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Alturas Duo - Educational Presentation: The Origin of South American Music
Educational presentations by the Alturas Duo have been tailored to fit any age group ranging from K through 12. Programs include short musical examples from our repertoire, an introduction to the various instruments we play (viola, guitar, charangos and Venezuelan cuatro) and an explanation on how African, European and Native cultures came together to create South American folkloric music as we know it today. In addition, we will explain how natural elements have affected this music, ranging from the materials used to make instruments (armadillos, bamboo, and goat toenails to name a few!), to how folkloric musicians have used their surroundings to influence songwriting and rhythms.

Click here to view an outline of the presentation.

We aim to provide a basic understanding of simple South American rhythms and their origins. Participants will be taught how to perform the basic "apagado" on the guitar and charango and learn to accompany a melody using similar techniques. For beginners to advanced students.

Master Classes:
The Duo provides coaching in a comfortable and non-judgmental environment for both soloists and ensembles. For beginners to advanced students.

Washington Post: Educational Review

All programs are available in both English and Spanish.

Charango: Carlos plays a charango made by Yelkon Montero a Santiago, Chile based luthier. The charango was invented by the native people of what is now called Bolivia after the Spanish conquistadores landed on the shores of South America during the 17th and 18th centuries. Along with their language, culture and religion, these new settlers also brought lutes and baroque guitars. The native people liked these new instruments, but at the time, did not have the technology needed to shape the wood of the guitar like the Spanish did. Instead, they used something a little out of the ordinary: the shell of an armadillo! One could say that it was a great day for music, and a sad day for the armadillo! Fortunately, most of the best instruments being produced today are now fashioned from wood (Much to the delight of the remaining armadillos in the region).

Viola: Carlos also plays a 1988 viola made by Jean Benoit Stensland and Girard Luthiers in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Guitar: Scott Hill plays a 2012 “Australian Model” guitar by Alan Chapman of Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.A., . The back and sides are made with “landscape figure” Makassar ebony and the top from master grade Canadian cedar.

View video on YouTube.