The Peruvians dwelling high in the Mantaro Valley have a specific kind of music for just about every kind of activity. When on their way to work in the potato fields, a flute and drum duo play a song known as a pascalle. Once they reach the fields, the musicians change their tune to complement the specific work being done. When building homes -- a communal process known as pirkansa -- an interactive polyphonic music is sung. And so it goes, from the marking of goats and cattle to commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Africans, the cultural soundscape of the Mantaro Valley ebbs and flows with each day's happenings.
On Traditional Music of Peru, Vol. 2: The Mantaro Valley a generous cross-section of these musical performances are presented. Drawn from the Peruvian Archives of Traditional Andean Music by ethnomusicologist Raul Romero, the CD's 21 tracks feature upbeat dance tunes and mournful Quechua dirges alike. The combination of European band instruments -- such as clarinets, saxophones, and violins -- with Amerindian instruments and musical aesthetics results in a sound that is unique, though at times reminiscent of klezmer or jazz. All in all, this CD presents a superb sounding slate of tunes while underscoring the deeply integral nature of music among Mantaro Valley inhabitants.