Traditional music of the Andes is honored on this fusion album by Echoes of Incas. Half the composing team is Arturo Garcia Orozco from Mexico; he plays guitar, huancara, ocarinas, whistles, indigenous percussion instruments, and special effects. Konrad Rhee, from the United States, is the other key composer; he plays flute, samponas, and charango (the distinctive ten-string guitar made from an armadillo shell). The album opens with "Huayras Puncco," a ride-the-wind extravaganza with a hot, heart-pounding percussion solo. The group's sound is balanced among traditional instruments, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass. The sound is distinctively Andean, but the dynamics and virtuosity (e.g., the aforementioned percussion solo) are stretched. Percussion stands out on "Flor Ardiente," which features the expressive sounds of the cajon purano, the Afro-Peruvian box, played by Roberto E. Duenas from El Salvador. "Tormento de Fuego" features thunder and rain sounds backing gentle guitars and pipes. The title track includes the wondrous sounds of forest birds and a refreshing rain; it is dedicated to the Temple of the Three Windows at Machu Picchu in Peru. The most famous piece is Rodrigo's "Concerto de Aranjuez"; here, the ocarina and the Spanish guitar take turns with the haunting melody. The album ends with "Orilla del Mar," a peaceful interpretation of the sea played on pipe and guitar, with nature sounds. If you like the gutsy, saucy sounds of music from the Andes, you will like this spirited album.
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AllMusic Review by Carol Wright