Elias Perez (1957 - )

Born in Puebla, Mexico in 1957, Elias Perez grew up singing and playing the traditional music of his extended family and enjoying the music of the gypsies who often camped nearby his Mexican home. An accomplished guitar player, Perez was drawn to the folk music of the Andes that had been brought to Mexico by political exiles from Bolivia and Chile. He originally learned to make guitars from his father as a boy and continues to do so, making one to two guitars a year. While in college, he joined a group who played this musical repertoire and decided to master the quena, a type of flute originally made by the Incas. Borrowing a quena from a friend, he taught himself how to play, and when he couldn’t find a good flute for himself he started making his own instruments from bamboo. In the late 1970s Perez moved to Utah to study at the College of Eastern Utah. Without bamboo to make his flutes he experimented with various woods, comparing the sounds they made. Work in a machine shop led him to try aluminum tubing as an alternate material, and ultimately he constructed not only quenas out of aluminum but also zamponas, flutes traditionally made of five cane tubes tied together. Perez has also made other Andean instruments, some of which he plays in the band “Los Hermanos de los Andes,” to which he now belongs. Most recently he crafted an unusual black walnut charango, a stringed instrument traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo. Elias Perez was featured in Hecho en Utah, a Utah Arts Council show at the Chase Home (1992); his work is also represented in the State Folk Art Collection, and he’s currently teaching classical guitar making classes in Price, Utah.

Elias Perez
Andean-style Flute (Que...