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A collection of Andean works on the Narada label. Some of the more traditional outfits in the genre are present, as are a few of the more progressive ones. The album starts out with one of the better ensembles around, Savia Andina; providing one of their better known numbers "Tempestad." It then moves through numbers by Alturas (a US-based cultural outfit), Viento de los Andes (an Ecuadorian traditional group), and Echoes of Incas (a Northern-end Latin American group doing South American music). Rumillajta appears with some stunning work on strings and flutes to follow, and some more modern work from Inkuyo follows, with synthesizers added in for effect. Imbaya provides a violin-heavy piece with Na Yachanichu, and the rather lighter panpipe-based Inti-Illimani performs a nice number with only mild accompaniment. A higher paced number comes from the family outfit Andes Manta, and Inkuyo and Rumillajta return with one piece each; a lively string work from Inkuyo, and a much more relaxed string work from Rumillajta. Ancient Winds provides a flute and charango work, and Sukay provides one of their signature numbers ("Concepcion,") a high-tempo showcase of charango and flute itself. Finally, the album finishes on the British Caliche's "El Pillan." a light number laden with echoing panpipes. Overall, it's a nice sampler of the basic Andean sound, with both high-speed and low-speed works throughout, showcasing all of the major instruments of the Andean repertoire, and some of the best bands to show it. Narada tends to have a hit-and-miss record on authenticity in the world music scene, but this one is a hit. Pick it up as a nice introduction to the Andean genres, or as an enjoyable addition to a pre-existing collection. by Adam Greenberg All Music
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