Various Artists

Music of the Maya-Quiches of Guatemala: The Rabinal Achi and Baile de las Canastas

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In 1945 the researcher Henrietta Yurchenko traveled to Central America in order to record the indigenous music of Guatemala. The 23 diversely fascinating cuts on this Folkways release reflect the success of Yurchenko's trip and -- more importantly -- the bounteous cultural legacies that make Guatemala what it is. Free jazzish trumpet and idiophone trios shuffling it out, torrential 6/8 percussionists interacting with squealing chirimia players, and intriguingly dissonant marimba ensembles that are redolent of Harry Partch's maniacal music can all be heard here. The particular foci of this recording, as can be discerned from the album's title, are the sounds associated with two dramatic performances that delve into such issues as Spanish domination and Mayan spirituality. Liner notes, written by Yurchenko, describe both performances in detail. All in all, this is a terrific album that captures both provocative sonic passages and complex ritualistic displays.

Track Listing

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