelings. Today it has become a warrior song, a song of dignity and rebellion”, concludes Maldonado.
“Potosino soy is the way to pay homage to our land in its month. I imagine that the author thought about that also at the moment of composing it, since the work was born precisely in the month of November”.
Svieta Barrios, Qolqe T’ikas director
“He was my teacher, of Gerardo Arias and Eddy Navia. In our case, the final result of that training is Savia Andina. Potosino Soy is part of our history and I think it is the homage of one of our great masters to his land.”
Óscar Castro, director of Savia Andina
The House Museum
The piano of the prolific composer and musician from Humberto Iporre Salinas. Photo: Courtesy Eduardo Maldonado / House Museum of Humberto Iporre Salinas
The composer fought during the Chaco War, a period that marked his life.
- Repository. The home of the composer and master potosino Humberto Iporre Salinas is currently a museum house, which is located on Nogales Street # 653, in the city of Potosí, and has a Facebook page.
- Activities. The space, managed by the family, has a café where various artistic and cultural activities take place.
- Investigation. Currently, the family investigates whether the work Mi Potosí Querido by Iporre Salinas was composed during the author’s participation in the Chaco War.
The streets of Potosí, which preserves heritage houses in the historic center.Photo: Pagina Siete Archive