It was inaugurated on March 1, 2008 with the sponsorship and support of the Municipality of Guayaquil and bears the name of Julio Jaramillo to pay tribute to the singer from Guayaquil popularly known as “JJ” or “Nightingale of America”, who is considered as the best Ecuadorian popular singer of all times and a symbol of national music.
Its purpose is to preserve, enrich and disseminate our musical heritage to the new generations. The museum recounts a century of the history of prominent authors, composers and Ecuadorian musical promoters.
The historical tour begins in 1892 when the first music school of Guayaquil was established, and ends in 1978 with the death of Julio Jaramillo. It also comprises a historical vision of the phonographic industry in Ecuador and the world, rescuing the contribution of the pioneers of local radio broadcasting and the national recording industry.
Black and white photographs, album covers, magazines, jukeboxes, tapes, music scores, clothing, musical instruments and audio equipment from old to modern times. There is also an exhibition of objects and music scores from 1892 that belonged to the first Music School of Guayaquil, which turned professional the careers of several empirical artists.
Other attractions are the statues of musicians popularly known as “lagarteros” who performed the traditional serenades under the balconies of the old houses of Guayaquil, replicas of popular bars like “La lagartera” and “Fortich” that were very fashionable in past decades.
Among the exhibition of giant prints, stands out the one of the first orchestra from the Philanthropic Society that was established in 1920 by Claudio Roza. The band composed a hymn and a martial song for former president of Ecuador, general Eloy Alfaro Delgado. Musician Nicolas Mestanza Alava was the most notable of the group, as highlighted by the museum; he was popularly known as “child prodigy” since he became the director of the orchestra when he was a minor.
One of the photographs that stand out for its historical value is the one that shows the trip to New York of 1930, carried out by the famous group Ecuador formed by Nicasio Safadi and Enrique Ibañez. The musicians arrived to the Columbia Records studio alongside their promoter Domingo Feraud Guzman, to record several songs including the pasillo “Guayaquil de mis Amores”, which became a popular hymn for the people of Guayaquil.
Another outstanding photograph is the one of the “American Park”, which was owned by businessman from Guayaquil, Rodolfo Baquerizo Moreno; a fashionable place in the decades of 1940 and 1950. It was a sports and entertainment complex that carried out traditional dances with the best national and international music bands.
Regarding the Ecuadorian phonographic industry, which had the company “Ifesa” as its icon for being the first one to produce records, the first album of 78 revolutions per minute is exhibited, which was recorded and sold in the country and included the pasillo “ En la lejanía” (in the distance), whose music was composed by music icon from Guayaquil, Carlos Rubira Infante and the lyrics were written by Wenceslao Pareja.
Music scores and original albums of the pasillos “Ensueño Romantico” (romantic enchantment), “De Corazon a Corazon” (from heart to heart) and “Limosnas de Amor” (handouts of love) can be appreciated in the museum, performed by the duet Ecuador that were recorded during their trip to New York.
Among the audio equipment there is a gramophone invented by German Emile Berliner and a phonograph invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1877, which was the first one to reproduce sounds that were recorded through cylinders made of wax, which were the predecessors of the so-called flat records later produced by Berliner using materials like zinc and slate that allowed the reproduction of high quality sounds. Also the traditional radios and jukeboxes that was very popular from the 50’s to the 70’s, which now are considered relics.
The photographs of the so-called “Estudiantinas”, which were musical groups formed by women and very fashionable at the beginnings of the XX century, are another attraction since the bands played unusual stringed instruments like bandurrias, mandolins, liras and classic guitars.
There is a special exhibition dedicated to Julio Jaramillo that shows a wax statue and a bust of the singer; photographs, clothing, records, album covers, newspaper clippings and other articles related to him.
Among the articles that stand out there is a recreation of a boy making shoes allusive to the first job of Julio Jaramillo, before he dedicated fully to music, and a painting representing a photograph of the singer taken with several important personalities like famous Ecuadorian actor Ernesto Alban, who immortalized “Don Evaristo”, a popular character from the sierra region, which criticized social, political and folklore aspects of the country; radio broadcaster Carlos Armando Romero Rodas, one of the major promoters of Julio Jaramillos’ career and other artists. The picture was taken at the popular bar “Rincon de los Artistas” (artists corner), which was the gathering place for the bohemian artists of the city.
the museum has an auditorium (multipurpose room) with a capacity for 120 people for audiovisual projections and to carry out special programs that allow the contact between the public and popular musicians. The area, by the name of composer Nicasio Safadi, is aimed to promote the talent of young interpreters and future national composers.
The main subjects of the program are in charge of recognized representatives of Ecuadorian music, like Carlos Rubira Infante, Fresia Saavedra, Naldo Campos, among others.