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2008 - week 19, from 11 May - The Amazon

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 12:19 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Toinho de Alagoas - Balanço da Canoa (Rock the Boat) - Music for Maids and Taxi Drivers - Brazil - Globestyle - CDORB 048

2 - Anastácia - O Sucesso Da Zefinha - Brazil Classics Vol 3 - Brazil - Luaka Bop -

3 - Lucha Reyes - Tu Voz - Los Mejores Exitos de Lucha Rayes - Peru - Inti - 11359

4 - Flor Pucariña - Noche de Luna - Huaynos & Huaylas: The Real Music of Peru - Peru - Globestyle - CDORB 064

5 - Novalima - Chinchivi - Afro - Peru/UK - Mr Bongo - MRBCD041

6 - German Carrento y Su Orquesta - Se Va El Caiman - Ola Latina 1 - Colombia - Bonnier - OLA 001

7 - Aterciopelados - El Estuche - Evolucion - Colombia - BMG - 74321-96979-2

8 - Conjunto Tipico Vallenata - Cumbia Cienaguera - Ola Latina 1 - Colombia - Bonnier - OLA 001


Invited to provide a show to sit alongside various programmes on the World Service which focus on the Latin American countries through which the Amazon flows, I wound up making all the selections from just three of the applicable countries, Brazil, Peru and Colombia.

Two tracks are from albums compiled by the intrepid Ben Mandelson for the label Globestyle which he ran for many years in collaboration with Roger Armstrong at Ace Records. It’s been some years since the label had a new release, but the company has an admirable policy of keeping its releases in print and you can still get hold of Music for Maids and Taxi Drivers. The title quotes a phrase from somebody Ben met on his travels in northern Brazil, who expressed astonishment that he could be interested in the region’s rural Forro style, dismissed as music of no value listened to only by maids and taxi drivers. Unheard for three or four years, 'Balanço da Canoa' (Rock the Boat) by Toinho de Alagoas sounds as familiar as an old hit record.

‘O Sucesso Da Zefinha’ by Anastácia (*) is from volume three of David Byrne’s path-breaking series of compilations, Brazil Classics, which broke down the resistance of people like me who had found Brazilian music a bit too sweet and soft. Those words could never apply to the often raucous dance songs of the North East.

Lucha Reyes

Juan de Dios Rojas and Lucha Reyes (1970)

David Byrne and his Luaka Bop label also played a part in introducing many of us to the music of Peru, through a compilation of Afro-Peruvian artists which helped to launch the career of Susana Baca in the rest of the world. Back home, Lucha Reyes is remembered as much bigger star, and it’s been too long since I last played something by her. If this track entices you to look for Lucha’s Greatest Hits, beware of confusion with an equally popular singer of the same name from Mexico.

Until Globestyle issued the collection Huaynos & Huaylas: The Real Music of Peru I had no idea such music existed – extraordinary melodies, uncountable beats, by musicians descended from the original inhabitants of the continent. The eerie voice of Flor Pucariña will come back to haunt your dreams.

Is this Novalima's lead vocalist, Milagros Guerrero?

Novalima is a collection of exiled Peruvians based in Europe who come together to record in both the UK and back home. Including this track ‘Chinciví’ on my compilation Sound of the World in 2007, I assigned an incorrect name to the lead vocalist – she was, is and always will be Milagros Guerrero. A thousand apologies, Milagros.

Going to the shelf of Colombian albums, I pulled out Volume One from a series of three that arrived together last year on the newly-formed Ola label, which had been filed away without being listened to first. The album turns out to be a great collection of music by big salsa-style bands and smaller Cumbia combos, mostly by names I’d never run across before. Track 1 is ‘Se Va El Caiman’ by German Carrento y Su Orquesta, a large ensemble with a delicate swing.

Aterciopelados [Hector Buitrago & Andrea Echeverri]

I once did a whole World Service show of tracks by various artists from around the world who featured the American guitarist Marc Ribot as a sessioman; his contribution to ‘El Estuche’ helps to make it the standout track by the experimental duo Aterciopelados, whose name always twists my tongue. These days, we receive phonetic advice from the BBC’s pronunciation unit, whose recommendation bears little relation to the way I’ve been saying it.

What’s the difference between the rural Colombian styles of vallenato and cumbia? They both bounce along on a beat that sounds a bit like Jamaica ska and usually feature accordion. Just to confuse things, here’s Conjunto Tipico Vallenata doing ‘Cumbia Cienaguera’, the tune sampled in the recent pan-European club hit ‘Heater’ by Samin.


(*) searching for a photo of the Brazilian singer Anastácia, I found only an array of many other women sharing her name.

cumbia and vallenato

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 11:56 am
by ials
Hello Charlie,

A great musical tour along the Amazonas river!!!

Regarding differences between cumbia and vallenato, it is worth to note that original cumbia is not played using accordion as vallenato is. However, recent mixtures of cumbia and other rythms, like "techno" cumbia, do use accordion. Anyway, I enjoyed the travel!

Do not worry about the correct pronunciation of the "aterciopelados" word. It is hard to pronounce for everydoy, including spanish speakers. We have to split it into several parts to be able to say it!




PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:17 am
by Charlie
emails from

1. Andres Moncada, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hello Charlie, recently I heard your program for the first time and I liked a lot.

I am from Venezuela but live in Buenos Aires, where I do a radio program about altlatin music ( ) in Italian and Spanish for radios in different countries.

I am a musician too, I have a project that mixes electronic music with the music of Venezuela.

My family is dedicated to music in the Caribbean, starting with my grandfather who had an orchestra of Latin music from the forties.