Various Artists

The Rough Guide to the Music of the Andes

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One of the greatest things about the Rough Guide series is the incredible diversity that they try to pack into the albums. Every style that the producers can find in a region will find its way onto the album in question. This is no exception to the rule. An album of music from Chile, Peru, and the whole of the ancient Incan territories, this one has plenty of the panpipe playing that people recognize as Andean. It also has slightly newer introductions to the Andean scene, such as charangos (a lute like instrument made from the shell of an armadillo). More striking are the newest additions, the nuevo cancion, a "new song," tied in with the politics of revolution in Chile. Guitars and newer vocals were added, and the performers doubled as political rallying points, lobbyists, and rebels (Victor Jara, here on track 17, was actually tortured and murdered during the course of a revolution as a political prisoner). On top of all this, the great world diva Susana Baca makes an appearance as well, showcasing her talent as a vocalist. For someone interested in the full range of music from the Andes, this would be a great starting point. For those that have already tuned into a given sector of the music, other options may present themselves as superior.

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