Germán López
Credit: Nacho Gonzalez

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Germán López at AMP by Strathmore

It’s rare to encounter a timple at a concert in the D.C. area. Even if you do, unless you’re acquainted with folk traditions from the Canary Islands, you’re unlikely to recognize this ukulele-sized, roundbacked, five-string guitar. Germán López, a Canary Islands native, wants to change that. His home is geographically closer to Africa, politically part of Spain, and has historically and musically been a bridge between Europe and the Americas, the timple virtuoso tells City Paper. His creations reflect that convergence, blending West African rhythms, Latin American sound, and Canary folk music. López, alongside Spanish acoustic guitar maestro Antonio Toledo and other collaborators, accentuates his music with a flamenco flair and blues and jazz sensibilities that are atypical for the Canary Islands. López and his collaborators merge their styles in Imaginando Folías, an album released this summer that also features long-term idols of his. “With this new project, with so many musicians, there’s a novel way of working,” López says. “When you have percussion, drums, bass, and other instruments, the feeling among musicians on stage and while making music is different. And that creates a different environment and result.” The musician’s devotion to keeping his roots alive while exploring other genres stems from his studies as a youth with the late timple maestro and innovator José Antonio Ramos. The album continues in this path of experimentation, mixing styles, and trying to create music that challenges the timple. “This is an instrument that developed within traditional music, and now I have a chance to explore new paths,” López says. “That’s why the musicians you work with, with their different points of view and their influence over the music you create, are so instrumental to your learning and evolution.” Germán López performs March 13 at 8 p.m. at AMP by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave., Bethesda. $30. Proof of vax and mask required.