Diómedes Díaz

El Mundo

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This recording is a superb introduction to the popular folk music style from Colombia known as vallenato. Listeners looking for a North American reference could think of this as a kind of folk-rock in which driving rhythms and quite a sharp texture recall the classic singles of Simon & Garfunkel. Of course, this is with Spanish singing and accordion taking the lead guitar's place in the mix, plus quite a scintillating patter of percussion. That this combination of musical feels would become a national phenomenon is no surprise; a pair of feet literally planted in swamp mud goo would be the only thing to keep someone from rising up in joy at the sound of this wonderful music. Vocalist Diomedes Diaz had been in action more than a decade when he pulled off this collaboration with accordionist Colacho Mendoza, also known as Nicolas Mendoza and just plain Colacho. Both artists seem in their prime in this collection of songs, beginning with the majestically tragic "Lost Happiness" and concluding with "La Rasquinita," or "The Little Itch." Other highlights include the ironic story of the excessive "Hombre Parrandero" and a beautifully romantic "Se Te Nota en la Mirada." A few exposures to this program and the little itch starts to spread; the prolific recording career of Diaz means the vallentato style could wind up having a rash-like effect on a record collection.