Traditional Artistic Heritage

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Suaty is a workshop with more than 30 years of experience actually led by Master and Luthier Luis Oscar Molina Rodriguez. There are ten (10) artisans (6 women and 4 men) involved in an artistic and musical experience, both music and making of instruments are learned by the group. This workshop has been producing for more than 4 generations traditional musical instruments and preserving our cultural roots as an important legacy. Knowledge was acquired through the experience and complemented with music studies done by the latest generations. Originally aborigens were taught by their ancestors, this is a sort of a cultural interchange where we have received and added at the same time modern concepts to the making process looking for obtain the best quality tune and sound along with the best finishes according to the market requirements. We have worked with communities from Andean region, Ticunas from Amazons, Naza tribes from the southern Colombian territories and Arahuacos from Snowy Sierra Mountains at the Atlantic region. The most representative instruments of these ethnics are included in our inventory. Some of them data from pre-Columbian times. These art pieces are functional and have evolved in time adapting to nowadays but following ancestral patterns. It allows workshop Suaty to preserve cultural traditions expressed through these traditional musical instruments.

 

Materials

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We produce traditional musical instruments to different regions and ethnic groups from all over our country, it means that materials are collected from regions such as: Amazons, Pacific, Atlantic and the most from the Andean region. Woods and seeds picked from wasted of fell logs and branches are the principal source to elaborate this artistic work, also own wood from plantations harvested by tribes and their ancestors and by new generations actually this task has been done generation after generation to assure that resources are available. Just to mention some of them: Guayacan (Tabebuia Chrysantha), Nazareno (peltogyne purpurea pittier), Granadillo (Platymiscium pinnatum) Algarrobo (Prosopis alba) Macana (wettinia Kalbreyeri) Ceiba blanca (hura crepitans) Tambores (Gyrocarpus americanus) Bejucos (bignoninacéas) Guadua (Guadua angustifolia) pino (podocarpus oleifolius) Urapan (Fraxinus chinensis) Gaita (Selenicereus sp) Maracones (cresentia cujete) Guacharaca (bactris guineensis) Totumo (crescentia cujete) Caracoli ana cardium excelsum caña de cardom : saccharum officinarum and triplex as well. There are other materials used like goat leather, bee wax and seeds like mucuna mutisiana, Enebro (Juniperus communis), Zapote costeño (Manilkara zapota) , azhai (Euterpe oleracea). Materials to produce our traditional musical instruments follow the international guidelines such as those issued by CITES Convention on International Trade in endangered species of wild Fauna and Flora , also known as the Washington Convention. None of our products are included on their list.

 

Techniques

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Our Luthier Master Luis Oscar Molina Rodriguez has learned making of traditional musical instruments from his father who had learned it from his grandfather as well. He studied music since he was a child, he was also taught by natives from Andean region, Ticunas from Amazons, Naza tribes from the southern Colombian territories and Arhuacos from Snowy Sierra Mountains at the Atlantic region. These instruments are made according to Musical scales requested by each specific region, but at the Workshop Suaty we have improved its making applying nowadays techniques on tune. This has allowed these instruments to be interpreted by professional musicians that play contemporary music, all of this, as a result of a high quality policy on tune and sound, preserving a tradition Suaty helps to maintain alive a cultural expression that represents all of us. The first stage of the process is collecting the best pieces of wood and seeds, musical instruments are elaborated by hand, carving, cutting, sanding, drilling then looking for the best finishes and finally polishing, hand tools and carving sets with other technified such as lathe and Craftsman Scroll are used .Natural dyes are obtained using plants: yute, cottom then polishing and finishes are done with natural wax. The almon´s seed is removed from the seed leaving just the cover to produce sound effects. Designs come from aborigin`s ancestors and popular tradition, reflecting communities daily basis, artistic and cultural manifestations of an art practiced by above mentioned tribes, each instrument has its own story according to their rituals and believes, we reproduce them using knowledge and techniques learned directly from tribes and folks that gave us their ancestral artisans heritage and traditions in a cultural interchange. We have develop at the same time an exclusive line for international customers making instruments to other countries like an African shekere an African calimba and a Chilean trutruka. We work the following fundamental frecuencies or pitches, divided in categories: Diatonic, Chromatic, Pentagonic and Major (A, B, C ,D, E, F,G), often, especially in the context of the common practice period, most of all of the melody and harmony of a musical work is built using notes of a single scale. We are proud to say that our contribution has helped natural resources conservation, replacing endangered woods from the Andean Paramos (water natural fabrics ) used in the past, and implementing the use of Guadua (Guadua angustifolia) which is easy to cultivate and does not impact the environment.

 

Common Use

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Our works are used on a daily basis by musicians and interpreters both from traditional and contemporary music. They are essential in celebrations and rituals inside communities such as harvesting and other special events, if we wouldn´t teach this art, some instruments would have be disappeared, because tradition needs to be alive we have a big responsibility with future generations carrying out through the time this cultural representation.

Actually 10 families make their living from this job, 6 women and 4 men, some of them work from their own houses so they can take care of their children. We teach music and to play instruments to young and children from the neighborhood we are helping to preserve folklore and traditions, at the same time we make enough for living, we can pay our children studies in a social environment full of risks for our children like drugs and gangs.

We have been on international events such as The  International Festival of Quenas in Xapala Mexico and also in Expoartesanias during the last five years.