ethnomusicologist holly wissler playing bandurria

Holly Wissler

Holly Wissler has led a life akin to her fellow Iowan, Captain James Tiberius Kirk from the show Star Trek, who bravely went where no man had gone before. Iowa is an unlikely point of origin for our expert considering she has since lived most of her life in the highlands of the Andes and the Himalayas. As a young woman, Holly Wissler was an adventure guide throughout Peru and Nepal, where she became a fluent Spanish, Quechua, and Nepali speaker. After years of exploring and leading expeditions around these impressive ranges, Holly earned an MM degree in Flute Performance and an MA degree in Music History from the University of Idaho. In 2009, Holly earned her Ph.D. from Florida State University in Ethnomusicology for her work with musical traditions of the Q’eros community in Peru. This work with the Q’eros has led her to produce two documentaries, “Kusisqa Waqashayku” or “From Grief and Joy We Sing” and “Qoyllur Rit’i”; both films highlighting Andean music and rituals.

Today Holly Wissler lives in Cusco with her adopted Q’eros son. Holly leads guided tours in the Sacred Valley and provides lectures regarding the musical traditions of the Q’eros, the Andean cosmogony, and other Andean cultural topics.

Meet Holly Wissler and the Q’eros

On our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Expedition, this accomplished woman and adopted Quechua will join our group in the Sacred Valley to provide a presentation regarding the Andean cosmovision; which for Westerners is a paradigm-shifting Andean view of the nature of our universe. Accompanying Holly Wissler will be members of the Q’eros community, who will be playing their unique Andean-style of pan flute and have agreed to a Question and Answer session about their traditions, customs, and music (as translated by Holly) afterwards.