Nati Cano is a giant in mariachi music, having led one of its finest ensembles since 1961 (Nati Cano's Mariachi los Camperos). He is often credited with bringing mariachi music to the forefront rather than simply acting as a backup band for singers. Llegaron los Camperos: Concert Favorites of Nati Cano is just what the title advertises: many of their best known tunes (often presented in medley form), performed and recorded in 2004. Los Camperos have a lusher sound than the standard mariachi ensemble (two trumpets, two violins, guitar, vilhuela, and guitarron), achieved by adding more violins and bringing back the harp, which was basically replaced by the far more portable guitarron. The detailed arrangements really come alive on this recording, with the band offering all the exuberance and passion expected from a good mariachi ensemble. With Llegaron los Camperos: Concert Favorites of Nati Cano, Smithsonian/Folkways has offered up another fine volume documenting the rich and disparate traditions of indigenous music, and the mariachi curious could do far worse than starting here.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard