Los Kjarkas is one of the most influential bands in the Andes Mountians region. In addition to recording twenty-three albums over three decades, the Bolivia-based group has played a major role in the development of educational centers for instruction in Andean folk music. In 1993, they founded the "Musical School of Kjarkas" in Lima, Peru. The following year, they founded a similar school, "La Fundacion Kjarkas" in Ecuador. The mainstay of Kjarkas remains songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Gonzalo Hermosa Gonzalez, who formed the band with his brothers Elmer (lead vocals) and Ulises, Gaston Guardia Bilboa (wind instruments, vocals) and Ramino De La Serna. Shortly after De La Serna left the group, in 1992, Ulises Hermosa Gonzalez succumbed to cancer. As of 1999, the band featured Gonzalo and Elmer Hermosa Gonzalez, Gaston Guardia Bilboa, Eduardo Yanez Loayza (guitar, vocals), Jose Luis Morales Rodriguez (charango, vocals) and Rolando Malpartida Porcel (percussion, strings and vocals). After working their way around Bolivia, L'Kjarkas performed in Brazil in 1975 as representatives of their homeland in the first Folklore and Dance Festival. In the quarter of a century since, the group has performed in South America, the United States, Europe, Japan and Scandanavia. In 1987, Kjarkas was invited to compete in the tenth festival of World Popular Song in Tokyo.
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