Los Chiriguanos del Paraguay

Explorer Series: Paraguay - Guarani Songs and Dances

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This release in the economy-priced Nonesuch Explorer international series sounded downright normal compared to many of the other titles released around the same time. While a listener could certainly feel like an explorer coming across music from African witchcraft rituals, Haitian voodoo drumming, or an out-of-control celebration from the Himalayas, here are two accomplished musicians holding forth a series of songs that would go over quite well in a coffeehouse. Admittedly it is an unfair comparison, but it did take the bloom off this release slightly when it first saw the light of day. The band, most likely with some changes in membership, has released several other albums over the years. Harpist Pablo Vincente Moral plays a homemade 37-string harp, which although beautiful-sounding, may fall short of the expectations set in the liner notes: "This is the harp that will make evil spirits fly, make the rivers stop flowing, make the cattle forget to eat." Listeners familiar with the music of Paraguay, a blend of Spanish and Indian traditions, have chosen this recording as being a particularly well-balanced performance, not tilting into excess sentimentality as some other recordings in this genre tend to do. Together with singer and guitarist Angel Sanabria, this is a mostly mellow collection of songs, but featuring plenty of space for intriguing picking on both string instruments and some lovely vocals.

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