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Andean music CDs. Reviews
Land of winds > Music > Reviews | Issue 04. Mar.-Apr.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Generally speaking, most of Argentinean folkloric soloists and ensembles have included songs from the traditional Andean repertoire. Therefore, in addition to the performers and groups listed below, it is recommended that those with a wider interest in the subject have a look at the works of Los Cantores de Quilla Huasi, Los Trovadores, Los Fronterizos, Raúl Mercado, Los Andariegos, Los Carabajal, Dúo Coplanacu, Mercedes Sosa, Los Tucu Tucu, Ariel Ramírez or Jaime Dávalos.

Uña Ramos. Le pot du bois
Uña Ramos
Le pont du bois
(Chant du Monde - 1979)
1. Puente de madera – 2. Cajita de música – 3. Notas de fuego – 4. La ronda de las estrellas – 5. Reflejos del sol – 6. Poncho gris – 7. Danza del amanecer – 8. Castillo dormido – 9. Color de otoño – 10. Viento norteño – 11. Flor de jazmín – 12. La garganta del diablo
Mariano “Uña” Ramos is a flute player native to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a narrow mountain valley located in the province of Jujuy in northwest Argentina and one of its most iconic geographical features. Born in 1933, “Uña” Ramos moved to Paris in 1972 where he joined the line-up of the Urubamba band (which popularized “El cóndor pasa”) and has since lived in France. Working alongside Argentinean soloists such as Facio Santillán, Tukuta Gordillo or Jorge Cumbo, “Uña” Ramos spread the sound of the quena and the panpipes across Europe, the United States of America and Japan.
Re-released in 1991, “Le pont du bois” was first launched in 1979 making his eleventh work. The album was critically acclaimed and awarded the Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy. Far from reviving the traditional style of playing panpipes and quenas in the Andes or attempting to emulate eminent South American musicians such as Gonzalo Vargas or José Miguel Márquez, “Uña” Ramos tries something completely different, adapting his performing style to suit the liking of European audience. As a result, his music somehow loses the characteristic taste of Andean tunes. In his hands the quena sounds more like the classic transverse flute and the panflute resembles the Rumanian nai performed by Gheorghe Zanfir. However, no one can deny Ramos’ technical skills at blowing Andean flutes and this album is one of the few along his career that deserve special mention.
Link CD []
Official website: Not available

Huerque Mapu. Salida, tránsito y llegada
Huerque Mapu
Salida, tránsito y llegada
(RCA Victor - 1986)
1. Yo nunca había visto el mar (salida) – 2. Danza del Humapayllita y la Cacharamba – 3. Villancico campesino – 4. Qué jangada la vida – 5. Milagrera del asombro – 6. Círculos viciosos – 7. Tunguragua – 8. A don Rosa Toledo – 9. La canción de nuestros días – 10. Triste del país – 11. Canción de Pancho – 12. Yo nunca había visto un rey (llegada)
Huerque Mapu (in Mapudungun, the Mapuche language, “Earth’s messenger”) was an Argentinean band that appeared on scene in 1972. Their first album was launched in 1973 and one year later the group recorded their second work titled “Montoneros”, also known as “Cantata Montonera”, what is arguably the band’s best known recording with a clear socio-political message. Huerque Mapu took part in several festivals and released their third album in 1975, which concluded the band’s first musical phase for they went into exile after the 1976 Argentinean coup.
It took them ten years to come back to their motherland and in 1986 Huerque Mapu entered the studio to record “Salida, tránsito y llegada”, and it would soon become clear that, despite the time passed, not only their songs continued to emphasize socio-political issues but also their sounds still retained the “Andean” style popularized by the Latin American New Song musicians. The album includes Argentinean (“Qué jangada la vida”), Chilean (“Villancico campesino”), Bolivian (“Danza del Humapayllita y la Cacharamba”), Ecuadorian (“Tunguragua”) and Caribbean rhythms (“Círculos viciosos”). It is fair to say that Huerque Mapu remained faithful to themselves and that this work as a whole is interesting and highly listenable from start to finish.
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Official website: Not available

Raíces Incas. Cae la noche, sopla el viento
Raíces Incas
Cae la noche, sopla el viento
(RCA Victor - 1978)
1. Canción y huayno – 2. Cae la noche, sopla el viento – 3. Batallón segundo – 4. Estudio para charango – 5. Reyes morenos – 6. Casarjeta – 7. La mariposa – 8. Por el río de oro – 9. Warmi wawa – 10. Chacarera del recuerdo / Añoranzas 11. Melgar – 12. Waca waca
Raíces Incas began its musical activities in 1977 as a quartet aimed at exploring and promoting folk sounds of the Andes without failing to take into account the Andean music of Argentina. The band’s three albums between 1978 and 1984 are often cited as the best. Subsequent works were not so successful. Nowadays, Raíces Incas keeps on working, Jorge Rodríguez being the remaining original member after many line-up changes.
The album “Cae la noche, sopla el viento” includes the wonderful pasacalle of the same name, the popular “Estudio para charango” and the Peruvian waltz “Melgar”. In addition it contains several rhythms that were barely known at that time such as the waka-tintis “Waca waca”, the diablada puneña “Warmi wawa” and the morenada “Reyes morenos”, and a few examples of Argentinean folk music such as the cueca “Batallón segundo” and the two chacareras “Añoranza” and “Chacarera del recuerdo”.
All members of the original line-up were excellent musicians, closer to tradition than earlier bands, and left a lasting mark on Andean musical repertoire.
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Official website: Not available

Los Chaskis. Los Chaskis vol.1
Los Chaskis
Los Chaskis (vol.1)
(CBS SAICF - 1975)
1. La vicuñita – 2. Gato quenero – 3. Alborozo coya – 4. La pastora – 5. El centinela – 6. Quiaqueñita – 7. Vallecito – 8. Recuerdos – 9. Sonkoiman – 10. Contrabandeando
When talking about Los Chaskis it is inevitable to mention its founder and “director”, Rodolfo Dalera (his name and his “title” was always pompously printed on the cover of every album). Born in the province of Buenos Aires, Dalera began its musical career in Paris as a member of the famous group Los Calchakis. Citing personal reasons he left the band and went back to his motherland, where created his own formation.
Its style, as expected, was very similar to Los Calchakis, though Dalera and his chance companions paid more attention to their national repertoire. “Los Chaskis, vol.1” was the group’s first recording, including Argentinean songs from both the Andes and the Pampas.
Despite their arrangements being far from good, their performances nothing but ordinary and their choir work nonexistent (Dalera is the one and only soloist of the group both vocal and instrumental), it can be said that Los Chaskis introduced a whole generation to Andean music in general and Argentinean folklore in particular.
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Official website: Not available

Jaime Torres. El del charango
Jaime Torres
El del charango
(Universal Music Argentina - 2000)
1. La arunguita – 2. La amanecida – 3. El 180 – 4. Barro y altura – 5. Entre amor – 6. El camba – 7. Tres bailecitos – 8. Rikhurimuy (Revelación) – 9. Selección de huainos – 10. Yuyari (Escúchame) – 11. Saltaditos / Coplas tarijeñas – 12. Jilata – 13. La fiesta de San Benito
Jaime Torres is one of the most famous charango players in Argentina, if not “the ultimate charango player“. Born in 1938 in the northern province of Tucumán, Torres became a disciple of Bolivian leading figure Mauro Núñez and began his professional career in the 60s, when he recorded the “Misa Criolla” (Creole Mass) with Ariel Ramírez. In the 70s he first started touring abroad (and has since continued doing so) and appeared in both well known films “Argentinísima 1 and 2”.
Since 1975 Jaime Torres has had little spare time. Besides organising several editions of the Tantanakuy (an event that brings together popular musicians from across the Andean region and is celebrated in Tilcara, a small village located in the Quebrada de Humahuaca), he has recorded over twenty albums and won a number of awards.
“El del charango” is Torres’ last but two album. It is a good example of his style and one of the most interesting in his career. Although Jaime Torres can not be regarded as accomplished a charango player as e.g. virtuous Bolivian William E. Centellas, he portrays like no one the spirit of the Argentinean altiplano, radiating emotion when plucking and strumming his charango in songs like “Barro y altura” and “Yuyari”. The album includes traditional songs from Jujuy, such as the sikuri “Jilata” (accompanied by a truly puneña panpipe band), a selection of bailecitos, examples of saltaditos and some of the most popular Argentinean folklore rhythms like the gato “El 180” and the chacarera “La arunguita”.
Jaime Torres is, in short, a leading figure in the Argentinean musical scene and his work represents an excellent starting point for those interested in knowing the Andean repertoire in his country.
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