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Rapsodia para un Cuatro: Venezuelan Instrumental Masterpieces ca. 1973

by Ali Landaeta

Golpe No. 1 01:27
Golpe No. 2 02:24
Golpe No. 3 02:06
Flor Rebelde 02:39
Armonias 02:48


Ali Landaetra was born Feb. 14, 1943, and was raised in the Barrio Neuva of Santa Eulalia, Venezuela (20 miles south of Caracas). He began to play the cuatro (a four-stringed instrument that is much smaller than a Spanish guitar and larger than a baritone ukulele) at the age of 9. He taught himself to play several instruments but was discouraged from being a musician by his father. He was, however, encouraged by members of the Oropeza family of musicians, one of whom produced this recording.

Landaeta studied music theory. His approach to the curatro was extraordinary, making what is generally a strummed, folk instrument into a highly developed virtuoso instrument equivalent to both the Spanish guitar and the harp. He taught stringed instruments for 30 years at the Academia de Música Monjosé in Los Teques.

Of the four scarce LPs he made, one playing harp and three playing cuatro, this one, comprised entirely of original compositions, was produced by the songwriter Oswaldo Oropeza (b. Aug. 5, 1937; d. Dec. 3, 1998). It was apparently his first, recorded around 1973 when Landaetra was about 30 years old.

None of his recordings have previously been reissued or circulated online to the best of our knowledge. Around 1990, he received a vision and became a faithful Christian, and dedicated himself to devotional work. In 2016, he characterized himself as a researcher and told a local news organization:

"We are experiencing difficult times in our country. The message for children and young people is that they should know the culture, learn from the instruments. God gives each human being a faculty. We need to create, investigate. The cuatro is an extraordinary instrument, just like the harp. Anyone who wants to learn, I can teach him"


released August 29, 2023

Original recordings produced by Oswaldo Oropeza
All compositions and performances by Ali Landaeta

Transfers, restorations, and notes by Ian Nagoski


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Canary Records Baltimore, Maryland

early 20th century masterpieces (mostly) in languages other than English.

An hour in clamor and a quarter in rheum.

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