Photo: Villanueva (Wikipedia)
In Spanish, Los Pájaros Perdidos means “the lost birds.” It is both the name of one of the songs on a CD that was released by Virgin Classics in 2012, and also the title given to the CD as a whole.
There were no plucked instruments in South America before Spanish and Portuguese explorers appeared with lutes, guitars and harps. These instruments were then adapted by indigenous people who developed their own playing techniques. Today there is a living tradition of harps and guitars with names like “charango” and “cuatro.” The fandangos and boleros played on them also have their roots in European baroque music, but they have evolved their very own rhythmic characteristics.
The ensemble L’Arpeggiata under the direction of Christina Pluhar combines European baroque instruments such as theorbo, cornetto, violin and psaltery with traditional South American instruments in a melange of traditional and folk music, baroque music and more recent compositions. Those familiar with the romanesca will hear it clearly in this Venezuelan folk song, whose refrain says, “singing is full of meaning, understanding, reason.”