Various Artists

Latin American Peru: Fiestas - Music of the High Andes

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There's some remarkable music here that helps dispel much of the panpipe myth about Andean music -- simply listen to "Marcha Akuchimay," where mandolin rings over a pair of guitars, or the song "Puru Purucha." The harp playing is exquisite (it should be noted that many of the musicians here also appear on Kingdom of the Sun: The Inca Heritage), as is the guitar solo "Vilcas Plazapi," played in a pentatonic style that's unusual for the region. The real meat comes at the end of the disc, however, first with "Chuschi," recordings made at a fiesta in the village of the same name. There's flute and drum, a harpist accompanied by massed scissors, and finally a village brass band that sounds weirdly Balkan in its twists and turns -- albeit taken at much slower speed. Finally, there is "Paucartambo," more village fiesta music, this time with the band playing European dance music (contradances, to be specific) remade in an inimical Inca way, with interesting rhythmic emphases that allow the listener insight into the way Andean music works. Excellent, and also enjoyable.

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