Voces y Cuerdas del Valle is an estudiantina. The estudiantina is made up of people who love to play music, from beginner to advanced. Like an orchestra, the estudiantina has sections: one of charangos, one of guitars, one of mandolins, and one of wind instruments (the quena and the zampoňa). The whole ensemble is held together by the percussion section (bombo legüero and chajchas). We play melodies from around the world, but we’re at our best when we play Bolivian melodies. In the clip above we are rehearsing the piece Tres Rosas. (You might be able to hear the videographers in the background.)
In the years 2013 to 2015, while I (Nathaniel) was director of Cochabamba Cooperative School, I played quena and zampoňa with Voces y Cuerdas del Valle. We gave concerts at Teatro Adela Zamudio in Cochabamba, in the main plaza of Cochabamba, Plaza 14 de septiembre, and at Teatro Teofilo Vargas in Quillacollo. Several of us made up a smaller group, Los Bohemios, to play traditional pieces in a 4-person format.
It’s been great to get together with all my old friends in the estudiantina. It’s as if not a day has gone by. Rehearsals are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.