As part of the Violinabox project I carried the violin down to Mexico. The first stop was to visit Damian Stoppani, one of the most unusual violinmakers you’ll ever come across. Originally from Villa Constitución, Argentina, Damian now lives and works in a 1970’s Mercedes school bus that he converted into a mobile violin shop christened “Lutheria Sobre Rueda” Lutherie on Wheels. In 20xx Damian left Argentina with $20 in his pocket and, over the course of 5 years worked his way up to Alaska and back down to Mexico where he came to a temporary stop during the Pandemic.
You can read about his adventures, many of them driven by his errant dog Baco, in his book.
I tracked Damian down to Ateaga, a small town in the desert near Monterrey, Mexico. Damian was the last violinmaker to contribute to the internationally built violin, Violinabox. He did the violin set-up, putting on the strings and fittings and making sure that everything was working right. Once the violin was playable the real fun began and we started collecting the first few video recordings made with the violin. The first was a piece “Felicidad”, composed specially for the launch of the violin by the amazingly talented violinist, fiddler, composer, Manuel Zogbi. Next was an unexpected pleasure, Damian sat in with a local Celtic music band
After Arteaga I went down to Mexico City to visit my old friend, violinmaker, Claudia Reynosa. We spent a day wandering the streets and picked up a couple of contrasting recordings. The first was classical, recorded outside of the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The next was very definitely street music from one of the Mariachi bands in Plaza Garibaldi.
You can see the Violinabox recordings as they come out on our new Violinabox Facebook page
Track the travels of Violinabox on the new website violinabox.org