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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Sacambaya

By Ernest Barteldes
Published April 16, 2008

From the Heart of South America: Kollasuyumanta
ARC Music

Don’t expect to hear Andean takes on American pop songs, or yet another version of “El Condor Pasa,” the tune that became a kneejerk selection for Peruvian musicians after Paul Simon discovered it in the ’60s. Instead, we get a lot of traditional Andean music played in a stripped-down, very organic manner by a group of musicians from the Bolivian-based Ayopayamanta Cultural Center, which dedicates itself to the preservation of Incan cultural and musical roots. “Nascimiento Del Sol” is an upbeat song that showcases the ensemble’s wind instruments, while “Anavia” is a raucous tune rendered in the San Juanito rhythm—a reference to the festivities of St. John, which take place in June and offer a glimpse into the playful nature of the people of the Andean countryside. With liner notes in English providing all the background information you might need, this is one set that doesn’t take very long to get under your skin.