Music and Dance Ensemble Perú Negro Comes to Center for the Arts

Posted: December 20, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

For more than 35 years, Perú Negro has been preserving Peru’s rich African heritage. Today, they are the standard bearers of black music in Peru. In their energetic performances, festive and celebratory dances are interwoven with vibrant live music to recreate the folkloric history of their ancestors.

Perú Negro will perform at Mason’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the center’s Grand Tier III.

Founded by Ronaldo Campos de la Colina in 1969, Perú Negro seeks to preserve and revitalize the cultural traditions of music and dance of the blacks that first came to Peru as slaves in the 18th century.

The ensemble’s distinctive sound is in part a result of their unusual percussion instruments – a wooden crate, a tithing box and a donkey jaw. Historically, these were substitutes for the drums that had been banned by Spanish colonizers. The music is rounded out by melodic guitar and passionate voices, providing the perfect accompaniment for the rhythmic and passionate dancing in perfect syncopation with the percussion.

Perú Negro is currently led by Campos’s son Ronny Campos, who has expanded the ensemble from 12 family members to 30 members and has made Perú Negro a presence on the international stage.

The Lima-based music and dance ensemble has performed all over the world. Perú Negro also runs its own school and a junior troupe called Perú Negrito. They have released several albums, including “Sangre de un Don” (Heritage of a Gentleman), dedicated to founder Campos, who died in 2001; and the Latin Grammy Award-nominated “Joglorio.”

Tickets are $40, $32 and $20. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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