Cheo Hurtado from Venezuela is an acclaimed musician, who received many awards and plays besides several other string instruments the four-string Cuatro.
This small instrument is normally used for the rhythmic accompaniment in the folkloric tradition of Venezuela, but Cheo Hurtado plays it so sophisticated that it becomes an outstanding solo instrument.
Born in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela on May 2, 1960. Son of the guitarist and composer of Venezuelan popular music, Ramón Hurtado, his master, who initiated him in the field at 7 years of age. At age 13 Cheo Hurtado won the first prize in the National Cuatro Festival.
Between 1975 and 1983 he worked as a teacher of cuatro, guitar and mandolin in the Ciudad of Bolivar Culture House, where he founded in 1977 the Carlos Raúl Villanueva Students Band. He was also founding member of the Cuerda de Carmito, a traditional Guianese musical group, and played double Bass in the Angostura Orchestra, conducted by Juanito Arieta. In 1985 Cheo Hurtado moved to Caracas where he founded the wellknown Gurrufio-Ensemble together with Luis Julio Toro and Cristóbal Soto. He was also member of Un Solo Pueblo, a pop music group, and conductor of the Costa Caribe Group and of Bandolas de Venezuela.
Cheo Hurtado has played together with many national and international music figures such as Alirio Diaz, Aldemaro Romero, Paquito D'Rivera, Oscar D'Leon, Simón Diaz, Bella Fleck, Serenata Guayanesa, Soledad Bravo, Lilia Vera, Maria Teresa Chacin among others.
With the Gurrufio Ensemble, Costa Caribe and Bandolas de Venezuela he has frequently toured USA, Japan and Europe since 1982 .
Cheo Hurtado and the cuatro
Cheo Hurtado has specialized in the cuatro as a solo instrument, seizing all the expressive possibilities, while creating the melody, harmony and rhythm, using the arpeggios and plucking. He also masters the mandolin, the guitar, the tres, the bass, as well as bandolins from different Venezuelan regions.
Cheo Hurtado uses the so called traditional tuning in his work as soloist of the instrument. He has a very well developed charrasqueo technique in his right hand, as well as a full command of the diapason (finger-board), which has led him to request cuatro manufactures to add several frets additional to those normally used. A particular feature of his performance is to play melodies all together, and, in his last works, a wide variety of dynamic and timbric shades.
Cheo Hurtado has devoted to the research gathering and spreading the Guianese traditional music, his native region. Some of the most outstanding musical genres are: the guasas, joropo, aguinaldos and parrandas, navidenos, waltzes and calypsos.Outside Venezuela Cheo Hurtado became well known by his collaboration with the Ensemble Gurrufio.
On Cuatro arpas y un Cuatro Cheo Hurtado plays together with four of the best harpists from Venezuela: Eudes Alvarez and the three younger musicians: José Archila, Alexis Ojeda and Carlos Orozco.
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