Paraguay, like most colonized countries, lost the indigenous rhythms, songs and instruments during colonization. Therefore, now a day’s Paraguayan music is strictly a hybrid between European styles with a bit of Guaraní (the indigenous people from Paraguay) influence.
Paraguayan songs tend to be sung in Guaraní (the indigenous language widely spoken in Paraguay) or a mixture of Guaraní and Spanish. Paraguayan music is not only heard in Paraguay, but also in Argentine provinces of Misiones, Florida and Corrientes, across the River Paraná from Paraguay itself.
The Paraguayan Polka is the music that identifies the country and it is played with guitars and the Paraguayan harp. One of the most famous songs is 13 Tuyutí, considered as the hymn of Paraguayan Polka. As many of the Paraguayan Polka songs, 13 Tuyutí also makes reference to important historical characters in Paraguayan history and wars that the country had to experience throughout its history.
One of the most important Paraguayan Polka musicians is Berta Rojas that is considered the most important ambassador of Paraguayan folklore to the world. Moreover, she’s famous for the ways she plays the guitar. You can check out one of her performances here.
Guaranía is a genre known internationally, created in 1925, that is characterized by slow and melancholic rhythms and melodies used in the songs. Guaranía, in comparison to the Paraguayan Polka, is mostly heard in the urban areas of the country and their songs are said to represent and express the character of the Paraguayan people.
The best known Guaranía songs are Recuerdos del Ypakaraí, Pájaro Chogy and AnahiFUN FACT! The Paraguayan Harp is famous in different parts of the world, being used to play covers of pop songs as well as a way to interpret typical Paraguayan songs abroad. Check out Despacito cover in harp.