"Eventually all records are dated, but the song comes back," Paul Simon told 'Rolling Stone' magazine. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel made popular Andean (South American) music with the release of the song, 'El Condor Pasa' in 1970. Paul told David Lister of 'The Independent' in 2006, "The first Latin-American song I did was 'El Condor Pasa', which I heard when I was on the bill with Los Incas and they performed this gorgeous song. It's like the national anthem of South America and particularly of Peru. I remember saying to Artie that I would just write a song over this track." 

In 1965, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel shared the stage with the group Los Incas (later renamed Urubamba) at Theatre de L'Est Parisienne in Paris, France. It was there the duo first heard the instrumental version of the folksong, 'Paso Dek Condor'. It was understood Daniel Robles first recorded the song in 1913. "You know, the '60s were very experimental as far as world music was concerned. Brian Jones (of The Rolling Stones) went to Africa to record drums, and there was George from The Beatles of course. There was a lot of interest in music from all over the world. It wasn't considered world music." 

Paul Simon decided to add new lyrics to the old melody. "I used to hang around every night to hear them play that. I loved it and I would play it all the time, and then I thought, 'Let's put words to it,'" he explained. "I guess 'El Condor Pasa' would be considered an early example of 'world music' with its Peruvian melody and South American musicians playing traditional instruments." 

Paul also made the point, "Well, print critics focus more on the lyrics. It’s easier to talk about words with words than to describe melody, harmony and rhythm. Musicians focus more on the music. I’m glad. I spend more time writing music than writing words. The music always precedes the words. The words often come from the sound of the music and eventually evolve into coherent thoughts. Or incoherent thoughts. Rhythm plays a crucial part in the lyric-making as well. It’s like a puzzle to find the right words to express what the music is saying." 

The 1970 album 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was Simon and Garfunkel last album. It spent 10 weeks at the top of the U.S. charts. Paul Simon told Jon Landay of 'Rolling Stone' in 1972, "'Bridge' has better songs. And it has better singing. It is freer, in its own way ... 'El Condor Pasa' I like. That track was originally a record. The track is originally a recording on Phillips, a Los Incas record that I love. I said, 'I love this melody. I'm going to write lyrics to it. I just love it, and we'll just sing it right over the track.' 

"'Bridge' is a very strong melodic song. I like the other kinds of music. The amazing thing is that this country is so provincial. Americans know American music. You go to France: They know a lot of kinds of music. You go to Japan, and they know a lot of indigenous popular music. But Americans never get into the South American music, I fell into Los Incas, I loved it. It's got nothing to do with our music, but I liked it anyway. The Jamaican thing, there's nobody getting into a Jamaican thing. Jamaicans have a lot of good music, an awful lot."

Paul Simon believed, "Rock is the main part of the meal for me. It's the music that I not only grew up in, but I participated in, so I like rock and I like rock and roll. I like a lot of different kinds of music. I think that there have been very talented people come up in the last decade (the '60s), people who have done really good work, and there have been great performers. I think Aretha (Franklin) is a really fine performer. I think Otis Redding was really great. Sam Cooke was great. The Beatles were great. (Bob) Dylan was great.

"(Country music) doesn't have nearly the life of the other inherited American, indigenous American music, blues. Those are the 2 musics that have come out of America. Country music, blues, and gospel, which is the secular and the holy, and blues turned into rhythm and blues and turned into rock and roll, but country music didn't move too much. It moved a little bit. It moved with Elvis Presley and moved into rock."

Insisting "music is the universal language - it's a cliché but it's true," Paul Simon collaborated with South African musicians in January 1985 to produce 5 tracks of "cultural fusion music" on his 'Graceland' album, which was released in August 1986. "The first step was to hear what their musical impulse was, and then the second step was to put it into a structure that I would be able to write to, and then the third step was to improvise some melody so that they could hear what the structure was when we were playing, so that they could leave the spaces for melodies and things," Paul recounted. "It didn't matter if there were no words for the most part, because English wasn't their first language anyway. When I had a track that I liked, I would take it home and work on it on a more detailed level, and begin to think about what lyrics might come."

Of 'Graceland', Paul Simon told John Swenson of 'United Press International' in 1987, "I'm surprised that the record has done so well. This is very different from Top 40 music. It's popular music that isn't Top 40, a whole new category. Nobody had ever heard of reggae before 'Mother and Child Reunion' but everybody played it. Nobody was much into gospel quarterts when 'Loves Me Like a Rock' came out but people played it. People played 'El Condor Pasa', a song with a Spanish title and Peruvian musicians. But it was a different time. There was more eclectic interest, and the folk movement was interested in different cultures."

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