Throughout March, and as part of Baroque Spring, Lucy Duran explores Latin American Baroque in Paraguay and Bolivia. This week she's in Asuncion Paraguay where she meets the country's most celebrated harpist Nicolas Caballero. Plus she goes in search of the small and elusive Afro-Paraguayan community. Producer James Parkin
World Routes gets to the heart of Latin American Baroque in two of the continent's most musical nations. The programme makes exclusive recordings of music and musicians that date from the Baroque period, as well as other traditions that date from before or after the 16th and 17th Centuries.
In Paraguay, the focus is the harp which has become the national instrument. Duran hears it in its modern form, visits a harp school where children get off the streets and learn music, and also records one of the only true replicas of a Baroque harp on the whole continent. She savours the unique atmosphere of Misiones where she stands amongst the ruins listening to young students recreating the choral sounds of the banished Jesuits. Plus there's country music recorded on a working ranch and a session with one of the world's greatest female guitarists, Berta Rojas.
In Bolivia, Duran travels to La Paz to record the traditional panpipes of Lake Titicaca at around 4000m above sea level. Further down the mountain, there's the Andean sounds of Bolivia's most celebrated group: Los Masis. They're based very close to the spot in Sucre where Simon Boliva declared independence for the continent. And at sea level there's music from Amazonian Indians, and Baroque music written by indigenous composers in the 17th Century, but performed these days by a youth orchestra in the exquisitely renovated churches of San Jose de Chiquitos.