Various Artists

Peru & Bolivia: The Sounds of Evolving Traditions

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Part of Multicultural Media's ever-increasing set of Music of the Earth albums, this installation on Andean music is, like most of the others in the series, a worthwhile listen. The CD starts with the stunningly smooth virtuosity of Florencio Coronado on arpa on "Farewell to Ayacucho Town," a traditional arpa piece, and then on "El Condor Pasa," which is actually a piece composed by Spaniard Daniel Robles in the 20th century to sound like traditional Andean music. Coronado's smoothness is then followed by the rougher work of blind arpist Leandro Ramos on a pair of tracks. Following the section of arpa works, there is a section of mountain music that has made its way into Lima, mostly by a fiesta group known as Familia Rodriguez, and a section of similar works from the clubs of La Paz, by an ensemble known as Pena Naira. One interesting work from this section is "Pio Pio," from the streets of Lima, making use of European brass instruments, but in the fashion of Andean panpipes -- a rather distorted type of sound with the heavily different tuning systems, but worth giving a listen. Following the urbanized music are numerous examples from the Titicaca region of various instruments, mainly in demonstration-type settings, followed by some works from the Cuzco region, including, of course, the music played to accompany the bringing in of multiple pots of beer. Overall an entertaining album for one who already has an inclination for Andean music, though it might seem a bit rough to those who don't.

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