Hector Zapana

Wind instruments of the Andes (Siku)

Hector Zapana of Richmond is master musician specializing in traditional Andean pan flutes, known as the Siku in Aymara and Quechua or the zampoña in Spanish. The art form originated in the highlands of the Andes near Lake Titicaca. The pipes were originally made of a light reed called songo that grows in the banks of Lake Titicaca. The Siku has two separate rows of pipes, open at one end and closed at the other end. One row has six and the other one seven pipes horizontally arranged with the open end at the top. They are held together by a string that goes between the pipes and around them. Since one instrument cannot play all the notes of a scale, Siku players must use an interlocking technique to play the entire melody. Therefore the Siku promotes interpersonal relationships as well as community.

Hector learned this traditional art from his grandparents and his uncles in the community of Tapoje, right next to Lake Titicaca in Puno. He started training when he was just 5 years old. According to Hector, in his community children are exposed to music and crafts at an early age,  learning by imitating the elders.

Apprenticeship Program


Through ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, Hector Zapana will train apprentice Edson Veizaga of Oakland. The lesson plan will cover basic terminology of the instrument and rhythms played with it. It will also cover different techniques, drills and breathing exercises to be able to perform different styles. The pair will also cover maintenance and repair of the instrument.


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