Awatiñas formed in Bolivia in 1970 to preserve and promote the Andean folk music of a tribe of native people known as the Aymara. One of the group's main activities is raising funds for the improvement of the health and education of Bolivia's children. The group's name translates as "to protect" or "to watch over" in the Aymara language.
Awatiñas consists of Miguel Condé, Mario Condé, Vidal Beltran, Eddy Beltran, Juan C. Yujra, and Roberto Yujra. The multi-instrumentalists play an assortment of percussion, wind, and string instruments, including panpipes. They have recorded five albums, and they return to their homeland for part of each year to help maintain their authentic native sound.
The group has made concert stops throughout Europe, including France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and Portugal. Two-hour performances are divided into distinct halves. The first half features native Quechua costumes and music that originated in Bolivia's more tropical regions. This style features voice along with instruments. The remainder of the show features native Aymara costumes and music known as ikollasuyu, which is more abstract and played only on traditional native instruments.
More than half of Bolivia's population is of Indian descent, divided between the Quechua and Aymara cultures. The former tribe resides in valleys and lowlands, while the latter lives on the plateau that borders Lake Titicaca.