Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Uruguay - Lauro Ayestarán National Centre of Music Documentation

The Lauro Ayestarán National Music Documentation Centre (CDM) was established by resolution of the Ministry of Education and Culture on March 26, 2009, on the basis of the archive materials of the great musicologist purchased by the Uruguayan state. 

It is, above all, a repository to gather the memory of the music of Uruguay, in the spirit of the musicological endeavours that Lauro Ayestarán developed until his death in 1966.

It lodges documents in different physical or digital supports from all the branches of music.

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Other data of interest




Founding Date



Music archive and documentation, specifically of Uruguayan music. Preservation, restoration and archive, dissemination, research and training.


Avenida Luis P. Ponce 1347 aps. 504 y 505, Montevideo, Uruguay

Telephone Numbers


Person in charge

Coriún Aharonián - Honorary Director

Other members of the Executive

Members of the Honorary Commission: Daniel Vidart, president; Coriún Aharonián, Leonardo Croatto, Luis Ferreira, Rubén Olivera, David Yudchak

Objectives of the institution

The CDM has the task of preserving the documents, restoring them as appropriate and, in every case, to place them at the disposal of researchers and the public in general for consultation. On the other hand, the museum develops activities in order to generate knowledge at the highest level possible: international colloquia on relevant topics, conferences, contributions to research project. Finally, it seeks to divulge the documents contained in its repositories and to make accessible the knowledge generated, through books, records and films, for specialized and non specialized audiences. To all the above we may add the institution’s internet website. Part of the activities developed and the materials published have to do with the music from Montevideo of African origin (see more below), inserted in the culture of the candombe, and other traditional music.

Heritage documents under its protection

Materials from the Lauro Ayestarán Archive: Field recordings (in various supports) and files of the said recordings; musical notations and transcriptions of texts of traditional popular music; photographs (in various formats); original manuscripts and typewritten texts; books, articles published and newspaper clippings.

The state of conservation of these documents in general is good. The original documents are stored in boxes and the boxes in shelves. The storage room has temperature and humidity control.

Use given to this documentation: Dissemination through publications (book, booklets, CDs and DVDs) and the institution's webpage. The materials are also accessible to researchers, teachers and students.


Other publications by the institution


Música/musicología y colonialismo (Music/Musicology and colonialism), minutes of the colloquium by the same name held in 2009, coordinator: Coriún Aharonián.

A multiple vision on colonialism through fifteen texts by musicologists and/or composers from various countries: Olavo Alén (Cuba), Samuel Araújo and the Musicultura Group (Brazil), Jean-Michel Beaudet (France, French Guyana), Egberto Bermúdez (Colombia), Omar Corrado (Argentina), Julio Estrada (Mexico), Juan Pablo González (Chile), Hanns-Werner Heister (Germany), Krister Malm (Sweden), Rafael José de Menezes Bastos (Brazil), Cergio Prudencio (Bolivia), Philip Tagg (Great Britain, Canada), Aurelio Tello (Peru, Mexico), Rodrigo Torres (Chile) and Mario Vieira de Carvalho (Portugal).

Printed edition: 2011. 330 pages, including a DVD with the contribution of Philip Tagg.

Link to digital edition:

La música entre África y América (Music between Africa and America), minutes of the colloquium by the same name held in 2011, coordinator Coriún Aharonián.

A multiple vision on the various aspects of the interaction between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas, through thirteen texts of African and American scholars, covering historic, anthropologic and specifically musical aspects. It includes the welcoming addresses by Daniel Vidart and Ricardo Ehrlich, and the valuable contributions of Joseph H. Kwabena Nketia (Ghana), Apollinaire Anakesa (Democratic Republic of Congo, French Guyana), Kenneth Bilby (United States), Norberto Pablo Cirio (Argentina), Luis Ferreira (Uruguay, Argentina), Reginaldo Gil Braga (Brazil), Jesús Guanche (Cuba), Luis Jure (Uruguay), Portia K. Maultsby (United States), Kazadi wa Mukuma (Democratic Republic of Congo, United States), Olga Picún (Uruguay, México), Anthony Seeger (United States) and Hermes Tovar Pinzón (Colombia).

Printed edition: 2013. 372 pages, including a CD with audio recordings for the texts by Kwabena Nketia and Luis Jure.

Link to digital edition:

El tango ayer y hoy, (Tango Yesterday and Today) minutes of the colloquium by the same name held in 2013, coordinator Coriún Aharonián, in bookstores.

A hefty volume gathering the texts from the colloquium in year 2013 on “Tango yesterday and today”, in collaboration with Ediciones de la Banda Oriental, which will ensure its presence in bookstores. With the participation of speakers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Japan and Uruguay: Egberto Bermúdez, Omar Corrado, Laura Falcoff, Omar García Brunelli, Héctor Goyena, Camila Juárez, Paloma Martín, Hideto Nishimura, Alfonso Padilla, Julián Peralta, Carlos Sandroni, Julio Schvartzman, and the Uruguayans Coriún Aharonián, Boris Puga, Pablo Rocca and Daniel Vidart.

Printed edition: 2014. 488 pages.

Link to digital edition:

Músicos / Fotografías del Archivo Lauro Ayestarán (Musicians/Photographs from the Lauro Ayesterán Archive)

A valuable book of photographs edited in year 2016 by the CDM and the Photography Centre of Montevideo (CdF), with the support of the Commission of Cultural Heritage of the Nation. The carefully printed volume 21 x 21 cm, compiles part of the photographic legacy of the musicologist generated in his twenty-three years of research of popular and traditional music of Uruguay. It was produced after the exhibition held in 2013 in the Photographic Gallery of El Prado from the CdF’s collections, plus some unpublished photographs and materials shown in the exhibit “La Música en el Uruguay por Lauro Ayestarán (volume II)” organized during the same year by the CDM and the Centre for Research, Documentation and Dissemination of Scenic Art (CIDDAE) of the Solis Theatre.

It contains a total of 117 photographs and a section devoted to documents and objects, a photograph book that offers a view of the work of Ayesteran, taken from hundreds of negatives and enlargements produced by Ayesteran himself and by some interesting collaborators. The group of images portrays a true and mestizo country, through men, women and children that more than half a century ago, conveyed not only the sound, but also their customs, and ways of life to our musicologist.


La música en el Uruguay por Lauro Ayestarán Volumen II, (Music in Uruguay by Lauro Ayesteran, Volume 2) homage in the centennial of his birth.

Documentary exhibition, 2013, 32 pp. Curatorship, documentary research and texts by Olga Picún, introduction by Leonardo Croatto.

A 32 page booklet, distributed during the exhibition.

Link to the digital edition:


Colección Documentos del Archivo Ayestarán (Collection Documents from the Ayestaran Archive)

– CD 1: La Llamada de los tambores afromontevideanos entre 1949 y 1966 (2012). (The calling of the Afro Drums of Montevideo from 1949 to 1966 (2012).

Recordings made by Lauro Ayestarán, Henry Jasa, Anibal Rodríguez, Dante de los Santos and Saúl Descoins.

This volume offers a total of 39 recordings that are fragments of llamadas or complete llamadas of the drums of the candombe in Montevideo, made between 1949 and 1966. The recordings in the CD are a musicological treasure, despite the technical problems involved in such recordings. The material, patiently collected by the musicologist, offers an invaluable reference on the evolution process of the language of the drums, allowing a better discussion of the problems put forward by such process more than half a century later.


Colección Músicas tradicionales del Uruguay (Collection Traditional Musics of Uruguay)

– DVD 1: Los toques de los tambores afromontevideanos (2012). (The Drumbeats of Afro Montevideo).

A documentary made with the audiovisual recordings of the following events:

Exhibition in the form of a panel held on September 30th, 2011, in the framework of the International Colloquium on "Music between Africa and America", with the speakers José Pedro Gularte, Waldemar Silva and Aquiles Pintos, members of the Advisory Group of Candombe from the Commission of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

Spontaneous call of January 1st, 2011, held from east to west in the Isla de Flores Street from the corner of Emilio Frugoni.

Parade of the “Llamadas del Patrimonio” (Calls of Heritage) held on October 1st, 2011 in the Isla de Flores Street between Lorenzo Carnelli St. and Yi St., organized by Advisory Group of Camdombe from the Commission of Cultural Heritage of the Nation. Participating ensembles: La Calenda and C 1080 from Barrio Sur; Sarabanda and Zumbaé from barrio Cordón; Integración, Elumbé, Bantú and Sinfonía de Ansina from barrio Palermo.

The documentary was directed and edited by Juan Pellicer.

– DVD 2: Testimonios de tambores afromontevideanos (2015). (Testimonials of afro Montevidean drums)

Documentary containing interviews of the following ensembles of traditional drum playing in Montevideo:

Bantú Ensemble from barrio Palermo made up by Tomás Olivera Chirimini (director), Miguel Ángel García (Chico), Jorge Miguel Magariños (piano), Julio César Magariños (piano) and Wellington Suárez (repique).

Triangulación Kultural project, TK-Uruguay, from barrio Palermo, represented by Sergio Ortuño (repique).

La Calenda from Barrio Sur integrated by Fernando Núñez Jr. (chico), Héctor Noé Núñez (piano) and Sergio Martínez (repique).

The interviews and the script by Dr. Luis Ferreira as director and edition by Juan Pellicer; Mario Jacob, producer; Diego Varela, photograph and camera; César Lamschtein, direct sound and post production. The audio-visual recordings were made on March 4, 2012, in the Hugo Balzo Hall of the Auditorio Nacional del Sodre Dra. Adela Reta of the city of Montevideo. The initial stage of the project had the support of UNESCO’s participation programme.