The charango is a small Bolivian Andean stringed instrument of the lute family. About 66 cm long, the charango was traditionally made with the shell of the back of an armadillo (placental mammals with a leathery armor shell) while nowadays is made of variety of hardwoods.
A strong tradition surrounding the charango has always existed in Peru and is certainly one of the most characteristic instruments of the Andean culture. The charango’s rise to contemporary popularity in Andean culture has not however been without significant challenges. In fact in Peru, the charango has always been marginal and it has been only in last few decades that it has begun to be accepted as a characteristic element of culture. Jose Maria Arguedas the Peruvian writer, described the charango as a rarity for which only ethnological analysis could justify its cultural significance.
Today, charango plains with its eloquence in the serenades of the Andean people, presents a faithful companion to native melodies in country bars “chicherillas” and last but not least, is a source of great inspiration for rock fans, jazz musicians and academic composers from all around the world. Among the most famous musicians playing charango is the Argentine musician and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, award winning for the music of “The Secret of Brokeback Mountain”,” Babel” and “Motorcycle Diaries” films and a member and co-producer of Bajofondo.