The Siren’s Guitar: A Musical Paddling Adventure


by Stephen Snyder

  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5
  • No. Pages: 212
  • Published: 2012
  • ISBN: 978-1-935914-11-2


Two musician/kayakers paddle around Sun and Moon islands of Lake Titicaca in search of caves that, according to local folklore, are visited at night by water spirits (sirenas) who come to play instruments left by local musicians. Traveling with an Andean ten-stringed charango, the author writes of their explorations and attempts to uncover the truth behind the sirena belief, and of their encounters personal, musical and environmental in this immense blue lake 12,000 feet high in the Andean mountains.

"Fellow charango player"

Along the way the kayakers meet concerned Bolivians (are they going to drown in those tiny boats?), musicians, storytellers,activists, shamans and perhaps even a sirena herself. This is a travel story that shows a process of opening oneself up to beliefs and customs of other cultures, and the sometimes humorous and always humbling results of such endeavors. The story continues after the author returns home, when the siren’s song literally becomes a life saver. The book is illustrated with 46 photographs. A recording of charango songs is available from the author’s website