A-Z Challenge Day 17


q1Short stories featuring musical instruments and those who play them!.




q7‘Stop’ I said. ‘Listen. Music, beautiful music’.

‘What music?’ said my friend, ‘I can’t hear music. You really shouldn’t have had that extra cup of coca tea before we set off this morning!’

Five of us and our guide were on the final leg of our trek along the Inca Trail in the Andes mountains.  Soon, we’d be arriving at Machu Picchu.

They carried on walking, but I just stood there transfixed by the haunting sound.

When I caught up with them again, the guide took me aside and told me that now and again a person will hear it when others can’t and have done so for generations.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

‘A Quena’ he said. He told me it’s a pipe instrument that dates back some five hundred years and played at rituals, celebrations and folk dances. 

‘They say it’s heard in paradise’ he said.

‘But why me?’ I asked. ‘Why do I hear it when my friends don’t?’

He shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

To this day, I still hear the Quena. I hear it when wandering in the countryside, I hear it in the middle of the night. It soothes, it comforts. I hear it when others don’t.

I can hear it now. Can you? 



BTW. Coca tea is made from the leaves of the coca plant which contain several alkaloids including cocaine. It originates from the Andes mountains, particularly Peru – and you can’t bring any home with you!  


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2020 – Stories featuring obsolete words – Qaass

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2018 – My friend RoseyQ

2017 – The village of Amble Bay – Q

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35 thoughts on “A-Z Challenge Day 17

  1. Sadje Apr 20, 2021 / 00:53

    I really like this idea! Hearing music when alone. Great story Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. msjadeli Apr 20, 2021 / 01:00

    Sounds like spoken from real experience. Must have been an interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Denise Apr 20, 2021 / 01:24

    Another new instrument. But I did know about coca leaves being used in the original Coca Cola.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Weekends in Maine Apr 20, 2021 / 03:07

    Machu Picchu was my #1 bucket list destination and when I was about to turn fifty I said to my husband, “Why are we waiting?” We went for my birthday and it didn’t disappoint. It was an amazing trip although I didn’t hear any music and I didn’t drink the tea. No altitude sickness either. Weekends In Maine


    • Keith's Ramblings Apr 20, 2021 / 10:43

      An amazing place, and visiting it was the experience of a lifetime. Drinking coca tea is supposed to prevent altitude sickness, but like you, it’s not something I have a problem with.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mrs Fever Apr 20, 2021 / 04:47

    There’s something to be said for listening to music only you can hear. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hilarymb Apr 20, 2021 / 08:50

    Hi Keith – the only way I’d hear the Quena …. is if I set out having had coca tea! Must be staggering to have walked and seen something of Peru … and I’d have needed more coca tea to walk there too … keep enjoying this bright sunshine … Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Apr 20, 2021 / 10:48

      Peru is a wonderful country, and not just because of Machu Picchu. Coca tea certainly helps when trekking! You see it freely available in every hotel reception area, but it’s cleared away about 5 pm as drinking it later will keep you awake all night! Cheer, Hilary.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Frédérique Apr 20, 2021 / 12:29

    Coca tea looks like kava made by people of Vanuatu and Fiji. Yes, I can hear music, but I think it’s coming from my house, and not Quena 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christine Goodnough Apr 20, 2021 / 16:17

    I haven’t heard a Quena but I’ve heard the instrument — two rows of pipes lashed together — that the Peruvian musicians played in Montreal’s Old Port. Gives a hauntingly beautiful sound. that must have been a amazing trip. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Iain Kelly Apr 20, 2021 / 17:31

    I wondered what ‘Q’ you would come up with. Very nicely done. If only I could hear the Quena, but alas…!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Apr 20, 2021 / 23:31

      I must admit I hadn’t heard of it until it popped up on a Google search then I realised I’d heard it in Peru! As you say, if only. Cheers lain

      Liked by 1 person

  10. J.S. Pailly Apr 20, 2021 / 17:55

    A lovely story. Music gets stuck in my head sometimes. I don’t usually think much of that, but if it’s good music that does bring me a kind of joy that’s just for me and no one else.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Arti Jain Apr 20, 2021 / 19:24

    This was lovely. Atmospheric. Was transported to the Andes. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gail M Baugniet Apr 20, 2021 / 23:00

    From your BTW comment, Keith, I assume you did attempt to bring some coca tea home with you! I hopped over to YouTube and listened to a bit of Quena music – pleasurable and lighthearted. Thanks for the introduction.


    • Keith's Ramblings Apr 20, 2021 / 23:19

      I really wanted to but the guide told me not to bother trying! It’s a quiet and unassuming little instrument, but quite pleasant! Thanks Gail.


  13. messymimi's meanderings Apr 21, 2021 / 00:09

    Ask what’s in the water, nothing, find out what they have in the tea!

    The instrument sounds lovely, i listened onlne.


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