About two weeks ago, when the After School Arts Program Strings Project played its concerts, we had guest musicians, Alturas Duo. They play chamber music with classical guitar and viola/charango. Charango is a South American guitar-like instrument. During the ASAP-Waterbury Symphony concert, they showed the instrument to the audience and explained;
when the Spanish immigrated to South American they couldn't take big instruments like piano and harp with them so they brought guitars. But the technology and technique to make guitars was not found in South America so they decided to KILL ARMADILLOS and use their back skin to make instruments. So, here it is, a CHARANGO! :-O
About a week ago, I got to catch Baltimore Consort's last concert of their Cupid's Cabinet tour. They play early and Renaissance music (from the 16th to early 17th century) on period instruments. Look for their videos, too. I'm glad I was able to attend this concert -- the best part was that it was very obvious that they were really enjoying playing with each other. Their stage presence was engaging and there were things I learned from them. I don't know how much of the music was actually written and how much was improvised but it looked to me that they sometimes played by ear, copying each other so there's a good unity.
So, a bit away from my usual classical music time period and regions, these two opportunities were really fun and interesting. I do have an interest in learning early instruments and Baroque styles and unfortunately I haven't found a good time and place to do so yet...