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El Cóndor Pasa (Flight of the Condor) is a song from the zarzuela El Cóndor Pasa by the Peruvianmarker composer Daniel Alomía Robles written in 1913 and based on traditional Andean folk tunes.

It is possibly the best-known Peruvian song worldwide due to a cover version by Simon & Garfunkel in 1970 on their Bridge Over Troubled Water album. This cover version is called El Condor Pasa (If I Could). Paul Simon used the instrumental version of Los Incas as the basic-track (without permission) and wrote entirely new, unrelated lyrics. Later that year, Perry Como released a cover of Simon's English version on his album It's Impossible, while Julie Felix took advantage of Simon and Garfunkel's decision not to release their version as a UK single, and had a UK Top 20 hit with it. Simon & Garfunkel did release their version as a single in the U.S. and it reached # 18 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the fall of 1970.


In 1913 Alomía Robles composed "El cóndor pasa" and the song was first performed publicly at the Teatro Mazzi in Lima.

The musical group, "Los Incas" performed the song in Paris in 1960s where it was heard by Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel. "Los Incas" told Simon, perhaps through ignorance, that the song was a 19th century musical composition by an anonymous composer. Simon became interested in the song and composed new lyrics for the melody. The song appeared on Simon and Garfunkel's 1970 album Bridge over Troubled Water.

In 1970 Alomía Robles' son, Armando Robles Godoy, filed a copyright lawsuit against Simon and demonstrated that the song had been composed by his father and that his father had copyrighted the song in the United States in 1933. Godoy said that he bears no ill will towards Simon for what he considers a misunderstanding. "It was an almost friendly court case, because Paul Simon was very respectful of other cultures. It was not carelessness on his part," says Robles Godoy. "He happened to hear the song in Paris from a vernacular group. He liked it, he went to ask them and they gave him the wrong information. They told him it was a popular tune from the 18th Century and not my father’s composition. It was a court case without further complications."


  1. By Request: A Perry Como Discography, accessed May 8, 2006
  2. La República. ""El cóndor pasa" patrimonio cultural de la nación" by Pedro Escribano. April 13, 2004.
  3. Diario La Primera. "El cine, los libros, la muerte - An interview with Armando Robles Godoy" by Juan Carlos Bondy. July 6, 2008.

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