A Small 10 String Lute
Originating in South America
Alma Del Sur. Various artists including Ancient Future.
Narada Collection ND-63908. CD- $16.98:
Featured Sound File
El Gatillo y el Armadillo from Alma Del Sur.
The charango is a small ten string lute that originated in South America. The back of the instrument is traditionally fashioned from an armadillo. When the Spaniards came to South America, they brought the vihuela (an ancestor of the guitar) with them. The native people liked the vihuela, but lacked the technology to shape the wood in that manner. However, there was a convenient resource available to them: armadillo shells. Thus the charango was born. It was a happy day for music, but a sad day for armadillos. But it is a rare creature that makes music after death. Legend has it that the armadillo has to go to a conservatory for five years to study to become a charango.
Today, many of the best charangos have wooden backs instead of
employing the armadillo shell.
The charango is tuned in five pairs of strings:
Recommended Records Featuring Charango
The following recordings by the world music group Ancient Future include the charango in unusual settings:
- Alma Del Sur (Narada Collection ND-63908)
- Dreamchaser (Sona Gaia/MCA 154)
- Quiet Fire (Narada/MCA 1012)
More information about learning to play the charango can be found through the Ancient Future World Fusion Music Links Page. Pay careful attention to the listed world music instrument and instruction catalogs such as Lark in the Morning.