Sonidos y silencios. In English

Home > The site, the author and his work

The site, the author and his work


About Sonidos y silencios | The author | Contact | Tierra sin tiempo | Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo | (Re)building musical instruments | Books, articles and courses | Teaching activities | Wayrachaki editora | Copyright


About Sonidos y silencios

The site Sonidos y silencios (Spanish for "Sounds and silences"), maintained by Edgardo Civallero, is heir to the blogs Bitácora de un músico and Un Sur de sonidos, that were active between 2009 and 2020 and presented products similar to those found in this space, in addition to the now closed digital and bilingual magazine on Andean music and culture Tierra de vientos / Land of winds.

Sonidos y silencios is a space for research and academic production and dissemination. It is focused on Latin American sounds (and silences), especially on the continent's traditional musical instruments, and on the relationship of that enormous and varied sound heritage with memory, identity, and knowledge management disciplines and institutions (libraries, archives, and museums).

It presents the author's academic initiatives (the project Tierra sin tiempo, based on his work Patrimonio en la cama de Procrustes), his educational and informative activities (Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo), his publications (books and articles), and a series of blog posts that appear weekly.

It also includes the editorial proposal Wayrachaki editora, which seeks to disseminate traditional knowledge, stories and memories in digital and open access format.

The author

My name is Edgardo Civallero (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1973), and I am a musician, instrument maker, researcher, educator and writer. I am interested in the sounds and silences of Latin America in general and of indigenous peoples in particular, and I feel a special inclination towards the relationship of that sound heritage with memory and identity.

I have a degree in Library & Information Sciences from the National University of Córdoba (Argentina), where I also studied History (Archeology and Anthropology). I also have a specialization in Epistemologies of the South (CLACSO) and I am finishing a Master degree in Historical Archives and Memory at the Pontifical Javeriana University (Colombia). After years of field work, I specialized in collecting and managing oral tradition and music, as well as indigenous knowledge and library services for indigenous societies.

In the field of music, since 1990 I have been playing Latin American / Andean (traditional, indigenous) wind instruments in various folk ensembles, both in Spain and Argentina, and in 2007 I embarked on a solo musical career, launching the album Vientos de tierra de vientos, featuring Andean instrumental music.

My musical activities go hand in hand with research, education and the dissemination of knowledge. In that sense go my educational projects: a series of cultural and training activities on traditional Latin American sound heritage. In addition, I publish digital, open access documents on musical instruments.

I currently live in Colombia, where I continue to research organology and ethnomusicology, sharing my outcomes, learning and teaching, composing and performing music, building and playing traditional instruments in the old-fashioned way, exploring other musical horizons and participating in new projects. Among the latter is Tierra sin tiempo ("Land without time"), which recovers and puts to dialogue documents and artifacts from libraries, archives and museums related to musical practices (and their necessary silences) and seeks to revitalize memories and create new sound-related ideas.


I can be contacted through my personal email, edgardocivallero (at) gmail (dot) com, or through my social networks (lower navigation bar).

Tierra sin tiempo

Tierra sin tiempo ("Land without time") is an action-research and digital humanities project, based on my work Patrimonio en la cama de Procrustes (Bogotá, 2021).

The project starts from a basic idea: to understand the so-called "(in)tangible heritage" as a kind of "land without time" where many and different collections accumulate, with different roots, historical routes, horizons and formats; collections from which current cultural and identity experiences, proposals and ideas are fed. The idea is nourished by traditional, indigenous and peasant positions on heritage and memory, identified globally and at different times in human history.

From that starting point, Tierra sin tiempo analyzes the role that knowledge and memory management disciplines and institutions (libraries, archives, museums) have played in the fragmentation, decontextualization and isolation of cultural heritage; the reasons for this fragmentation, and its consequences; the potential mechanisms of reconstruction and resignification of the original cultural heritage; and the use of this "land without time" for the creation of new proposals.

This is a theoretical work with practical applications. The latter include the digital platform Tierra sin tiempo (under construction) and the project Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo ("Sounds of a land without time", see below), which works specifically with sound heritage.

Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo

Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo ("Sounds of a land without time") is a cultural activity based on the ideas developed within the framework of the research and reflection project Tierra sin tiempo ("Land without time", see above).

It is a series of educational concerts that, based on the idea of the (in)tangible heritage (and, specifically, the traditional Latin American sound heritage) as a kind of common "land without time", shows, in short presentations, the result of a dialogue between thousands of museum artifacts, recreated or invented instruments, original archival documents in all formats, library texts, and records of rural and urban oral tradition.

All of it, revolving around the musical instruments of Latin America, their stories, their identities, their contexts, their voices, their silences, and their relationships with other spaces.

(Re)building musical instruments

The work developed for years in Sonidos y silencios and its predecessors, together with the one of the project Tierra sin tiempo and, above all, that of Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo (see all above), has led me to come into contact with a huge amount of information related to traditional musical instruments in general, and Latin American ones in particular. Starting to build museum instruments, to (re)build archaeological and ethnographic sound artifacts and to innovate, creating new elements, was only a matter of time for me.

I use the (re)constructed instruments (along with others acquired through various channels) in my teaching activities and, specially, in the concerts of Sonidos de una tierra sin tiempo.

Each one of them is just the tiny end of a huge skein that includes a lot of knowledge and a lot of memories related to their histories, contexts, societies, natures, construction techniques, traditions, territories, languages and myths.

Books, articles and courses

I publish and distribute open-access, digital books, articles and courses, in Spanish and English, on traditional musical instruments, especially (but not exclusively) from Latin America. These publications aim to disseminate basic knowledge about unknown cultural heritage.

All documents are published in digital format (.pdf) and display original bibliographic research on organology and ethnomusicology. The texts are distributed under an international Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0 license and can be read and downloaded here and at ResearchGate, Acta Académica, Issuu, Scribd, and Calameo.

Teaching activities

The educational activities I carry out include didactic concerts and exhibitions, conferences, courses, workshops and seminars, both on Latin American musical instruments, the musical culture they encode and the environment that surrounds them, as well as on oral and sound tradition and its management.

A. Didactic concerts and exhibitions

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. They cover a wide spectrum of topics related to the traditional musical instruments of South America in general and the Andes in particular: from the presentation of families of instruments (aerophones, chordophones, membranophones) to the description by geographical regions / countries, ethnic groups, musical genres or historical periods. All concerts include exhibition and demonstration of instruments, fragments of oral tradition and content based on solid academic sources and research by the author.

Examples: Indigenous instruments of the South American highlands / lowlands | Mestizo / Creole Instruments from South America | Instruments of the Andes | Traditional South American Wind / String / Percussion Instruments | South American Panpipes / Notched flutes / Duct flutes | South American transverse / globular flutes | South American natural trumpets | South American clarinets | South American musical bows / chordophones | South American Percussion Instruments | The sounds of the Gran Chaco / Patagonia / Orinoquia | Musical instruments and traditions of the Quechua / Aymara / Mapuche.

B. Conferences

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. Theoretical events similar in themes to the didactic concerts, although replacing the exhibition and demonstration of instruments by the use of relevant audiovisual and multimedia supports.

Examples: Musical instruments (charangos and sirens, the bands of sikuris...) | Rhythms and musical styles (Colombian chirimía, gaúcha music...) | Traditional music (from the Guaraní, from the Sierra Nevada...) | | Oral tradition and sound culture (in Patagonia, in the Andes...) | Dances and clothing (in the central Peruvian highlands, on the Argentine coast...) | Fiestas, ceremonies and festivals (in the lowlands, on Titicaca...) | Customs, myths and legends (Afro-Bolivians, in the lower Amazon...).

C. Courses and workshops

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. Eminently practical events, which include the construction (only in some cases) and interpretation of traditional musical instruments from South America in general and from the Andes in particular. They focus especially on aerophones and idiophones, and community ensembles of aerophones and membranophones (eg sikuri ensembles), although they also cover many other South American styles and instruments.

Examples: Construction of simple instruments (sikus, quenas, bows) | Performance of solo instruments (quena, pinkillo, zampoña, rondador, tarka, mohoseño, bombo legüero, charango...) | Group performance in traditional ensembles (sikuris, vertical flute groups, Argentine folk quartet, Colombian flutes...) | Performance of different rhythms and styles (by regions, countries, ethnic groups, festivities...).

D. Seminars

Aimed at different types of audience, with different durations and structures. Similar to courses and workshops, but with mostly theoretical and specialized content.

Examples: Musical instruments (by family, by region, by town) | Rhythms and musical styles (by country, by region, by town) | Traditional music (by country, by region, by town) | Oral tradition and sound culture | Dances (choreographies, styles) and clothing (by region) | Fiestas, ceremonies and festivals (by period, by town) | Customs, myths and legends (by region, by town) | Collection of oral tradition (methodology and practice) | Management of oral and sound tradition (methodology and practice) | Methodology of musicological research | Field organology (methodology and practice).

Wayrachaki editora

Wayrachaki editora (Publishing House) was an initiative born in 2007 in Córdoba (Argentina), when independent publishers dedicated to exclusively digital and open access contents were not very well known. Through it, I published (as both author and editor) my works on libraries in indigenous societies (in Spanish).

Resumed today in the same spirit with which it was born (digital books to be distributed under an open access license), Wayrachaki editora focuses on the dissemination of contents related to memories and traditional knowledge, especially indigenous and Latin American ones. So far, books on traditional Latin American musical instruments have been published through this label, but it is open to other authors and other topics, always related to its central theme.

Those interested in the digital book publishing and design services provided by Wayrachaki editora are invited to contact me directly (see email above).

Wayrachaki is a Quechua word that literally means "feet of wind", i.e. "wanderer".


The textual contents published in this space are the intellectual property of the author, unless otherwise indicated, and are distributed by means of a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Work (by-nc-nd) 4.0 International license. This implies that the material can be copied and redistributed in any medium or format, as long as the authorship is properly acknowledged, it is not used for a commercial purpose and the derivative work is not disseminated.