Les Luthiers is an Argentine comedy-musical group, very popular also in several other Spanish-speaking countries such as Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela. They were formed in 1967 by Gerardo Masana, during the height of a period of very intense Choral Music activity in Argentina's state universities. Their outstanding characteristic are the home-made musical instruments (hence the name luthiers, French for "musical instrument maker"), some of them extremely sophisticated, which they skillfully employ in their recitals to produce music and texts full of high class and refined humor. From 1977 until his death in 2007, they worked together with Roberto Fontanarrosa, a renowned Argentine cartoonist and writer.
Les Luthiers began writing humorous pieces primarily in a Baroque style, especially imitating vocal genres such as cantatas, madrigals and serenatas. Later, they diversified into humorous renditions of music in other genres, from romantic lieder and opera to pop, mariachi and even rap. Their stage show is often intermingled with humorous skits, often involving absurd situations, the music and biography of fictional composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero and a heavy reliance on fairly sophisticated word play. Much of the humor derives from the basic contradictions between the formality and highly developed vocal and instrumental technique of classical musicians and the sheer silliness of their show. Three members of the group also provided their voices for the pigeons in the Latin American and Spanish dubbings of the 2008 Disney film, Bolt.
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