Boomkat Product Review:
'A Change of Mourning' is a rare recording of a Peruvian death ritual made by Hánkel Bellido a year after the death of his grandmother. It's a haunting and resonant recording that somehow isn't melancholy, fusing Christian and Andean traditional forms with singing, church bells, harp and fiddle.
On February 5, 2020, in the Ayacucho region of the Central-South Sierra of Peru, a ritual was held for Sofía Miranda de Bellido who had died a year earlier. After the coffin was presented at noon, and her relatives had offered their final goodbyes, a series of songs celebrating her life were sung. All morning, bells were rung to let the locals know what was happening, and at midnight the unique Andean Almakunapaq mass was sung to help the dead pass into the next world.
At 4AM, the mood shifted and friends and family introduced harp and violin players to bring the event into the next day with a joyful mood. All this was documented by Hánkel Bellido and presented here - and while it might seem somewhat voyeuristic to listen in on such a personal ritual, it feels best to know the full story and have it shared by family than hear something recorded surreptitiously. "A Change of Mourning" is a privilege to behold, and a crucial documentation of a funeral process that is far removed from our rituals in the Western world.