The syncopated drive and top-of-the-lungs singing in the joropo proclaim a cattle-herding mestizo people proud of their homeland. In this Grammy-nominated recording, percussive harp techniques and fast-picking bandola guitar rise from a bedrock rhythm of cuatro guitar, bass, and maracas to produce the signature plains sound.
"The 10-piece outfit rips through the genre's two sounds: golpe, a rhythmic, driving song led by sharp accentuation of the cuatro (small, four-stringed guitar), and pasaje, a slower, lyrical style with fixed melodies…. The speed by which the instrumentalists perform is stunning, reminding one of the speedy idioms of flamenco guitar or … the schizophrenic violins of Eastern European jazz…. Vocalist Ana Veydó Ordóńez pays homage to Saint Raphael (the saint of fishermen) on 'Un llanero de verdad' and reconfigures a famous love song to Venezuelan harpist Indio Figueredo on 'Maria Laya'…. Most striking is the packed ornamentation and subtle interplay of all involved. Plains music this is, plain music it is not."—Sing Out!
Colombia’s unique geographic location—adjoining both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans—disperate topography, and centuries-old mix of Spanish, African, and Native Indian cultures have given rise to some of richest and most diverse styles of traditional music in the Western Hemisphere: from the accordian-driven vallenato of the eastern valleys and the exuberant, syncopated joropo of the plains to the African-derived marimba music of the Pacific Coast and the widely exported cumbia of the Caribbean Coast, whose shuffling rhythms echo the shackled gait of slaves. Each CD is extensively annotated to place the performances in their regional and cultural contexts.
The folk music archives that form the wellspring of these Smithsonian recordings are truly incomparable. Encompassing a wide variety of styles, they reflect the heart, soul, and backbone of the American experience as well as indigenous music from around the world. Folkways' impeccable sound and documentation does these artists proud, setting their work off as the treasure it is.