'El Condor Pasa' composer Jorge Milchberg dies at 93

Adaptation of song was made popular by American duo Simon and Garfunkel


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Published: Fri 26 Aug 2022, 11:29 PM

The musician and composer Jorge Milchberg, best known for his 1960s arrangement of the Andean melody El Condor Pasa, has died in Paris at the age of 93, the Argentinian embassy said Friday.

Milchberg was born in Buenos Aires in 1928 to Polish parents, and had lived in France since 1955.

He died on August 20, but his death was not announced until Friday by his family and the embassy.

A classically-trained pianist, Milchberg was also a world-renowned player of the charango, an Andean plucked-string guitar.

He was the founder of Los Incas - also known as Urubamba - an iconic Andean music group founded in the 1950s.

Los Incas arranged and recorded the 1963 classic El Condor Pasa, later popularised with English lyrics by the New York folk rock duo Simon and Garfunkel on their 1970 album Bridge over Troubled Water.

Initially, the theme of El Condor Pasa was taken from a 1913 musical play of the same name created for orchestra by Peruvian composer Daniel Alomia Robles.

The popularity of the Simon and Garfunkel adaptation contributed to the spectacular fame of El Condor Pasa, which went through countless versions, and led to a renewed interest in Latin American music.

On the Los Incas website, the group said "the process of arranging and adapting traditional music to the modern ear, which has become known as world music, was not well-known in the 1960s and 1970s."

The website said Milchberg had created "a very personal way of interpreting these traditional songs".

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