charango

The charango is a small Andean stringed instrument of the lute family, originated in Quichua and Aymara populations in post-Columbian times, after America met the stringed instruments as they were known in Europe, and surviving in what are today the Andean regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, north of Chile and the northwest of Argentina, where it is widespread as a popular music instrument. About 66 cm long, the charango was traditionally made with the shell of the back of an armadillo (quirquincho, mulita), but also it can be made of wood, which is now known to be a better resonator. Wood is more commonly used in modern instruments. Charangos for children may also be made from calabash. Many contemporary charangos are now made with different types of wood. It typically has 10 strings in five courses of 2 strings each, but other variations exist. The charango is primarily played in traditional Andean music, but is sometimes used by other Latin American musicians. A charango player is called a charanguista.