At TEDxRidodelaPlata in Buenos Aire, a string quartet came onstage bearing odd-shaped string instruments and introduced the crowd to their unique brand of chamber music. This was Aqualactica, a quartet comprised of family members Gato, Risco, Jaspe and Nagual Urbanski (with help from cellist Leila Cherro) that draws their inspiration from Bach, pop and Argentinian folk music.
The Urbanskis play their music on instruments custom-made and designed by the group’s founding member, Gato, father to other members Risco, Jaspe, and Nagual. Their instruments are a special kind of electro-acoustic hybrid, with an acoustic amplification system that took Gato over ten years to design and develop. Gato has played violin since he was a small child, touring Argentina with orchestras and chamber music groups and studying with famous virtuosi. But he has a passion for a diverse collection of music, which he’s followed by studying the sarangi in India and playing with several rock bands in Buenos Aires .
He developed his first custom instrument in 2001, with cabinetmaker Fernando Scherer who helped him develop an instrument appropriate for his mixed-genre music compositions, a new instrument that fit with his sound. Soon after creating their first 5-string violin, Urbanski and Scherer created an entire family of instruments, including an electro-acoustic cello, viola and a 4-stringed violin.
At TEDxRiodelPlata, those instruments were put into action, as you can see in the performance below. Check it out: