Thursday, February 12, Peruvian folklore legend, Máximo Damián, passed away at the age of 79 years.
Born in south-central Peru’s Ayacucho region, Damián was part of a cultural circle that included notable Peruvian writer and poet José María Arguedas. Proving their mutual respect for one another, the two figures had dedicated work to each other; Arguedas’s unfinished manuscript of “El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo” (The Fox From Up Above and the Fox From Down Below) to the violinist, and the musical composition, “Agonía” (Agony) to the author.
An inspirational literary figure and creator of his own language, one that blended both Quechua and Spanish, Arguedas requested that Damián play at his funeral, a wish that the then 33-year old musician fulfilled upon his friend’s death in 1969.
According to El Comercio’s Huellas Digitales, Damián counted Quechua as his native language and never mastered the Spanish language. Using his “long, musical fingers which jumped as much as his heart,” Damián was able to speak of something greater than words.