Magazine article New Internationalist

(Various Artists. the Soul of Black Peru)

Magazine article New Internationalist

(Various Artists. the Soul of Black Peru)

Article excerpt

Here's another David Byrne compilation of music from Latin America that's little known in the North. Don't expect pan pipes--you're more likely to hear the sound of teeth shaken in a mule's jawbone, or the caioti (a 'box' percussion instrument now widely borrowed by other Latin musicians).

The most striking thing about the collection is its range. If you begin with the first track, Susana Baca's poignant Maria Lando, you'll not be prepared for the second, the upbeat Yo No Soy Jaqui from Manuel Donayre. Before you get to the end you'll be hard-pushed not to be moved by Chabuca Granda's rendition of Una Larga Noche, a lament built around the repetition of the dance's lyrical name, the Zamacueca.

The emotional force that drives the best of these songs is, however, pain--pain inflicted by racism, set against the playfulness or sorrow of the music. 'We come from Hell / Don't be scared of us / Devils! …

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