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1950 1960 1970 1980 1990


June 4th. Poet by vocation, folklorist by tradition and journalist by profession, as well as television presenter and radio broadcaster, Nicomedes Santa Cruz Gamarra was born in Lima at 435 Sebastián Barranca Street, in the district of Nuestra Señora de las Victorias, popularly known as La Victoria. He is the ninth of ten siblings (Rosalina, 1908; Pedro, 1909; César, 1911; Fernando, 1914; Octavio, 1916; Jorge, 1918; Consuelo, 1920; Victoria, 1922 and Rafael, 1928). His parents are the playwright Nicomedes Santa Cruz Aparicio (1871) and Victoria Gamarra Ramírez (1887), daughter of the famous painter José Milagros Gamarra, last composer of zamacuecas of the XIX century and of Benita Ramírez Olivares, exceptional zamacueca dancer.

In 2006, the Peruvian Government declared this date “Afro-Peruvian Culture Day”' (law 28761).

In 2014, the Ministry of Culture declared June as the Month of Afro-Peruvian Culture.  

June 20: Broadcasting begins in Peru. The official inauguration of the station was attended by the then president of the Republic, Augusto B. Leguía.


Part of his early schooling was at the Sebastián Barranca public school.

April 16: José Carlos Mariátegui (1894) dies.


August 27: President Leguía is overthrown in a coup d'état by commander Luis Sánchez Cerro.



His family moved house because his father was appointed chief mechanic at Hacienda Lobatón, in Lima (now Lince area).


He was enrolled in the José Gálvez Fiscal School. In Nicomedes' words: "Our schools (his sister Victoria's and his) were only three blocks away in the same neighborhood of Lince (C.E. 458 and C.E. 459, for men and women respectively); because of such proximity, when there was a theatrical evening at their school, we would go to 'agüeitar'.

April 30: President Sánchez Cerro is assassinated by an Aprista supporter. For the second time Oscar Benavides becomes Provisional President of Peru.


End of the Colombian-Peruvian War.

Nicomedes talks about his mother and why he chose to compose ‘décimas’



After finishing his 5th year of Elementary School, his mother takes him to master locksmith Nicanor Zúñiga so that he can learn the craft. This is where he will start learning blacksmithing.


July: The Spanish Civil War breaks out.


His father, Nicomedes Santa Cruz Aparicio, is founding partner of the Northamerican Peruvian Institute of Lima.

April 15: César Vallejo (1892) dies.




His family moves to 651 Jirón Pastaza Street, in the District of Breña.

November. Nicolás Guillén begins a tour of South America that, among other countries, will take him to Peru.

At the end of the forties Nicomedes meets don Porfirio Vásquez (1902), decimist and folklorist. Thanks to this encounter he took up the tradition he had heard from his mother. In these past years he had composed silvas, sonnets and formal verses that did not satisfy him. However, Nicomedes had previously met his son Abelardo (1929, fourth of seven siblings). "I met Abelardo long before I met don Porfirio (patriarch of black folklore and head of the clan). It was at the beginning of the decade of the forties, for those things of soccer. I was playing for a Lince team and Abelardito was already in the youth team of Deportivo Municipal, whose coach was 'Caricho' Guzmán, but our meeting was in the field of the Oratorio Salesiano de Breña".

Nicomedes talks about Porfirio



March 23rd. His brother Rafael (1928 - 1991) made his début as a bullfighter in the arena of the Plaza de Acho bullring, Lima




Nicomedes has become a master blacksmith and hires his own assistant. He writes his poems on the back of the plans he will use to forge grills.

Apartheid takes legal form in South Africa


October: The Aprista revolution takes place, where the Peruvian Navy also rebels. As a result, President Bustamante bans the APRA for the second time.

October: General Manuel Odria carries out a coup d'état and overthrows President Bustamante.

March 27th. His brother Rafael becomes a fully fledged bullfighter in the Plaza de Acho bullring. At that period, he was the most popular of all Santa Cruz siblings.
"My first décimas date back to mid-1949". Foreword to the book 'Antología', 1971.
February. His brother Rafael leaves for Spain recruited by the Dominguín brothers. 



Nicomedes and Victoria attend the performance that the Afro-American dancer, choreographer and director Katherine Dunham (1909 - 2006) offers at the Municipal Theater of Lima.

June 3rd. Rafael is severely gored by a bull in the arena of the Plaza de Carabanchel (Madrid, Spain).

Décima to Rafael Santa Cruz





December 16th. He sets up his own blacksmith workshop next to his home, on Jirón Pastaza : BLACKSMITH AND LOCKSMITH SANTA CRUZ.



April 25th. He leaves his brothers in charge of the workshop and travels through Peru reciting his poetry, a moment he would describe as “in search of his destiny”.


June 7th. The 'Pancho Fierro' Company, directed by Dr. José Durand Flórez (1925-1990) takes to the stage the first serious proposal to show Negroid folklore with the show 'Estampas de Pancho Fierro'. Possibly to ensure box office in view of the novelty of the proposal, it counted with the special participation of Chabuca Granda, who soon after, in view of the excellent response obtained, declined to continue participating (the following year Durand would pay her a well-deserved tribute in the Plaza de Acho).

November. He lives in the 'Los Órganos' Camp (E.P.F) in the province of Talara. The Province had been created by Law on March 16 of the same year. The Empresa Petrolera Fiscal, E.P.F, owned by the Peruvian State, was created in 1948.


June: Second government of Manuel Prado Ugarteche. Women vote for the first time in general elections in Peru.





January 17th. Nicomedes participates in the tribute show to Chabuca Granda at the arena of the Plaza de Acho; even though he is not part of the cast yet, he performs along with the Company 'Pancho Fierro'. Although it is clear that Nicomedes has already some experience in artistic circuits, this event can be considered as his professional beginning.

May 11th. Nicomedes joins the company of Dr. José Durand making his debut at the Teatro Municipal of Lima. After several performances in the Plaza de Acho and different theaters, they go to the Teatro Municipal of Arequipa where they perform on two occasions (May 31st and June 1st).

June. Dr. Durand’s Company, ‘Pancho Fierro’, changes its name to ‘Ritmo Negro del Perú’ and travels to Chile. They offer four performances at the Teatro Municipal of Santiago (12th, 13th, 14th and 15th), three performances on Radio Corporación (15th, Nicomedes’ radio debut; 16th and 17th) and two final performances at the Caupolicán on June 18th and 19th. The company is dissolved once they return home. (For more information on Nicomedes and José Durand see Biography 1925-1960).


July 9th. His father, Nicomedes Santa Cruz Aparicio, dies (1871).

July 18th. First performance with the ensemble 'Fiesta Criolla'.

October. The album 'Gente Morena' is released, edited by Odeón. On side A, there are glosses and Nicomedes’ décimas; on side B, he participates with other artists in the cuts 'Serenata criolla' and 'Números musicales'.

November. Every Sunday, Augusto Ferrando broadcasts the horse races. Between one race and another, in addition to his comments, he entertains the audience with jokes and anecdotes. When Nicomedes joins this radio show, he delights the audience and this fact will constitute a great boost to his growing popularity. They talk and joke about various and amusing topics, seasoned with new décimas.This collaboration will last until December of the following year.

September 4: Defying racial segregation laws in schools, a group of 9 African-American students went to class at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock (Arkansas) and were detained by the National Guard.


He leaves the ensemble 'Fiesta Criolla'. He occasionally collaborates  with guitarist Carlos Hayre.

Testimony of Carlos Hayre (this is the photo discussed in the audio). Fred Rohner interview excerpt.

June 1st. He publishes his first journalistic work, 'Ensayo sobre la Marinera', in the Sunday Supplement of the newspaper 'El Comercio'.  View Archive/1958.


June 5th. Sebastián Salazar Bondy publishes 'Nicomedes Santa Cruz, poeta natural'. View Archive/1958.   

Nicomedes talks about his first journalistic work

Nicomedes talks about Sebastián Salazar Bondy

June. He makes a radio show called 'Romancero de las calles de Lima'. According to the contract: ‘Nicomedes' role is to recite or narrate texts about the streets of Lima, in addition to writing the verses of these texts. Each text will not exceed five minutes and will constitute itself a microprogram. These programs will be previously recorded on tape and broadcast in sets of two per day. He will work here for three months from June 2nd to September 2nd’.

July 26th. He participates in the first commercial program of Peruvian television on Channel 7.


He is invited by the students of the University of San Marcos to give talks about the Décima in Latin America.


In the middle of the year, he creates the ensemble 'Cumanana'. View Production/Conjunto Cumanana.  


August-October. The Santa Cruz Gamarra family donates the metal structure which is part of the mausoleum of the Peruvian composer Felipe Pinglo. In the project, Nicomedes is helped by his brothers Fernando (who is already in charge of Nicomedes’ workshop), Pedro (who has the original idea) and César, as well as his nephew Octavio Santa Cruz Urquieta and the artisan Miguel Arista del Águila.

Octavio Santa Cruz - 2023
00:00 / 04:24

Testimony by Octavio Santa Cruz Urquieta

December 10. Perricholi Theater. '10th Anniversary of Radio Excelsior. Nicomedes Santa Cruz y su Conjunto Espectáculo Cumanana'. Debut of the group. 


March 17th. He signs a contract with the record label ‘El Virrey’ where he will record the album 'Nicomedes Santa Cruz y su Conjunto Kumanana’.

From March 24 to April 13 he recorded the album 'Nicomedes Santa Cruz y su Conjunto Kumanana'.


April 29th. His mother, Victoria Gamarra Ramírez (1887), whom he loved so much, dies. This loss will be devastating for him, so much so that, as can be seen in the Production/Performances section of this website, he does not perform during the whole month of May.


AThe album 'Nicomedes Santa Cruz y su Conjunto Kumanana' is released, edited by the record label ‘El Virrey'. In these early years, it is common to see Kumanana or Cumanana written indistinctly.


The book 'Décimas' is published in Lima by Librería-Editorial Juan Mejía Baca. Of 22 pages, it is promotional, not commercial.


At the end of the year, he began collaborating with his sister Victoria Santa Cruz (1922 - 2014). Testimony of Octavio Santa Cruz Urquieta, excerpt from conversation in 2018. Youtube channel of Heidi Feldman.

January 1st. Triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

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1950 1970 1980 1990



Nicomedes y el actor Luis Álvarez, años sesenta

March 4th.The publishing house Juan Mejía Baca purchases the rights of ‘Décimas’ in order to print a popular edition during one year. In the case there is demand for it, they commit to print a maximum of twenty thousand copies in successive print runs. Although they share the same title, this book and the preceding one are completely different both in content and length.

March 13th. The bookstore-publishing house Juan Mejía Baca releases the commercial edition of the book 'Décimas'. 


March 13, Victoria and Nicomedes, directors of the Cumanana Company, premiere at the 'La Cabaña' Theater a show that includes the works: 'Callejón de un solo caño', an original comedy by both brothers; 'Academia folklórica', a comic play by Victoria and 'Zanahary', a choreographic ritual by Victoria. Performances at 19:00 and 22:00. Set design by Odile Marley.


The company ‘El Virrey’ release the albums 'Ingá' and 'Décimas y Poemas Afroperuanos'.

July 10th. His brother Pedro (1909) dies. Nicomedes defined him as ‘A Black Monument’.

May 21: Sharpeville Massacre (South Africa). Nicomedes composes the poem "South Africa".

In this year, 17 African nations gained their independence.





Nicomedes, Juan Mejía Baca and Pablo de Madalengoitia, 1960s


April 14th. Together with Victoria, they premiere at the Teatro Principal Manuel A. Segura, the drama in three acts 'Malató', original by Victoria (in which the author includes some verses and prints of Nicomedes).

May 23rd. Panamericana. Channel 13 TV. FESTIVAL DE LA CANCIÓN CRIOLLA: HOMAGE TO VICTORIA AND NICOMEDES SANTA CRUZ. Award 'Guitarra de Plata' for folkloric work and for the vals ‘Callejón de un solo caño’.

July 2nd. The 6th National Population Census as well as the first Housing and Agricultural Census are carried out according to Law number 13248 (Law on census). Nicomedes is a collaborator and asks for citizen participation by adapting the décima 'Indio' and turning it into 'Indio, mil veces peruano' (published in June 11th).

August 26th. Juan Antonio Encinas, director of the ‘Expreso’ newspaper, confirms the agreement between Nicomedes and the paper.

October 24. Date of foundation of the newspaper Expreso by Manuel Mujica Gallo.

October 26. First décima in the newspaper Expreso. "A mis lectores". View Archive/1961.    

Nicomedes talks about the Expreso newspaper

He ventured into politics through the "Movimiento Social Progresista" (Progressive Social Movement), which he did not join. He left the project the following year. 

January 17th. Patricio Lumumba (1925), Congolese anticolonialist and nationalist leader, is murdered. The poem 'Congo Libre' is dedicated to him.

April: Invasion of Bahía Cochinos (Cuba), also known as  Playa Giron invasion or the Battle of Giron.



On March 24, 1962, the fight between the fighters Benny Kid Paret (1937) and Emile Griffith (1938) ended with the death of the former. This event will inspire the poem "Death in the ring". See Newspaper library year 1962, View Archive/1962.    

Nicomedes focuses on journalism and the Company Cumanena stops its performances.


His brother Rafael retires from bullfighting and moves to Spain.

November. His sister Victoria leaves for Europe under a scholarship at the Théâtre des Nations in Paris.

January 10: An avalanche wipes off the map the villages of Ranrahirca, Shacsha, Huarascucho, Yanama Chico, Matacoto, Chuquibamba, Caya, Encayor, Armapampa and Uchucoto. About 2,900 inhabitants disappeared. Nicomedes composes the tenth "Ranrahirca".

May 6: Martin de Porres is canonized by Pope John XXIII. He publishes in the newspaper Expreso the tenth "Porras o Porres".

July 18: President Prado is deposed by a military coup d'état. Brief military junta presided over by General Ricardo Pérez Godoy.

Nelson Mandela is arrested and charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment during the Rivonia Trial.


October: The Cuban Missile Crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union brings the world to the brink of nuclear war..




January 27th. Colombia. He visits the Feria of Manizales celebrated from 18th to 30th of January. He performs on the radio show ‘La Voz del Ruíz’ on Caracol Tv Channel. On the 23rd, he composes the décima 'La Feria de Manizales' published in the Expreso newspaper on January 30th.

February 16th. He recites the décima 'Basket-ball' at the National Stadium during the inauguration of the South American Basketball Championship.

June 7th. He travels to Brasil. During his stay in this country, a fundamental experience in his life, he writes some of his most important poems: 'América Latina', 'Formigas pretas', '¡Ay mama!. 





Nicomedes in TV Rio. Brasil



August 6. He returns to Peru.


He regroups the ensemble Cumanana and resumes rehearsals.

March. General Pérez Godoy is ousted from the government by General Nicolás Lindley. Fernando Belaúnde Terry assumes the presidency of Peru in elections held months later.


June 3: John XXIII dies and is succeeded by Paul VI. Nicomedes composes the poem "Consummatum est...".


November 22: Assassination of John F. Kennedy.




Nicomedes and the Ascuez Brothers, 1960s


Libería-Editorial Juan Mejía Baca publishes the book 'Cumanana' with a print run of ten thousand copies. In this year a book and an album with the same name are published. 

September. The record 'Octubre mes Morado' is released by ‘Virrey’.

December. Under the Philips label, the first edition of the record anthology 'Cumanana' appears in Lima. It is the first time in the history of the Peruvian recording industry that a work with national themes is edited in the luxurious format of European operas or symphonies (fine cardboard box, two long-play, color explanatory booklet). Together with the album Socabón, which will appear years later, these are the two pillars on which his recording production is based. See Production/Discs. See Newspaper library year 1965. View Production/Records  View Archive/1965       


May 24: More than 300 people die in the incidents that occurred during the Peru-Argentina match at the National Stadium in Lima. Nicomedes composes the poem "Sin rencor".


August: U.S. begins open intervention in Vietnam.


December: 58 miners died in the coal mining unit Goyllarisquizga (Cerro de Pasco - Peru). Nicomedes composes the tenth "Nochemala".



At the beginning of the year, the record ‘Cumanana’ is released, under a first limited edition and with non-commercial purposescial.

July 4th. Sebastián Salazar Bondy (1924) dies.

July. The album 'Cumanana', in its second edition, goes on sale to the public.

February 21: Malcolm X, a black rights activist in the United States, is assassinated in New York. 

April 28: U.S. military intervention in the Caribbean. 





This year the Studium bookstore published the books 'Décimas' and 'Canto a mi Perú' (both with 10,000 copies each).

June. He commits to participate in the 'Show de Juan Silva' of TV Channel 4 until the end of the year.





February 7. Ciro Alegría dies (1909). In the words of Nicomedes: "I think that someone who understood very well the phenomenon of the décima was Ciro Alegría, a great friend of mine. It was he who presented my second book".


From April 7th to 18th. Travels to Salta (Argentina), to participate in the 'III Festival Latinoamericano de Folklore'. In Nicomedes' words: "The Peruvian delegation was composed of two folkloric groups: 'Perú canta y baila'. Miss Rosa Elvira Figueroa and myself shared the leadership. Rosa Elvira reinforced her group with the dancers of the folklorist Mrs. Agripina Castro. I, for my part, with a cast of six people, would present coastal dances and songs of black influence".

Audio (extracto) de la actuación de Nicomedes Santa y su Conjunto Cumanana.

Número especial de la revista Folklore (pdf)

June/July. Participates in the 'Encuentro de la Canción Protesta', held in Cuba.


August. Taking advantage of a trip to Paris, he goes to Spain to visit his brother Rafael who lives there. It is when he meets Mercedes Castillo, Rafael's sister-in-law (sister of his wife Carmen).

9 de octubre: Muerte del Che Guevara en Bolivia. 


He starts his daily radio program 'Así canta mi Perú'. 

October 3rd. Coup d'état by General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1910).


September 6th. Date of the contract with FABRICANTES TECNICOS ASOCIADOS (RCA Victor's representative in Peru) for 3 years.


The album 'Canto Negro' is released by RCA Victor.


December 21st. He marries in Madrid the woman who will be his great support for the rest of his life, the spanish Mercedes Castillo González (1936). Whenever he has the opportunity, Nicomedes will refer to her as "my faithful companion"..

April 4: Assassination of Martin Luther King.

In France, the student revolts of May 68 took place.

October 2: Tlatelolco Massacre in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, México.




January 4. Recently married, he returns to Peru with his wife

March 16th. II Edition of the 'Festival Taurino Pancho Fierro', peruvian replica of the traditional spanish goyesque bullfights. While Tuco Roca Rey coordinates the bullfighting part (in which Rafael Santa Cruz, who travels from Spain for the occasion, participates), his brother Ricardo Roca Rey is responsible for the presentation of the 'Estampas de Pacho Fierro' (representation of 15 of his most outstanding watercolors that evoke traditional characters of a time in Lima). Nicomedes is in charge of the glosses and narration of the show.

September 30. His first son Pedro Nicomedes is born.



Velasco decrees the agrarian reform y Perú.


The third edition of the record album 'Cumanana' is released.


​Agosto. Charlas en el Instituto Peruano Norteamericano los días 12, 19 y 26. Audio. 



May 31: Ancash earthquake, a 7.8 earthquake, devastates and causes landslides in Yungay and Huaraz and damages in Lima, leaving about 70,000 people dead and missing. Yungay is buried by a landslide of the Huascaran. Nicomedes composes the tenth "Sobre muerte y destrucción" (On death and destruction).

3 de noviembre: Salvador Allende se convierte en el primer socialista en ser elegido presidente de Chile.





Nicomedes and Pelé

Campodónico Ediciones publishes in Lima the book 'Décimas y Poemas: Antología', with a print run of two thousand copies.


Editorial Losada (Buenos Aires, Argentina) publishes the book 'Ritmos Negros del Perú' , with a print run of three thousand copies. 

August 29th. Nicomedes directs and presents the First Black Art Festival held in Cañete (Peru) and televised by Panamericana Television on the 31st. Victoria Santa Cruz is in charge of stage direction and her nephew Octavio Santa Cruz Urquieta is in charge of sets and program design.

Comment by Octavio Santa Cruz Urquieta on the Festival



September 26. Porfirio Vásquez (1902) dies.

September. The album 'Nicomedes Santa Cruz presenta: Los Reyes del Festejo' is released.

October 5. His second son, Luis Enrique, is born






The album 'América Negra' appears, edited by FTA. Anthology of poems by various authors recited by Nicomedes. 


The book 'Rimactampu: Rimas al Rímac' is published, with a print run of 2000 copies.
His brother Rafael moves to Peru. 






February/March. Participates in the Cosquín Festival. Argentina.

Victoria Santa Cruz is appointed director of the Conjunto Nacional de Folklore (she will hold this position until 1982, when she resigns and the Conjunto is dissolved).

The album 'Nicomedes en Argentina' is released'.

June 30. Radio interview with chilean singer-songwriter Víctor Jara, for the program 'América canta así', on the occasion of the recital he will give in Lima that same day, organized by the Peruvian Institute of Culture. 

September 16. Murder of Víctor Jara (1932).


The publishing house Losada publishes 'Ritmos Negros del Perú' (2nd corrected and enlarged edition). Print run of 1500 copies.

January: Peace treaty between the United States and North Vietnam: Operation Homecoming (withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam) begins. 

September 11: General Augusto Pinochet carries out a coup d'état in Chile to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende. Days later, on the 23rd, the poet Pablo Neruda dies.  Nicomedes composes the tenths "To Salvador Allende" and "To Pablo Neruda".

Octubre: Crisis del Petróleo: la OPEP interrumpe el suministro de petróleo.




January 7 to 12. Nicomedes is contacted by the Dominican researcher Pablo Maríñez (1943) to travel, for the first time, to Africa (it will be the beginning of a close friendship) and to participate in the colloquium 'Négritude et Amérique Latine', convened by the then president of Senegal Léopold Senghor.  Dakar (Senegal). Intervened with the paper 'Contributions of African civilizations to Peruvian folklore'. Participants included Leopoldo Zea from Mexico, Angelina Pollak-Eltz from Venezuela, Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas from Bolivia, Manuel Zapata Olivella from Colombia, Pablo Mariñez from the Dominican Republic, Clóvis Moura from Brazil and Benjamín Pinto Bull from Guinea Bissau, Francisco Morales Padrón from Spain, Charles Minguet and Pierre Verger from France, and Amos Segala and Giuseppe Bellini from Italy. The meeting was presided over by the Nobel laureate in literature, the Guatemalan Miguel Ángel Asturias.

Testimony of Pablo Maríñez. Photo of the Congress in Senegal, 1974

Audio de la conferencia. 1974

May 16 and 17. Concerts in Buenos Aires with the Argentine singer and composer César Isella (1938 - 2021).


July. Participates in the meeting 'Un Cantar del Pueblo Latinoamericano’. Cuba. Although there was already contact between them (in fact in November 1970 they were about to meet in Lima) in this trip he meets personally the poet Nicolás Guillén. View Production/Nicolas Guillén

July (second half). Travels to Mexico, invited by René Villanueva, leader of the group Los Folkloristas, to participate in the series of television programs 'Encuentro', under the direction of Alvaro Gálvez Cifuentes, where he also performs several recitals in different university auditoriums..



October 3rd: A violent earthquake of 7.6 on the Mercalli scale occurs in Lima.




Under the label El Virrey he releases in Lima the record 'Socabón', consisting of two discs and a booklet. Together with the album 'Cumanana' (1964) they form the two pillars on which his record production is based.


He produces and hosts the television program 'Por los Caminos del Arte'. In Nicomedes' words: "The dual purpose of the program is to show, on the one hand, the interrelation that exists between all the arts of all the peoples of the world, whatever their degree of development, and on the other, that all the paths of art can and should lead to the integration of the national, continental and world community. 


August. Participation in the television program 'Danzas y Canciones'.



February: Police strike followed by looting and violent military repression.


August 29: General Francisco Morales Bermúdez's (1921) coup d'état.


According to a letter to Clóvis Moura in May: " (...) And by the way. At the beginning of this year Professor Vivaldo da Costa Lima was in Peru who, by his own effort, made a long tour through Bolivia and Peru; talking with me during the short week he spent in Lima. I spoke to him about you and he told me that they knew each other and he kept his deferential friendship".


September. He travels invited to Japan. According to a letter to Clóvis Moura from Tokyo: " ... but what made me most upset was the untimeliness and urgency of the trip, having to leave an infinite number of radio and television programs recorded". He apologizes for the delay in answering his letters: "I hope I can give you reasons to justify myself because it is about coordinating the presentation of Latin American folklore to students and workers from all over Japan by the end of 1977 and they have asked me to advise them and that's what I'm doing. 



April 24. Contract with AEROPERU for the production of the radio program 'Música por la ruta del Sol'.

October 20 to 24. Bogota. Colombia. Invited to the inauguration of the headquarters of the 'Convenio Andrés Bello', where he participates in a round table on 'Cultural Integration in Latin America'.


September 17: The Camp David peace accords are signed between Israel and Egypt under the auspices of the United States.

October 16: The Polish cardinal, Karol Wojtyła, is elected pope after the death of John Paul I. He adopts the name John Paul II. 



July. Cuba. Participates in 'Carifesta '79'. CARIFESTA (acronym of Caribeean Festival of Arts) or Caribbean Festival of Arts is a multicultural event held periodically, every 3 or 4 years, by the CARICOM and Caribbean countries with the objective of bringing together writers, artists, musicians and exhibiting the folkloric and cultural manifestations of the region. The first CARIFESTA was held in Georgetown, Guyana in 1972 (the second in 1976 was in Jamaica and Cuba was the third edition). This first event was organized by Guyanese leader Forbes Burnham, who was inspired by the Caribbean Arts Festival held in Puerto Rico in 1952 (Source: Widipedia).


The album 'Ritmos Negros del Perú: Nicomedes Santa Cruz y su Conjunto Cumanana', published by RCA, is released.

May 4: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative Party) becomes the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom..

July: In Nicaragua, the Popular Sandinista Revolution triumphs against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Garcia.

December: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

1950 1960 1970 1990




March 16-18. Panama.  Participates in the 'Consultation of Latin American churches on how to confront racism in the 80's' with the paper 'Racism, racial discrimination and ethnocentrism',

  • Introduction

  • - José B. Chipenda of the World Council of Churches' Program to Combat Racism at the opening of the consultation.

  • - The Gospel in the face of racism in Latin America / Pablo Richard

  • - The Gospel facing the problem of racism in the indigenous area / Aníbal Guzmán

  • - Racism, racial discrimination and ethnocentrism / Nicomedes Santa Cruz

  • - Racial prejudice against blacks in Brazil / Mario Teixeira Gurgel

  • - First Meeting of Pastoral Indigenista of the Southern Cone of Latin America, São Paulo, Brazil.

  • - Final Document, Consultation of Latin American Churches on How to Confront Racism in the 1980s.


March 17-21. Panama. Participates in the 'II Congress of the Black Culture of the Americas'.

After overcoming some financial difficulties, on March 17, 1980, the second congress entitled "Black Cultural Identity in the Americas" was held in Panama City. It was organized by the Center for Afro-Panamanian Studies (CEDEAP). Some 300 delegates from all over the region, Africa and Europe attended. One of the achievements of the event was the incorporation of members from the Caribbean: Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, French Guyana and Cuba. Seventy papers were presented on the themes of race and class, formal and informal education systems, cultural pluralism and national unity, and black perspectives in the Americas, giving an idea of the richness of the deliberations. The president of the II congress, Gerardo Maloney, when evaluating the same, emphasized that the event "was a firm step forward in the process of valorization of the Negro in America". (Source Web 'América Latina en Movimiento')

Years later (December 19, 2001), in an act celebrated by the University of Alcalá de Henares (Spain), the Ecuadorian poet Nelson Estupiñán recalled, to Nicomedes' children, the words that the latter improvised in the dedication of a book when both coincided in Panama and wrote it on a piece of paper: 


Al poeta esmeraldeño / que con verbo ecuatoriano / va cantando mano a mano, / golpe a golpe/ y leño a leño. // A su semblante risueño, / de quien consigo va en paz / devuélveme si puedes / de tu amigo Nicomedes, /Nelson Estupiñán Bass.

Nelson then improvised the response:

Ahí te mando el desempate / Nicomedes Santa Cruz, / tú, que sos cantor de luz / verás que ahí hay un combate / entre dos sencillos vales, / Cuabú y Pedro Timarán, / que vueltos un huracán / versean como yo y tú, / yo en Ecuador, tú en Perú / Tu cofrade Estupiñán.

Nelson Estupiñan.jpg



The album 'Décimas y Poemas' is released, edited by El Virrey. 

September 20. Although initially it is only a family visit to Madrid for a season, this trip will end up being a definitive change of residence.


November-December. Gives the seminar 'Presencia Cultural del Negro en Iberoamérica' (Black Cultural Presence in Ibero-America). Cycle organized by the Colegio Mayor Hispanoamericano 'Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe' in collaboration with the Direction of Cultural Exchange of the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana. Madrid- Spain.



November 26. I. From slave trade to rebellions.

December 3rd. II. Neo-African religion and Negro-American folklore.

December 10th. III. The Negro and the class struggle.

View Archive/1980


March 24: Assassination of Monsignor Oscar Romero in El Salvador.

May 18: First general elections in Peru after 20 years. Fernando Belaúnde wins.


The terrorist group Sendero Luminoso begins its armed struggle, carrying out attacks in several towns in the south-central highlands.





November 26th. Presentation at the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana in Madrid of the show 'La Raíz del Canto', with Nicomedes, the Argentine guitarist and composer César Isella and the Spanish group Quirquincho..


January: Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United States 

February: Failed coup attempt in Spain.




March 11. Participates in the homage to Nicolás Guillén paid by the Spanish-Cuban Friendship Association. Madrid-Spain.  

March 30 to April 4. Mexico. National Auditorium. Participates in the 'First Festival and Forum of the New Latin American Song' (Thursday April 1 and Saturday April 3 at 20:00). In this Encounter he presents two papers: 'La Nueva Canción en el Perú' and 'Identidad Cultural Latinoamericana y Nueva Canción'. In Mexico he also develops an intense artistic and intellectual activity. He performs in concerts at the Auditorio Nacional and at the Auditorio de la Reforma, in Puebla. 

June. Start working for Radio Exterior de España (more information in Production/Radio y Television).

November 24th, 25th and 26th. Participates in the 'Forum Internacional sobre la Nueva Canción', held within the '1º Festival Internacional de la Nueva Canción'. Varadero - Cuba.

October: General elections in Spain: Felipe González, of the PSOE, is elected Prime Minister.





June. Since his decision to stay and live in Spain is firm, he returns almost silently to Peru in order to take with him an important part of the books in his library. Many will think, erroneously, that when Nicomedes visits Peru in 1987 it will be the first time he does so after 7 years. 


June 5. Taking advantage of his stay in Peru, the Institute of Peruvian Studies presents Nicomedes' book 'La Décima en el Perú', the first study and anthology published in the country on the subject. Free download of the book in PDF 


​October 23rd to 30th. Participates in 'Latin America in Argamasilla de Alba'. Organized by the Literary Collective of the House of Culture of this town (Ciudad Real - Spain). Day 29, Saturday, gives a lecture entitled: 'Hispanic roots in the folklore of the New World'. Day 30, Sunday, performance of Nicomedes reciting his best known tenths and poems to an enthusiastic audience.




June 2 to 8. Travels to Malabo and Bata (Equatorial Guinea) where he participates in the 'First International Hispanic African Congress of Culture'.

October 6-16. Travels again to Equatorial Guinea. Audio 





July 8-12. Participates in the 'Consultation on Black Culture and Theology in Latin America' with the paper 'Black Contributions to Christianity in America'. Nova Iguaçu (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil).

April 14: Alan García Pérez assumes the presidency of Peru.







June. Visit to Havana, Cuba, invited by INTUR to the 'FolCuba-86 Cultural Laboratory'.


October 8. Radio Nacional de España awards him the 'IV Premio Internacional España de Radiodifusión' for the program 'Los mejoraneros panameños'.




July. The guitarist Vicente Vásquez (1923), a close collaborator of Nicomedes since 1957, dies View Production/Conjunto Cumanana 



September. He returns to Peru, as a special guest of the 'Consejo de Integración Cultural Latinoamericana' (CICLA), to participate in the 'II Encuentro Musical Latinoamericano de la Nueva Canción'. View Archive/1987 


Nicomedes and Cuban musician Elio Revé, on stage.  CICLA. 1987.


Noviembre-diciembre. Participa en el jurado que concederá el 'Premio Radio Exterior de España', en la 'XIII Edición del Festival de Cine de Huelva'. España




The Institute for Ibero-American Cooperation publishes 'El negro en Iberoamérica'. Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, no. 451-452 (January-February 1988). Free download in PDF format (Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library)


June 20th. In a long surgical operation at the Hospital Clínico in Madrid, a cancerous tumor found in his left lung is successfully removed..


November 28 to December 3.  Participates in the 'II Ibero-American Congress of Human Rights Organizations', in Extremadura (Spain). In addition to his presentation, he provides journalistic coverage of this event for Radio Nacional de España.






Reinforces Radio Exterior de España's programming for the 1992 celebrations, with the introduction of broadcasts in Quechua, Guarani and Sephardic.

He is sent by Radio Nacional de España to France to cover the 'Encuentro de Indigenistas' organized by the program AMERINDIA92, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

July 16. Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén dies (1902).


September 6-11. Travels to San Juan, Puerto Rico, invited by the University of Puerto Rico, where he participates in the 'Persistence of African Civilizations in the Caribbean International Conference', with the paper 'Flow of the Afro-Caribbean Cultural Tide'.


He is invited to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, by the 'Center for Research and Social Action in the Caribbean', CIASCA, where he gives a seminar on African culture. Performs several recitals.

November: Fall of the Berlin Wall. 




July 1st. José Durand Flórez dies (1925)

July 19. The Peruvian government, through its embassy in Spain, grants him the 'Orden Al Mérito por Servicios Distinguidos en el Grado de Comendador' (Order of Merit for Distinguished Services in the Grade of Commander'.


September-October. He participates as a professor in Aventura '92, an expedition led by the Spaniard Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo (1932-2016) aboard the ship Guanahaní, which travels through the ports of Yucatán, Puerto Limón, Panama, Cartagena and Puerto Rico, with 500 young people aged 16 and 17, to whom, together with other professors, he gives a series of lectures. In subsequent years, the expedition will change its name to Ruta Quetzal Argentaria and Ruta BBVA. It will end in 2016 with the death of its founder, Miguel de la Quadara-Salcedo.

Interview by Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo

December 3rd. Represents Peru in the tribute paid to the poet Rafael Alberti, on the occasion of his 88th birthday, by Latin American poets at the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Madrid-Spain).


July: Alberto Fujimori becomes president of Peru


Nelson Mandela is released from prison 


March 11. Death of his brother Rafael (1928).

May 28. Peruvian bookseller, publisher and cultural promoter Juan Mejía Baca (1912) dies.

September-October. Participates again in the expedition Aventura 92, following the itinerary Huelva-Santo Domingo, La Guaira, Orinoco River, Amazon River, Canary Islands and Cadiz.


November 15-17. He takes part in the 'V Encuentro Antropología y Misión', organized by the magazine Mundo Negro where he presents the paper 'El Negro y su Canto: la aventura de la poesía oral y escrita en América' (The Negro and his Song: the adventure of oral and written poetry in America). (Madrid- Spain).


November 27-29. Participates in the 'First Congress of African Studies in the Iberian World', organized by the Complutense University of Madrid with the paper 'Africanía de la Canción Danzaria en Nuestra América'. 


Nicomedes during the Congress. November. 1991


December. He is admitted to the Hospital Clínico in Madrid because of the lung cancer that has reproduced and for which he had been operated on in 1988. The doctors allow him to spend Christmas with his family to be admitted again at the beginning of the year. He took advantage of this time to say goodbye to his colleagues at Radio Exterior and to leave instructions to his children about the material to be returned to the radio when he was no longer there.



January 5. He re-enters the hospital after the end of the temporary leave given to him by the doctors.

February 5th. At the age of 67 he died after surgery at the Hospital Clínico in Madrid. His ashes were scattered by his family in the mountains of Madrid.

5th Centenary of the Discovery of America

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