Raíces del Ande (Roots of the Andean Mountain region) was founded in 1983 by six Chicago-based Bolivian university students. The lyrics of Raíces del Ande’s songs address both personal experiences – true love, dancing at the Carnaval, missing the homeland, pride in indigenous heritage — and social justice issues in Latin America and the world. There are three instruments that make up the core of Andean music: the quena (a vertical wooden or cane flute), the charango (a tiny guitar-like instrument originally made using the shell of an armadillo), and the bombo (a large drum with a hairy cowhide head).
The membership of Raíces del Ande evolved over time. The Bolivian founders were joined at different points by musicians from others countries expanding their repertoire as well as the instruments.