Journey of a Clandestine Instrument

Descendents of the Guitarra Renacentista or Renaissance Guitar can be encountered far & wide, from the islands of Hawaii in the form of the Ukulele to the Charrangos of the altiplanos in Peru & Bolivia. As a son of the Renaissance Guitar brought to the lowlands of Colombia & Venezuela in 1498, the Cuatro is an instrument which has undertaken an evolutionary journey only recently to have started as of the end of the 90’s.

The barriers keeping the Cuatro isolated from the rest of the world have been overcome as construction & teaching methods have developed into more elaborative & artistic productions. Luthiers are no longer confined to local one dimensional materials & musicians are no longer dependent on learning how to play from locals presenting themselves on street corners. It’s confinement and lack of exposure in both construction & teachings is why this unique piece was considered as a clandestine instrument. This gives those who truly dominate this instrument a unique quality as they have learned with very little direction from documented works.

The Cuatro is distinguishable through the characteristic grin of it’s fingerboard, which makes the instrument an attractive challenge for constructors of instruments. In our possession are two exceptional examples of this instrument being the traditional Cuatro made of Indian Rosewood handcrafted to perfection by Jose Manuel Baritto as well as it’s modernized brother the Electric Cuatro being a child of Roberto Bonaccorso made of mahogany, pau amarillo & zebra wood. All instruments are a subliminal marriage of woods and possess incredible characteristics only possible to attain by great luthiers.

We have the privilege of witnessing the evolution of a clandestine instrument and present it on an international stage. We are privileged to present Darwin Rafael Medina Fonseca as a cuatrista or cuatro player who will be performing fusions of traditional music from the lowlands of Colombia & Venezuela with modern music. Without any further ado, we present to you the Cuatro.

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