Tambora (sometimes called banda) is the term given to the style of brass band music that arose in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. While the brass and woodwind instruments produced music akin to mariachi in its blend of Mexican and German marching band influences, the percussion was produced by drums made in the region, tamboras. The tamboras act as the chief distinction between tambora music and related styles, for both its deep booming and high crashing beats. This CD is a collection of 24 recordings made in the style, most dating from the early '50s, though there are three tracks from the mid-'60s, and a couple from the '90s to serve as illustrations of how the style has endured over the decades. For listeners not schooled in the gradations of differences between related styles, there's a lengthy essay in the booklet that does much to explain those. To the more casual listener, it will sound much like mariachi music with a more pronounced influence of German oom-pah marching bands, as well as somewhat greater variety and emphasis upon solos and counter-melodies than is heard in much mariachi music. The tempos vary from foxtrots and waltzes to boleros and polkas. At its most whirling and up-tempo, there's something of a circus-like atmosphere. The addition of vocals by Las Hermanas Sarabia on one of the mid-'60s cuts (by Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga) do much to make the genre more palatable to those not enamored of the instrumental format.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger