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September 20, 2013

Andean sounds not music to all

Peruvian-rooted shot stirs flap on Bearskin Neck

ROCKPORT — From police calls to a petitioning town officials, a Peruvian musician and his music have caused a stir for other shop owners on the popular tourist spot, Bearskin Neck.

Sergio Espinoza, the Peru native who moved to America in 1991, opened his shop, Inkas Wasi on Bearskin Neck in July.

He said Thursday that, about two weeks after opening, he began hearing calls and complaints about the noise level of his music.

Espinoza plays the siku, also known as a pan flute. But opponents say the type of music is not the issue; it’s the noise level. And the controversy has led Espinoza to confine his pan flute performances to Dock Square and the far end of Bearskin Neck, near My Place By The Sea.

The music coming from the shop and musicians playing music has drawn a police response six times, Espinoza said; it also prompted a petition, and stirred an estimated 30 people, including several shop owners, to approach the Board of Selectmen Monday.

“I don’t want to fuel any fires, I don’t want to push my agenda,” Daniel Desmond, co-owner of the Asian Inspiration Gallery, which sits directly across from Espinoza’s shop, said Thursday.

Desmond said the music funnels into his shop and it has affected his business — and he’s not alone.

Peter Russell of James Russell Goldsmiths, a bit further down Bearskin Neck, said he has owned six stores throughout New England spanning decades, from Rockport to Rhode Island. Russell and others said they have asked Espinoza to turn down the music in his shop, but the problem has persisted.

“I’ve literally seen it all,” Russell said. “I’ve never encountered this kind of reluctance from a shop owner.”

On the weekends, Russell said, the music was going on for eight to 10 hours a day.

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