This band is from Otavalo, Ecuador and is playing on a corner by the Cuenca New Cathedral.
Dressed in costume, the musicians play, sing, dance,and pose with a European tourist who wants his wife to take a photo of him playing an Andean pipe. Managers and friends sell band CDs and crafts on the sidewalk in front of the performers as they entertain.
While the group is performing, a policeman asks for the band’s permit papers, stamped and signed.
The bands leader produces their authorization,and, moments later, the cop returns papers to him and walks away, satisfied.
Winay, is energetic, surprisingly contemporary, and draws a crowd.
We all like to be entertained and when these musicians dance they look like feathered dervishes drawing circles on the sidewalk with their toes and bare feet.
The spirit that makes them dance captures us too.
The police man, like all government officials, satisfied with seeing proper paperwork in order, has moved on.
I see him, emotionless, slipping a traffic ticket under the windshield wipers of a nearby delivery van, illegally parked by the flower market.
Laws, after all, are laws.
If we don’t have laws we aren’t anything more than a bunch of savages dancing to unseen Gods under sparkling stars on dark windblown nights?