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Andean music CDs. Reviews
Land of winds > Music > Reviews | Issue 02. Sep.-Oct.2010
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Bolivia has been the cradle of a great number of groups and performers, with which the pages (still to be written) of the history of Andean music have been filled up. In this issue neither ensembles and soloists such as Jacha Mallku, Llajtaymanta, Música de Maestros, Norte Potosí, Orlando Pozo, Tupay, Taypi K’ala, Alfredo Coca, Alejandro Cámara, William E. Centellas, Enriqueta Ulloa or Luis Rico, nor the already reviewed Los Kjarkas, Savia Andina y Awatiñas (see previous issue) are included among the five groups selected below.

Los Jairas. Lo mejor de Los Jairas
Los Jairas
Lo mejor de Los Jairas
(Discolandia - 1974)
1. Dos amigos – 2. Agüita de Putina – 3. La desconocida – 4. Chiquita bonita – 5. El inocente – 6. Huayño de la roca – 7. Gringo bandolero – 8. Pobre negro – 9. Señor Lebudo – 10. Caramba chiquita – 11. Par par palomita – 12. Mis llamitas
Ernesto Cavour (ver), Edgar “Yayo” Joffré, Julio Godoy and the Swiss Gilbert Favré created in the ‘60s one of the pioneering folk bands of Bolivia (see). “Lo mejor de Los Jairas” is the group’s seventh album and one of last recordings by their original members. The album includes all the features of the early Andean music recordings: very few arrangements, somewhat unpolished musical performance, slightly flawed recording... In spite of everything mentioned, most of the tracks are unforgettable: the study for charango “Mis llamitas” by Cavour; the traditional yaraví “Dos amigos” sang in Quechua and the huayno “Par par palomita”, in Aymara; the funny “Gringo bandolero”; the well-known “Agüita de Putina” (ver) and “Huayño de la roca”; or the dance-huayno “Señor Lebudo”, recorded with the name “Fiesta aymara” by other groups. “Lo mejor...” is a journey back in time, to the origins of “Andean music” as we know it nowadays, and to the forerunners of this genre: those who developed repertoires, collected old songs and composed new ones that are still being listened to today.
Link CD []
Official website [es]
[Video 01]

Alaxpacha. Concierto en vivo
Concierto en vivo [La fuerza telúrica de los Andes]
(E.E. Producciones - 2004)
1. Reír y llorar – 2. Cuando yo me vaya de La Paz – 3. Castillo de arena – 4. Paloma blanca – 5. 1904 – Un siglo de amor – 6. Pensar en ti – 7. Selección de llameradas (Mi mamita, Casarjetay) – 8. Selección de morenadas (Chacaltaya sin rival, Figurita fanática, Rosas de Viacha) – 9. Corazón noble – 10. Dos que se quieren – 11. Ñustita chayanteña – 12. Historia de mi vida – 13. Selección de morenadas (Mujercitas, Lejos de ti) – 14. Selección de huayños (Tres rosas, Achancara)
With a musical career that lasts sixteen years, Alaxpacha, (in Aymara “sky”) has explored the music of Kallawaya and Guarani peoples, the different expressions of the Andean Carnival and the most popular rhythms in the region of La Paz. They have also composed their own themes, which are easily recognized by Bolivian audiences and have become cult favourites at festivals. This album (their fifth and their first live recording to be released) includes some of them: the morenadas “Castillo de arena” and “Mujercitas” and the huaynos “Cuando yo me vaya de La Paz”, “Tres rosas” and “Achankara”. In addition, it contains other traditional rhythms such as taquiraris, cuecas, tonadas and llameradas.
With an excellent sound, refined arrangements and a good number folk instruments hardly performed by other bands, Alaxpacha proves that it is possible to build a successful musical career without borrowing foreign rhythms, studio arrangements or electric instruments, just playing traditional tracks with anything but artistic ability and good taste.
Link CD []
Official website: Not available
[Video 01] [Video 02] [Video 03] [Video 04]

Proyección No dirijas tu mirada hacia atrás
No dirijas tu mirada hacia atrás
(Neón Fonográfica - 1998)
1. Por qué no hacer un mundo mejor – 2. Tus mentiras – 3. Caporales San Miguel – 4. Aún es tiempo de cambiar – 5. Si tú vuelves – 6. Entreverado – 7. Vuelve a mí – 8. La ñustita – 9. Recuerdos de un amor – 10. La música calma mi dolor – 11. Para qué – 12. Ayúdame a olvidarla
Proyección has become a major exponent of Bolivian romantic song. Their repertoire swings between the clearly cloying sweetness of some themes and the balanced fusion of melodic and traditional ingredients. On the other hand, their sound includes a large number of electric instruments and studio effects. The sum of those elements defines the eclectic band’s style, which has been joined by numerous examples among the new generation of Andean musicians.
In this work, their eighth album (or the tenth if we consider the two recordings under their previous name “Proyección Kjarkas”), the “Caporales de San Miguel”, the huayno “Recuerdos de un amor” and, above all, the tonada “Entreverado” and its racy double meaning lyrics deserve a special mention from a traditional point of view. The lovers of romantic music, for their part, will undoubtedly appreciate tracks like “Aún es tiempo de cambiar” and “Vuelve a mí”.
Link CD []
Official website [es]
[Video 01] [Video 02]

Rumillajta Hoja de coca
Hoja de coca
(Tumi - 1984)
1. Hoja de coca – 2. Leño verde – 3. Jacku – 4. Carnaval de la Feria – 5. Nina wara – 6. Iscanwaya – 7. Zuriki – 8. El eco – 9. Palomita laicu laicu – 10. Mallku – 11. Cori – 12. Mallku kuntori
Rumillajta (in Quechua, “stone village”) born in 1980 and, step by step, have forged their unique sound and distinctive style: the combination of slow and majestic melodies, based on very large panpipes and the jach’a siku rhythm, with fast and lively ones, supported by the ring of the charango and the trote rhythm.
In “Hoja de coca”, their fourth album, the band’s unmistakable style is a constant feature in each and every track, though it is particularly noticeable in “Leño verde”, “Iscanwaya” and “Carnaval de la Feria”. Among the highlights of the album are the title track played on panpipes and the unusual performance of the tinku “Jacku”, which has been covered by other bands on subsequent occasions. With the exception of “Palomita laicu laicu”, “Hoja de coca” is an instrumental album that shows a very interesting way of performing Andean music. Although it can be tremendously repetitive and even boring sometimes, there is something special and charming about this way of playing music.
Link CD []
Official website: Not available

K’ala Marka
Aguas claras
(Discolandia - 1992)
1. Aguas claras – 2. Es para ti – 3. Pequeño Juanito – 4. Cambita linda – 5. Cuando florezca el chuño – 6. Bolivianita – 7. Mamita – 8. Valle de la luna – 9. Llamerada
The appearance of K’ala Marka (in Aymara, “stone village”) on the stage in the early ‘90s, a musical revolution took place, not only in Bolivia but also in the rest of the world. Although the first recordings were modest, the inclusion of synthesizers, pre-recorded tracks and studio effects allowed the original two member line-up to compose and perform the first examples of “Andean techno”. In addition, K’ala Marka did much to popularize the tobas rhythm, which quickly became a staple for the band both at their live performances (thanks to the spectacular choreography of its dance) and in the studio (thanks to its rousing percussion).
In “Aguas claras”, K’ala Marka presents the tinku with the same name, the beautiful themes of “Mamita” and “Pequeño Juanito”, a modern arrangement of the traditional “Llamerada” and the tobas “Cuando florezca el chuño, whose Spanish title refers to a curious expression that means “never”.
Cover: Not available
Link CD: Not available
Official website [es]
[Video 01] [Video 02] [Video 03] [Video 04]
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