The Calchakis are a folk ensemble hailing from South America, with most of their members coming from Argentina. This disc, their eighth, is a collection of previously released music from between 1967 and 1985, their first devoted to a single country. Not only does it feature the instruments of the title, it also offers some delightfully rhythmic percussion of Indian origin and a little fiddle. The singers have good voices with a lot of character, but it is their enthusiasm that really impresses.
The general sound here is the Spanish-Incan hybrid of the Argentinean villager or cowboy, although most of the songs are originals. Those familiar with Ariel Ramirez' gorgeous Misa Criola will be on familiar ground. Every track pleases and about one in three is a knock out. The variation in instruments and the mixture of vocals and instrumentals is just right -- no chance of attention-fatigue here. Sunny music that make you feel "life is good."