Search:     THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2018
Jim Virga & Tula Goenka
22 minutes
English subtitles
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El Charango

This short documentary is about a little instrument, a large silver mine and the highest city in the world. Cerro Rico in Potosi, Bolivia, was discovered by Spanish conquistadors in 1545, who enslaved the local indigenous people. It is said that 8 million people, including African slaves, died in the mines of this mountain while providing Spain with immense wealth. The Spanish culture spread into Potosi, and the local people became aware of something they had never seen or heard before: a stringed instrument. Forbidden from ever playing the Spanish guitar, the miners copied it and created the charango. The story of the charango symbolizes the larger struggle for human rights and a quest to keep traditional culture alive among indigenous people.

"This superb film would be valuable in music, folklore, anthropology, history and Latin American studies classes. I strongly recommend this gem of an independent film."
- Charles Bukart, Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

  • SilverDocs, Silver Spring, Maryland, 2006

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