Colombian Musician Edmar Castañeda Teaches Us South American Harp Music

Though he’s known as a Latin jazz harpist, he’s adapted the South American version of the instrument to his own unique playing style. Edmar Castañeda talks about how he was influenced to play harp from South American traditional music.

It turns out harp has played a role in folk music styles throughout South and Central America, with a history going back to the early European colonizers and missionaries. Various designs of harps and takes on folk harp music can be found in Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Argentina.

The harp has a long history in Latin American folk music.

The roots of the harp music Castañeda draws on are Joropo of Venezuela and Colombia, and Zamba of Argentina. Those folk musics have a lively history many may not be aware of.

Edmar Castaneda

Edmar Castaneda, making it look easy. (Image: “Edmar Castañeda at Marcus plus 2011” by Maciej Jaros (commons: Nux, wiki-pl: Nux) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The harp is one of the most beautiful stringed instruments, and one of the most beautiful instruments in classical music. But if you are looking to go out and by a harp and get practicing, please do! It’d be great to see more people getting into this great instrument.

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