Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Five in an unique category...
Diego | Santiago de Chile | 09/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lyrics: Extracts from a poem of Pablo Neruda (Chilean poet, Nobel Prize 1971), inspired in the archaelogycal ruins of Inca's city Macchu Picchu, located in Peru.
Music: Los Jaivas(1981).
Style: A problem. But you might considere these aspects: a serious influence of progressive rock -in fact, the composition of the band is, basically, electric guitar, bass, keyboards, piano and drums-, and a mixture of rhythms and instruments of the native cultures from Los Andes -highlands, "Altiplano"- and, also, others, included one of the most typical instruments of Mapuche: Trutruka (you can hear the sound of this primitive horn or trumpet in the beginning of the second theme).
From other angle, perhaps the climax of a great career of this refreshing, unique and ever present chilean band, now transformed in a living - classic.
You can really enjoy this album if you like progressive music, ethnical, or also if you have been in those magic places!"
A wonderful marriage of vibrant Chilean folk music and prog
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is absolutely fantastic late period progressive rock that presents a wonderful mixture of the English progressive rock style and Chilean folk music. It is worth noting that Los Jaivas originated in Chile; moved to Argentina; and then moved once again and recorded Alturas de Macchu Picchu in Paris, France during the summer of 1981; an album that many consider to be their masterpiece. Although the album was released in France and a number of years had elapsed in the time since their debut, Los Jaivas had lost none of the Chilean folk influence and it shines throughout the album.
The lineup on this album includes Gato Alquinta (vocals; electric and nylon classical guitars; ocarina); Mario Mutis (electric bass; guitars; and vocals); Eduardo Parra (electric piano; mini moog synthesizer); Claudio Parra (piano; electric piano; mini-moog synthesizer); and Gabriel Parra (drums and percussion). All of the band members are excellent players on both the traditional instruments (ocarina) and the "cutting edge" instruments (mini-moog). The keyboardists are excellent and really dominate the overall sound. With respect to the vocals (in Spanish), they are very good and the vocal harmonies are also quite nice.
The seven tracks on the album range in length from 2'14" to 11'13". Musically, this is a great prog album and features excellent ensemble work; melodies; harmonies; and sophisticated arrangements - In short everything you would expect from a prog album released in 1975, not 1981. There are some spacey sections too, with very haunting melodies that are especially nice. Although a prog fan, it is the traditional Chilean music that gets me excited - it is vibrant and rich and let's face it, a welcome change of pace. Much to my delight, there are a few tunes on the album that place far more emphasis on the colorful and bouncy textures of Chilean music than English prog.
All in all, this is yet another gem of progressive rock and presents a unique twist on the standard prog rock theme. Other albums by Los Jaivas that are highly recommended include Los Jaivas (1975) and Cancion del Sur (1977)."
Fascinating blend of Peruvian folk and prog rock
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 07/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Los Jaivas is well known in Chile, where they originated. They spent their years in exile in Argentina and in France when Chile was under the Pinochet dictatorship. In 1981, while in France, the band recorded what many regarded as their high point, Alturas de Macchu Picchu, which is even more surprising, given the band already had a decade's worth of albums behind them, and most bands who started recording in the early '70s had already seen their best days by the late '70s. Not to mention this was 1981 most people thought prog rock was dead and buried, the United States gave us MTV, England gave us the New Romantic movement that spawned groups like Duran Duran. And let's not forget how many of the major prog bands either disappeared, or turned away from prog (Yes and ELP broke up, Genesis released Abacab which was their most mainstream and commercial album to date).
This album was based on the poetry of Pablo Neruda, who in 1945 wrote the epic poem Alturas de Macchu Picchu which documented his stay at those famous Peruvian ruins. Pablo Neruda was highly acclaimed and well respected in Chile (although not necessarily for his political views, since he was openly communist, unfortunately, when Pinochet came to power, Neruda's works were banned. Neruda died in 1973 within days of Pinochet coming to power).
Los Jaivas was truly original, no cloning of Yes or Genesis here, they gave prog rock a uniquely South American flavor. Many other Latin American prog rock bands, like those from neighboring Argentina tended to copy the European sound (not that I have anything against that, as albums like Crucis' Los Delirios del Mariscal and Espiritu's Crisalida are highly recommended). When this album was recorded, the group consisted of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Gato Alquinta, bassist/guitarist Mario Mutis, keyboardist Eduardo Parra, keyboardist Claudio Parra, and drummer Gabriel Parra. Each of these members were also credited to playing various traditional Andean folk instruments (panpipes, quena), South American percussion, and a five-string guitar-like instrument that originated in Puerto Rico called the Cuatro. Imagine the traditional prog rock gear (guitar, drums, Mini Moog synthesizer) with panpipes, Andean flutes, and various stringed instruments from Latin America, and this is what you get. "Del Aire Al Aire" is the opening cut, a short experimental piece with ocarina and panpipes, with droning synths that almost sound like a didgeridoo. Then comes the epic "La Poderosa Muerte", which is pehaps the finest demonstration of Peruvian folk with prog. Plenty of that Andean feel, makes you feel you're at Machu Picchu itself, but with those extended progressive passages. "Amor Americano", for some reason, ended up reminding me of the Spanish band Ibio (who in 1978 released the album Cuevas de Altamira), perhaps because the synth sound was quite similar, and both band explored ethnic styles in a prog context. "Antigua America" shows that Andean folk music can be combined with harpsichord, while the ending "Final" features piano, played in an almost Tony Banks-type fashion. The vocals are an acquired taste, Gato Alquinta does tend to have a rather dramatic voice, like many of those prog rock bands from Spain. In fact I can't help but be reminded of Lily Alegria of Ibio who had that similar dramatic voice. "Sube a Nacer Conmigo Hermano" is the one piece I can't really call progressive, in fact it sounds a bit too close to traditional Latin music for my liking, for some reason it has a salsa feel, and of course Los Jaivas is not Cuban or Puerto Rican (although they did use a cuatro). I understand their following album, Ancongagua (1982) is not particularly progressive, but their follow up, Obras de Violeta Parra (1984) is said to be progressive, and usually regarded as their best right up there with Alturas de Macchu Picchu.
I highly recommend this album to those who want something different with their prog, especially those who fancy the idea of Andean music influences in their prog."