Friday, March 6, 2015

Los Jaivas - 1982 - Aconcagua

Los Jaivas

01. Aconcagua (3:38)
02. Takirari del Puerto (3:48)
03. Debajo de las higueras (3:28)
04. Todos juntos (3:56)
05. Desde un Barrial (5:29)
06. Huairuro (3:01)
07. Corre que te Pillo (9:50)

- Gato Alquinta / lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, charango, mandoline, cuzquena, quena, zampoña, recorder, trumpets, tumbadoras
- Mario Mutis / bass, electric guitar, matraca, bombo leguero, vocals
- Eduardo Parra / electric piano, Mini-Moog, harpsichord, pandereta, bongo, tarkas
- Claudio Parra / piano, Mini-Moog, celesta, guiro, trutrucas
- Gabriel Parra / drums, percussion, vocals

Aconcagua is widely perceived as a backward step in the Los Jaivas journey, and justifiably so, for it is the weakest in the run of albums from 1975 to 1984 (significantly trumped by the preceeding trio of Los Jaivas (El Indio), Cancion Del Sur and Alturas De Macchu Picchu as well as its successor the double album Obras De Violeta Parra). Nonetheless for all its relative "simplicity" it does contain some beautiful folk music.

The opening title track is delicious, with heartfelt vocals, glorious dancing flutes, and clever use of electric guitar and Andean mandolin (charanga) to build the mood. And the second track, Desde Un Barril starts off with an interesting combination of Jew's harp and Moog (I swear it) and has a "main body" that is rhythmically challenging, with some nice piano flourishes and muscular bass work (even a brief solo) before more joyous flute returns.

Unfortunately from that point on, the album is a pretty pop-oriented presentation of some great folk music. Debajo De La Higueras and the instrumentals Takirari Del Puerto and Huairuro are all the kinds of song that Las Jaivas could play in their sleep. A remake of Corre Que Te Pillo (from the Todos Juntos album recorded a decade earlier) is better though and emphasizes the shift in the band's sound over the years. This is a much more taut version than the original with prominent piano, electric guitar and synth brass! Despite some more challenging moments including some great Gabriel Parra drum excursions, it does lack the charm of the infinitely more naive original.

I should say that again there are two different versions of this album, as far as I know, and my version omits the 1982 re-recording of the superb Todos Juntos track (rather disappointingly, as it is my favourite song in the Spanish language), in favour of Manbo Del Machaguay, which is a catchy blend of blistering electric guitar, energetic drumming and traditional flutes.

I would recommend that you come to this one only after you've fallen in love with the other, more progressive albums that surround it. And perhaps a low level of expectation might just leave you enjoying its handful of pleasant surprises!



  2. great collection and texts, thanks for sharing