Pasillo, the sad music that makes one happy

You probably know that Loja is called the Music Capital of Ecuador, but do you know about the style of music that symbolizes our national spirit? The slow and melancholic pasillo has been heard throughout the country since our Revolution for Independence in the early 1800s. Even now, almost 200 years later, it is still popular and working its magic on our souls.

The famous scientist Alexander von Humboldt - who visited Loja in 1802 - noted that “Ecuadorians cheer up with sad music.” Perhaps it can be compared to the Country Western music genre in the United States, with themes often being about broken hearts (though no dogs or pickup trucks).

I think sharing a few song titles will be the quickest way to illustrate the common focus of pasillo music: One Tear, You Walked Away, A Moonlit Night, Bleeding Heart, Sad Awakening, I Know You Kill Me, Glass of Tears, Darkness, Alone and Sad, You Left, and I Can't Forget You.

Yet pasillo is more than sad love songs, and maybe most surprisingly, sometimes the style is used to write anthems to represent various cities. "Alma Lojana" is ours.

I hope you will come to enjoy my city's music. Loja offers many styles - from classical to hard rock - but our traditional pasillo is the best way to know what it is like to be a Lojano.


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