Peru donates instruments to museum

Guido F. Loayza, the consul general of Peru, demonstrates the cajita – a traditional percussion instrument – at the National Music Museum Friday, Sept. 30. The Peruvian government donated the cajita and another instrument called the cajón to the museum. (Photo by Travis Gulbrandson)

The National Music Museum added to its growing list of instruments on Friday, Sept. 30, when it received two percussion instruments from a representative of the Peruvian government.

Guido F. Loayza, consul general of Peru, presented the museum with a cajita and a cajón, on behalf of his country.

The new instruments were manufactured by the Peruvian company, A Tiempo de Percusion Eirl.

"This is a great opportunity for a representative of a friendly country to be here and to do something very small for this wonderful museum," Loayza said at the presentation.

Dr. Larry Schou, dean of the College of Fine Arts, accepted the instruments on behalf of the museum, promising, "We will display them very well."

Ted Muenster of the museum's development office said the donation came about after Ricardo Malca, deputy consul of Peru from Washington, D.C., visited the museum last year.

"They felt we needed some additional representation from Peru, and that's how all this came about," he said.

Both instruments were given impromptu demonstrations by Dr. Darin Wadley, director of percussion studies at USD, despite the fact that he had never played them before.

The cajón is a large wooden box that is played by a person who sits on top of it and slaps its front and side.

The cajita is a small hand-held box with a lid that the player opens and closes, and a stick he or she uses to tap the sides.

Loayza said both instruments – which feature prominently in Afro-Peruvian jazz – reflect the diverse cultural make-up of Peru.

"Through colonization, we have a diffusion of races and different groups that contribute to the (culture) of our country. So, we have some percussion instruments that now are used all over the world in modern music," he said.

Muenster agreed, adding, "The Peruvian instruments are not old instruments. They are new, but they are representative of certain elements in the folk tradition of Peru, and they'll be very fine additions to the collections."

Loayza extended his thanks to the community for its hospitality.

"I felt like I was in my country," he said. "I would like to thank all the authorities here at the university and all the friends who have made my wife and myself have a very good stay here in Vermillion. …

"I'm sure we will remember you for the rest of our lives," he said.

For more information on the National Music Museum, visit

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