The charango, a small, high pitched Bolivian/Andean stringed instrument that traditionally was made from the shell of an armadillo, is a staple instrument of Andean music. The charango first appeared in South America in the 1800s, though its exact origin is unclear. Was it a descendant of the vihuela, which the Spanish brought with them when they colonized? Did indigenous musicians who had learned to play Spanish vihuelas and guitars create such a small instrument in order to be able to hide it when Spanish authorities prohibited them from performing their own music? Whatever its origins, the charango’s bright sound has become a characteristic of several Andean genres, like Andean Cumbia, Huayno and Pasillo

COUNTRY: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
KEY GENRES: Cumbia (Andean Cumbia), Huayno, Pasillo

FEATURED ON: Niño Colla (AATW: Latin America), Tambobambino (AATW: Latin America)

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