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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

LA MUSGANA

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published June 27, 2006

Temas Profanos
Lubican

In the late ’80s and ’90s La Musgana, which has been compared to such groups as Blowzabella, La Ciapa Rusa and Silly Wizard, emerged offering radical new interpretations of traditional material from the central, mostly Castilian, regions of Spain. The group’s repertoire and instrumentation (wooden flutes, accordion, bagpipes, guitar, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, violin) are obviously traditional, but their approach isn’t. While the group has undergone some changes in personnel since its last album, which dates back to 1997, it continues to impress on its sixth disc, the title of which translates to “profane themes.” The album encompasses village music, old dance tunes, courting songs, ritualistic music and ancestral religious themes. La Musgana, whose name means “water rat,” performs music that often comes across as close to ancient, but somehow never sounds archaic, austere or overly reverent. The trio keeps things interesting by tossing in modern embellishments, often provided by guest musicians and singers. While most of the material on Temas Profanos is based on dances, the last track is a public prayer employed to appeal for rain when drought threatens.