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A Contrabass for the Pugo Brothers

Cuenca. They Became Self-Made Luthiers in their El Cebollar Neighborhood. They Make String Instruments.

A Contrabass for the Pugo Brothers

These Artisans had to Desecrate Several Secrets Before Making Violincellos, Contrabasses, Violins, and Guitars.

But they did it.

by Juan Carlos Morales translated by John L. Walker

Originally published in American Lutherie #73, 2003

When Angel Pugo was a young boy he developed a phobia that never went away: fear of school. His teachers’ intolerance, according to him, was the reason that caused him to not sit near the blackboard anymore. “Those that went around barefooted were never well considered,” says Angel, now a violin maker.

His father, Miguel, had heaped rondadores, flautas de pan, pingullos, and ocarinas1 upon his sons while he watched the corn grow on the hillside. After one of his first “traumas,” as Angel calls them, he also hung up his pingullo and headed towards the Conservatory of Cuenca. “They told me that all they did in the conservatory was repeat do, re, and mi, and that it was very boring. But solfège delighted me.”

The musical center’s director looked at him carefully and said, “You are worth it.” This same director, after sitting him in front of a piano, would choose Angel Pugo as a beneficiary of one of the thirty pianos provided by the government of Jaime Roldós Aguilera.2

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