Los Jaivas appeared in Chilean music in 1963 as a progressive-rock-andino group, mixing rock with South American ancestral music. The Parra brothers met Mario Mutis and Eduardo "Gato" Alquinta in their childhood and joined to play music. They acquired fame in Viña del Mar, by playing at diverse parties and shows.
The band took refuge in Argentina after the military dictatorship took over in Chile. In 1977; they headed to France, where they resided for a long time. The first major change in the band occurred in 1988 when Gabriel died in Peru in a car crash. His daughter Juanita took his place behind the drums.
In January 2003, the main singer, Gato Alquinta, died in Coquimbo, Chile, of a heart attack while swimming in the sea. Gato's three sons soon joined the band to replace him: Ankatu (guitar), Eloy (saxophone) and Aurora (vocals). Aurora left shortly after, and Eloy died of a heart attack in 2004. Ankatu, however, is still a member of the band.