In 1960 Teresa and Luis Lopez moved from the village of San Gabriel in the remote Ecuadorian Andes to the capital city of Quito to find a better life. In the city in the clouds, they had four sons and three daughters, all raised in the traditional way, celebrating the cycles of life with the music and dance of their ancestors.
Like most Ecuadorian children, the boys made flutes and panpipes of native bamboo, and learned to play from older musicians. Then, when he was 8, Fernando found an abandoned guitar in a field. Although it had only three strings, he worked out melodies, played and learned. A relative had the guitar repaired. A music teacher noticed his extraordinary talent and sent Fernando to the Quito Conservatory to study classical guitar. But it was the music of the Pueblo, the folk tradition of the Andes, that drew Fernando and his brothers. At a remarkably early age, the Lopez brothers gained a reputation throughout the music circles of Quito as a formidable talent in the folk music world.
In 1986, while still in their early 20s, Fernando and his brother Luis were invited to present a series of concerts at Simon’s Rock of Bard College in western Massachusetts. Since that time, the four brothers have performed on major stages throughout North America, appearing in 48 states in the U.S. They are now based in the Hudson River Valley of New York and tour year round, performing on major concert stages, in festivals, and in countless universities and schools. They return to South America as often as possible to renew their cultural roots.
The music of Andes Manta is a joyous celebration of daily life. Songs and festivals mark the blessing of a house, the birth of a child, and the cycles of planting and harvesting. Energetic music and dance animate religious festivals, blending pre-Colombian and Catholic rituals. Playing more than 35 traditional instruments, Andes Manta brings the Andean universe to North American audiences. They are well known to audiences throughout America for their virtuosity and extraordinary performances.
Fernando Lopez – A founding member of Andes Manta, Fernando has played the entire range of Andean instruments since childhood. He specializes in strings, and most often plays guitar, the bandolin, and the charango.
Luis Lopez – The second founding member of Andes Manta, Luis is a noted virtuoso on the charango and the quena, the Andean flute. Luis learned to play in the traditional Andean way without benefit of written music. Luis has been performing since the age of 13.
Jorge Lopez – The youngest of the brothers, Jorge specializes in the Andean stringed instruments. Like the rest of the group, he also plays all 35 instruments in their repertoire. Jorge joined Andes Manta in 1991 and continues to learn the art from his older brothers, a cultural pattern repeated for thousands of years in the Andes.
Bolivar Lopez – Like his older brothers, Bolivar learned to play Andean instruments as a child. He is a noted wind musician, and is the featured performer on the ronadador, an Ecuadorian panpipe that is unique in the world for the “chordal” note that it produces. It is a difficult instrument to play and requires substantial dedication and talent. Bolivar began performing with Andes Manta in 1989.