Quena is the flute of the Andes, made of wood or bamboo, which was, formerly, made of bone, clay or metal. The typical quena of the Incas was twenty centimeters long, made of bone of the paw of llama. They have six straight holes on the front.
Legend has it that ...
In ancient times, the Virgins of the Sun used of the vicuna wool to weave the sacred robes and went, together, to the markets, to choose the most beautiful yarns. In one of these visits were accompanied by the daughter of a great curaca. They walked down a path that stretched, amid low hills, until reach the destination. Suddenly from above came the sound of a flute that only the daughter of curaca seemed to hear. She stopped and then, as in a dream, walked slowly to the player of the mysterious flute. He was a llama herder who, while he herded the animals, played his instrument.
They fell in love while they stared in silence ...
However, the social difference that existed between two, was a barrier to their love, and they met with difficulty - they only met when he called her with his flute playing the same song she heard the first time.
One afternoon she didn't come. In vain, the herder touched, many times, the flute, calling her.
The twilight brought the night when he, without being able to support more, went down to the village to investigate the cause of his absence. The village was celebrating and the girl he loved would marry the son of a curaca of another neighborhood, enemy of the girl's father. The fiancé arrived with an entourage and many gifts. The residents watched, admired, so much wealth, but with indifference.
When they sought her for receiving the groom, they didn't find her. She had disappeared as if swallowed by the earth. In vain, they sought her. They untill thought that the father did not want to marry her to the son of the enemy. There were threats and the people went, looking for her, even in the remotest villages without, however, achieve to find her.
Some time later, they found her dead, on the same place where she always met the llama herder. Time passed and her grave, every morning, was covered in wildflowers. One day, however, they found it desecrated.
The pastor, crazed, had taken from his remains, a leg bone, slipping away. With the bone, he made a flute that sounded sweeter than any other. And every day, at twilight, sitting before the immensity of the mountains,he played his flute, as before, calling the beloved, that he did not forget. That's why they say that the quena is so soft and melancholy, because is born of the pain of love...
(1) curaca: official of the Inca Empire, which occupied the position of magistrate, about four levels below the Sapa Inca. The Curacas were heads of the ayllus (familiar clan).