Peña are a collective that put together this impressively presented compilation of Afro-Peruvian music. These are largely unknown performers to most ears, but that doesn't make them any less impressive -- Sofia Rei Koutsovitis is a powerful, emotive singer, and Javier Choy is a remarkable find as a guitarist. Producer Cory J. Wong is involved on both sides of the mike (the sessions weren't studio formal, but recordings were made anywhere they could) and has some chops as a guitar player, but he comes to this music from the outside. There's plenty to love here, and it offers another view of the genre to that propounded by Susana Baca, for instance. Largely instrumental (although watch out for singer Victor León), there's a wealth of percussion talent. The delicate woodgrained box makes it stand out, and there's an accompanying DVD. What would have been really useful, though, is more in the way of liner notes to help define Afro-Peruvian music, its constituent parts, and more of its history. As that's not there, the music has to speak for itself -- and does so quite eloquently.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2