EL TIMPLE CANARIO by Jim Jarratt
is about Norman Warwick´s favourite instrument
The Timple House-Museum is a space that combines the functions of museum, study centre and cultural space, with the aim of disseminating, preserving and studying the traditional culture of The Canary Islands, having as its central axis what becomes one of the most representative musical instruments of the archipelago. Directed by the timplista Benito Cabrera, a much loved musician on the island of Lanzarote, this centre was born from the hand of the general directorate of co-operation and cultural heritage of the government of The Canary Islands, and is managed by the town council of the town of Teguise. The museum presents, as a central element, a wide collection of timples, as well as instruments from other countries that give dimension to the use of this type of small guitar by many cultures from different parts of the planet. Additionally, the visitor will be able to learn about the folklore of Teguise, contemplate the phases of the construction process of the timple, as well as enjoy various audio-visual elements within the framework of a heritage environment of great architectural interest. The Timple House-Museum also offers a series of scheduled activities such as concerts, courses, talks, etc. Located in the Spínola Palace, in the Villa de Teguise, it complements the offer of one of the oldest municipalities and with the greatest monumental value in The Canary Islands.
The museum project includes a space dedicated to the history of the municipality; with a room dedicated to the history of the timple, it is also the location of pieces from the artisans of Teguise and Lanzarote, completed with timples from fellow artisans from all the islands. Another room houses the instruments of the world that are related to our instrument, a space that, due to its dimensions, as well as its excellent acoustics, serves as a small-format concert hall. A third room is dedicated to the latest generation timples that incorporate new technologies, there is also a section dedicated to the construction process, recreating a craft workshop. The project includes a media room, an outdoor function space and a store.
Having visited the museum many times for formal concerts in the building and to see small ensemble folk performances in the beautiful courtyard this is without doubt my favourite museum. I love the folk-lore music of Lanzarote and its seven neighbouring islands if you have been reading these pages all week you will perhaps agree that the timple has travelled, over the five days, throughout our Festival of Folklore of Lanzarote.
There are also Sunday concerts of timple-led music, song and dance and similar events regularly held in the town square right outside the front doors of this lovely museum (see our cover photo at the top of this page)
WE´RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOOKSHELF
Much as I love the Timple House-Museum, though, I have never noticed, even among the hundreds of items on sale in this place dedicated to the Timple, a book that is said to be a Gringo´s Guide to the instrument.
El Timple Canario by Jim Jarratt claims that The Timple Canario is the coolest, sweetest little guitar in the world – in the Canary Islands that is!
This ‘Gringo’s Guide’ to the instrument, the only one you’re ever likely to find in English, tells you everything you need to know about finding, housing, feeding, looking after and loving one of these delightfully brash, obscure and quirky little musical creatures, which are little known outside their native home.
Jim Jarratt, songwriter, musician and grizzled ‘musical instrument slut’ discovered the Timple ten years ago, at which point he relegated most of his other instruments to the attic. It was love at first strum! A leap of faith and this joy could be yours also – with the help of this book. Viva El Camellito Sonoro!
Let´s complete our celebration festival of Lanzarote by folk-lore, though, by returning to The Timple House Museum. My fellow writer Julie Cliffe-Jones at Lanzarote Information, for which I also write a weekly arts column, loves the The Timple-House Museum as much as I do.
Some while ago now she wrote a piece talking of the spectacular building known as the Palacio de Spínola in La Villa de Teguise that was converted to the Casa Museo del Timple, or Timple Museum in English.
The house was originally built by José Feo Peraza from 1730 – 1780 and was first mentioned as a property of the Spínola family in 1895. The local council bought the property in 1984 where it became the official Lanzarote residence for the Canarian Government. The Casa Museo del Timple was officially opened by the President, Paulino Rivero in March 2011.
She visited the Timple Museum during one of the regular Historical City Tours of Teguise, where it’s situated right in the centre of the old capital, opposite the landmark church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in the Plaza de la Constitución.
She thinks the building is worthy of a visit when in the old capital even if you’re not into music, the house has some wonderful traditional features with water filters, stone floors, wooden ceilings and a beautiful courtyard area.
The interior of the rooms are a stark contrast to the white exterior walls, painted deep red and chocolate brown it took our eyes a moment to adjust after the brightness of the day outside.
There were three rooms with timple displays and information, we particularly liked the Timple de Caja de Puros that had been made by a craftsman called Alejo in Tenerife from a box of Churchill cigars!
Julie spent some time gazing into the old kitchen area with a big stone fireplace and open beamed roof.
The dining room windows were interesting too, each window had shutters and a water filter planted with ferns inset into the recess providing plenty of cool drinking water.
The courtyard is lovely, quaint and again full of interesting features, we could imagine that a concert held here would be intimate and special. There is a replica of the two lion statues from the Plaza waiting to surprise you out here.
The Sala de Reuniones just off the entrance is still used for weddings and important council meetings.
Julie obviously enjoyed exploring this old house of Lanzarote, which is open to the public every day: Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm, Sunday and fiestas 9am to 3pm