Four-man band

by Heather Fors

Gleeful, high-pitched melodies from traditional wooden pan and samponia pipes resonated throughout Coffman Union Plaza and Northrop Mall on Tuesday afternoon.
Mixing modern sounds from guitars and amplifiers with those of pre-Hispanic Incan pipes, the songs of a four-man band called Ingapirca drew a crowd of about 30.
Casual listeners of the Ecuadorian and Chilean performers heard the sweet sounds of pipes throughout the student union. Katie Haggblom, a freshman studying biological sciences, enjoyed the music from a couch inside Coffman.
“I don’t know anything about them, I just have their CD,” she said. “They’re great.”
The band had two compact discs for sale at the performance.
The pipes piqued Haggblom’s curiosity when she first heard the band in the fall. She isn’t the only one; the sounds attract many listeners.
“It can take a year to learn, but 15 to 20 to develop the skills,” said Jorge Panchi, who has played the pipes for five years. He also studies international relations at the University.
The band spends winters in Ecuador recording in its studio. Members, who keep their headquarters in Minneapolis, tour throughout Europe and the Midwestern United States.
Money from disc sales pay for their summer travels.
Panchi said they make between $300 and $400 per hour from public institutions like the University, and between $800 and $1,000 for an hour at private institutions and parties. Last year the band played on campus a number of times. Coffman officials eventually booked them for a show.
“I thought, ‘Well, we see them all over'” said Michael Holland, chairman of Coffman’s program council performing arts committee. “Why not just book them for one of our Tuesday concerts?”
Holland, a sophomore studying economics and speech communications, said the committee tries booking a diverse collection of what students want. In the past they attracted reggae, jazz and mariachi bands.
“At the same time we try to pick performers that will reach out to the audience,” said Holland.
Ingapirca did just that. Marcia Scott said the music moved her as she walked past the Weisman Art Museum after her lunch on the West Bank.
“Normally when I hear music at Coffman I don’t stop,” said Scott, a secretary at the School of Nursing. “It makes me want to go to South America.”
Coffman Union hosts performances at noon every Tuesday.