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Meet Itinerante, a trio reviving Colombia's Andean music

The Colombian group Itinerante.
Juan Diego Muñoz
The Colombian group Itinerante.

On a recent late afternoon, on the thirteenth floor of a high-rise apartment building near downtown Bogotá, the three members of Itinerante are rehearsing a classic piece of Colombian Andean music from the early 1900s, called "Juguete."

At the center of this music, and this band, are three types of stringed instruments, two of them native to Colombia. There's the tiple, a twelve- and steel-stringed guitar-like instrument, played by 33-year-old Diego Bahamón, the bandola, a twelve-string mandolin-like instrument played by 24-year-old Mateo Patiño, and the six-string Spanish guitar of 38-year-old Sebastián Martínez.

By elegantly folding in influences like Led Zeppelin and Queen, the three have quickly moved towards the center stage of the Colombian Andean music scene. They are, according to Paulo Sánchez, director of the Bogotá venue Teatro ColSubsidio, "bringing back the trio format to a superlative level."

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Betto Arcos
Betto Arcos is a freelance music journalist. He writes stories about music from around the world, with an emphasis on Latin America. He has been a contributor to NPR programming since 2009, when he began reviewing music for All Things Considered on the weekends.