I met Fernando Leider when he was recording with Yacaré Manso in Buenos Aires. It turns out that Fernando and I share an interest in the bamboo violins that are made by forest peoples in certain parts of South America. Baroque and classical music was introduced to indigenous peoples in the jungles of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina by Jesuit missionaries who found that they had a tremendous affinity for music. Alas, as Fernando points out, the Jesuits taught them how to play Western instruments such as the violin, but they weren’t willing to lend them any to use…so these members of the Guaraní, Chiquitano and other tribes learned to make their own versions of these instruments using materials from the forest.
It turns out that Fernando made his own bamboo violin, which has a few quirks, but is otherwise highly functional. He also showed me a middle-eastern vibraphone that he received as a gift, and a Toba “lata” (can) violin from Argentina’s Gran Chaco region.