Friday, 13 February 2015

Surprise workshop visit, Funchal, Madeira - Carlos Jorge Pereira Rodrigues


Life for a lady with a ukulele or two just gets more interesting!

We were on holiday. A chance encounter led to us being directed to the workshop of Carlos Jorge Periera Rodrigues, luthier of the Madeiran machete (braguinha), the father of the ukulele (see posts from yesterday and earlier in the week). We got there, LSH and I. LSH didn't mind one bit - he's golden. The door (always decorated with a hibiscus flower) was opened by a very handsome young man with black curly hair and a beard - Carlos's son, who made us very welcome and showed us his father's work as best he could. Henrique was particularly proud of the tiny and exquisite machetinho which his father had made - (see photo yesterday) and here are some more of the pics we took.

This is a machete from the early 1900's. Of course, Carlos Rodrigues did NOT build this one!

And here I am with Carlos's son, who was so lovely to talk to - and the lovely tiny machetinho made by his father.
The machete (braguinha) is a solo instrument, tuned DGBD, low to high, traditionally with metal strings, I believe but also with nylon strings in Madeira. The top is always solid spruce. (For more information see also my posts from yesterday, and from a couple of days earlier.....)

What an array of instruments! Awaiting restoration...

Mandolins and guitars too...

Henrique with "a challenge" - a very damaged braguinha, which he plans to try to restore as he learns his father's craft.

and finally...

A piece of reclaimed spruce from a piano - perfect for the top of machetes! Old wood is superior, Henrique tells me.

Our surprise visit to the workshop was a wonderful experience, it was a shame that Carlos was not there as I would love to have met him, but his son was so kind and spoke of his father's work with such pride. What a joy, a real holiday highlight. My thanks to Henrique and to Carlos for his input since our return.

If anything need correcting in this post, Carlos will tell me and I will put it right. Meanwhile, here is a lovely Youtube video of Madeira, showing Carlos in action talking about his work and the machete, (braguinha) with subtitles in English and some music played by Roberto Moniz.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. One more amazing thing about Carlos's work to show you - next time! As for me, I plan to tune a ukulele like a braguinha (machete) DGBD to try it out, very soon! Thanks for dropping in!

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HI! I hope you enjoy this blog and I'd love to hear your comments! But I know you'll forgive me if I read them over before I click the "publish" button! Thanks!