CMA Stories

6 Fun Facts about Colombian Musical Instruments

On Sunday, October 15 we will be celebrating the culture of Colombia at the museum. Join us for a day of workshops and musical performances inspired by Colombian artistic traditions! Activities will include sculpting the fauna of Colombia in the Clay Bar, designing buildings based on Colombian Modernist Architecture in the Fine Arts Studio, remixing music inspired by the Cumbia genre in the Soundbooth, and more!

To get you ready for the festival, we have gathered several fun facts about traditional Colombian music from performing musician, Martin Vejarano and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. Did you know there are many different styles of Colombian folk music, such as cumbia and vallenato? This also means there are many kinds of instruments that Colombian folk musicians can use to make their music.

  1. Traditional instruments are made from various plants and animal skins.
  2. Maracas are made from dried gourds. When you shake it, the seeds inside produce the rattle sounds you hear!
  3. Gaita (also called kuisi) is a flute made from a type of cactus native to Colombia. The sound it makes is similar to that of a Spanish bagpipe!
  4. The guacaracha is made from the trunk of smaller palm trees. It is designed to sound like the guaracha bird!
  5. Drums are adapted from African drums. There are many kinds of drums, and each sounds different depending on their size.
  6. The tambour is a large bass drum made of wood from a tree and covered with deer, goat, or sheepskin.

This event is made possible thanks to the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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