Traditional Music of Peru Celebrating Divinity In The High Andes

The images of mellow singing, piping and coffee commercials that most folks have of Andean music are exploded in about 30 seconds on Celebrating Divinity in the High Andes. As with most other celebrations of divinity from around the world, the singing is passionate and the music intense. In particular, the massive bombo drums (70cm in diameter x 40cm deep, with a snare-like buzz) are hypnotic from the first downbeat. Most of the selections are dance pieces and are divided between ancient flute and percussion themes and more modern, Spanish-influenced instrumentation. The mestizo conjuntos feature harp, trumpet, violin and sax; they bring to mind similarly-voiced conjuntos of Spanish South and Central America but musically they sound almost more Asian than Latin. Overall, this is a very up-tempo disc with great insight into the balance between Catholic and indigenous traditions in this region of Peru. (Smithsonian Folkways)