Cuatro - Venezuela
Purchased in Guadalajara, Mexico, November 1997
From Graciela's Notes
The cuatro is a typical Venezuelan instrument and it is usually heard with a Venezuelan harp and maracas playing the typical joropo - the national dance of Venezuela. The cuatro is a small four string guitar that is strummed, usually with speed as the joropo is a fast rhythm. The little cuatro is normally referred to as "guitarra" while the Spanish guitar is called "guitarra grande." I spent two years living in Venezuela, at Campo Tia Juana near Maracaibo, when I worked for Creole Petroleum Corporation from 1956 to1958. The camp was on the shores of Lake Maracaibo. I heard the cuatro played many times but never thought to buy one. I looked for the instrument for many, many years-even when I returned to Caracas, Venezuela in 1976-New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day so everything was closed. Anyway, in 1997 I was touring Guadalajara, Mexico and walked into a music store. They had many stringed instruments so I asked if by chance they had a cuatro. The woman said she had a Venezulan Cuatro and I was just thrilled. Bought it immediately. My forty year search had ended. (I told the woman my story and she, too, was excited for me.) There are also cuatros in Puerto Rico that are a little different from the Venezuelan one. So, I bought this Venezuelan Cuatro in Guadalajara, Mexico in November 1997.