Rio Cunene is a piece written by Victor Gama for the Kronos Quartet and premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2010.
It's European premiere took place later that year at CCB in Lisbon.
During the process of development the piece’s meanings and focus evolved and centered around Victor Gama's instruments the Toha and the Gacrux (a version of the Acrux) and instruments made by children from a village, called Xangongo, on the banks of the Cunene river in the southern province of Cunene in Angola.
The piece is devided in three movements where the first movement represents the entangled waterways that form the Cunene river up to where it flows by Xangongo. Here the piece is written for standard string quartet.
Connecting the first and second movement of the piece is a short children’s song, sung by a child on the banks of the river, recorded by Victor Gama in 1998.
The second movement is where there is a combination of children’s instruments built from remnant military materials and the quartet’s instruments, although at one point all Kronos Qt musicians play the children’s instruments.
Connecting the second and third movement there is a video with audio of children playing in a military tank that they use as a swing.
In the third movement the quartet play Victor’s instruments, the new Toha, specifically redesigned for the Kronos Quartet and the Galcrux, an instrument that's part of the Acrux family, as well as viola and cello.