Cradling the fuzzy corpse
of the armadillo in my hands, I wonder whether the murder and taxidermy of this curious critter was worth the effort in making this South American specialty instrument. I strum the nylon strings of the Bolivian charango. Out of the hollow body bursts a loud chord that resoundingly answers that question; totally worth it.
This ukulele-like instrument is now made out of wood because it is more cost effective and less gruesome. One of them came into our instrument repair shop recently for a snapped-off bridge and this one is legit; the spiny fur on its body kinda gives you the creeps when you play it. I mean, imagine having your stiff corpse being used for decades for merrymaking activities (see the damaru, sometimes made from human skulls). There is no replacement bridge available for it, so I had to reattach the original. Click the images for the higher-resolution versions of each.