By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Mauro Núñez Cáceres
Mauro Núñez was born near Villa Serrano (Chuquisaca, Bolivia) in January 1902. In 1914 he moved to the capital of the department, Sucre, to go to the Salesian School, where he developed an interest in sculpture and charango playing, and self-taught himself to play the instrument.
In 1931 he moved to La Paz and joined the "Tiawanacu" theatre company. Here he took his first musical steps, while pursuing another of his passions: theatrical scenic painting. While touring with "Tiawanacu" he decided to settle down in Lima, Peru. In this country he lived two decades, working at the Peruvian Company of Arts and sharing the stage with Moisés Vivanco and famous Yma Sumac. Accompanying the latter, Núñez travelled South America and during a tour in Argentina he made the decision to establish himself in Buenos Aires.
In Argentina, he collaborated with the pianist Ariel Ramirez and with a number of other musical ensembles, went on several regional tours and took part in a film titled "Pachamama" (Roberto de Ribón, 1944). His path took him into teaching (one of his students was Argentine renowned charango player Jaime Torres) and he was committed to disseminate and exchange information as well as to expand the charango's possibilities, until then regarded as a "minor" instrument.
Núñez returned to Bolivia towards 1957, where he continued pursuing his passions: making charangos, wood carving, painting... and teaching. He founded the "charangología", a charango quartet (consisting of bass charango, baritone charango, model charango and walaycho) attempting to imitate the sound of the classical string quartet. He also invented several mixed instruments and new versions of the standard charango (e.g. asymmetric charangos). In addition, he composed over 40 musical pieces, including "Canción y huayno", "El arriero", "Poncho ponchito" and "Fantasía para quenas".
Núñez died in Sucre in October 1973, leaving behind an indelible imprint that is present, to a larger or lesser extent, in today's charango players.
Mauro Núñez, in Wikipedia [es].
Article. "Mauro Núñez Cáceres", in Diccionario Cultural Boliviano [es].
Article. "Las trayectorias artísticas de Moisés Vivanco y Mauro Núñez en el ambiente 'folclórico' limeño", by José Sotelo Maguiña. In Charango Perú [es].