It has been a bit more than a quarter of a century since Colombian Jorge Ariza passed away. He is renowned as the King of the Requinto here and is somewhat a national folklore in Colombian music. The Requinto is a smaller version of the Spanish guitar which you can see him holding in the image above. It has just 4 strings and it is tuned a fourth higher than a standard classical guitar. Today we feature his instrumental Chaflan which was recorded on a 12 metallic string alteration of the Requinto called the Tiple Requinto and released on the 1993 album Vuelve el Requinto (The Requinto Returns), the same year he passed away here in Bogota.
To get a sense of where we are going here we need to look at the title of the song. Chaflan in the denotative sense is a word about construction – when the pointy part of a slab, stone or brick at a corner is bevelled so it doesn’t end up sharp. The musical metaphor of Chaflan is similar in that it cuts notes and makes them more rapid together. So if you repeat chanting tatatatarata, tatatatarata then you effectively have the Chaflan.
Jorge Ariza was born in 1927 in Bolivar in the Santander Department. (see the red pin on the map). He comes from a musical family which was headed by his grandfather Teofilo Ariza who was the creator of a distinct technique of the Requinto. His technique opened the way to show the small tiple Requinto (12 metallic stringed guitar) as a harmonious instrument which pleased those attending in the halls where he offered concerts which showcased chopped bundles of folk melodies impregnated in the spirit of Andean culture.
The life Jorge Ariza is surprisingly less known than his grandfathers. Jorge’s grand nephew Raul Ariza points out that much of the history of his great Uncle, has been passed down in Oral form and Jorge’s immediate family were seemingly unwilling to share about him in order to reconstruct a detailed past. But Raul Ariza has dedicated his musical passion to following his forbears and he himself has passed it onto to his son Raulito both pictured below (left and centre).