Various Artists

Sounds of the Andes

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A collection of songs from the various countries of the Andean region, in various styles. The problem here is that the recordings are extremely low-production valued. The recording engineers doubled as percussionists in this case. Despite this, the music is performed rather well. The album starts out with the quintessential Andean tune "El Condor Pasa" (which actually was written more recently to sound like a traditional tune; it has no history of its own to speak of beyond the last 80 years or so). It then moves on through a number of rarities: a Paraguayan polka, a Bolivian war dance, various bits from Colombia, Peru, and Chile, and even a tune from the great political musician Victor Jara. Overall, the charango work is outsanding, as is the majority of the quena work. For a nice look into the Andean music traditions, this one wouldn't be bad at the discount level, although there are numerous other compilations that could provide the same basic concept at a higher quality.