A family that plays a new family of string instruments

Aqualactica -- family members Gato Urbanski, Risco Urbanski, Jaspe Urbanski, and Nagual Urbanski -- perform at TEDxRiodelaPlata 2015

Aqualactica performs at TEDxRiodelaPlata 2015 (Photo: TEDxRiodelaPlata)

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.

A look at the performance from the audience

A look at the performance from the audience (Photo: TEDxRiodelaPlata)

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 .

Gato plays his custom violin

Gato Urbanski plays his custom electro-acoustic violin at TEDxRiodelaPlata (Photo: TEDxRiodelaPlata)

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:

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