Various Artists

Edition Pierre Verger: Andes - From Lima to La Paz

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Despite their original lack of stringed instruments, the Andean cultures certainly picked up on the style well. Here, a series of pieces from the Andean repertoires are presented, largely in a single format -- a strummed lute (probably the charango), along with a handful of quena flutes. The characteristic bomba drums are largely absent, but do appear for punctuation as needed. A harp shows up for a single track (Daniel Robles' classic "El Condor Pasa"), but otherwise it's the basic stripped-down instrumentation. The playing is excellent throughout the pieces, though maybe not as adventurous as one might expect. Because the instrumentation is relatively bare, and the compositions are from the same lump of public domain works, the album can become a bit monotonous after a while. Despite this, though, the whole is a decent exposition of Andean music. There are better compilations out there (for example, the Andean installment of Multicultural Media's line), but this one makes a fair attempt.

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