BRIDGEPORT – The Newington-based Armando Zarazu and Mestizo Manta will explore Andean music and culture in a two-part appearance Thursday, April 17, at Housatonic Community College.

The group, which hails from Peru, will conduct a workshop with HCC students from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. At the workshop, the group will develop a performance piece with the students. At 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, the piece developed in the workshop will be performed and the group will give a solo performance.

Mestizo Manta was formed in 1994 to bring Andean music to the area. The group performs different styles of music from each Andean nation: San Juanitos from Ecuador, Huaynos from Peru, cumbias from Colombia, sikuris and tinkus from Bolivia and many other Latin American folk styles.

Their melodies are performed on native instruments such as the quena (Indian flute), the zamponas (panpipes), bombo/Tinya (drums), shacshas (seeds), palo de lluvia (rain sticks) and the charango (a small guitar with five double strings born in the Andes), blended with European instruments such as the acoustic guitar, mandolin and violin.

The two events are being held as part of the college’s Third Thursday Cultural Celebration series. During most months in the academic year, a performing artist representing a specific culture comes to the college on the third Thursday to develop and perform a piece with Theater Arts students and give a solo performance.

The events, which are free and open to the public will be held in the Performing Arts Center at the college. HCC is located at 900 Lafayette Blvd. (Exit 27 off I-95 and exit 1 off Rte 8 South) in downtown Bridgeport, one block from the Arena at Harbor Yard.