I’d like to start talking about charango, stringed instrument, very popular in South America and especially in Bolivia, Perù e Chile.
Me and my bolivian charango Quispe Torrez
It derives from spanish vihuela de mano, brought by the Spanish in colonial period and we could already find some representations in the iconography of the seventeenth century in the bolivian region of Potosì. The melting between the locals and the conquers led to the creation of a new instument with a crystal-clear sound, maintaining the characteristic double strings (courses) of baroque guitar, but narrowing the body and creating different tunings.
In the last century this instrument became spread between “campesinos” (peasant) and pride of the local knowledge.
We can find a lots of different types of charangos with different dimension, string material (metal, gut, nylon) and tuning (temple). Usually, in past, they made the body of the charango using an armadillo shell, but now is preferable to use wood.
The most common charango are 60 cm long and they use this particular tuning with the lower string in the middle.
Every year we have a lots of festivals dedicated to charango in all over the world. I took part in the”100 charangos of Bruxelles” in 2011 based on the idea of the “1000 charangos orchestra” that played in Bolivia in 2010.
The 100 charangos of Bruxelles