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Los Jaivas - Los Jaivas [Aka: El Indio] CD (album) cover


Los Jaivas


Prog Folk

3.76 | 85 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars Where does one start describing this album? Or this band, for that matter? I just love these guys, and it’s a little annoying that several of their albums are difficult to find today.

I don’t know all the whole history of this band, but I do know that they were essentially exiles coming out of the military dictatorship that followed Pinochet’s 1973 coup. That’s probably a good thing as far as their music is concerned, because there are signs of maturity in the complex arrangements and some of the instrumentation that might have otherwise been overwhelmed by Andean traditional influences had the band continued uninterrupted in Chile.

But civics lessons aside, this is wonderfully complex and uplifting music. The ethnic and overly ornate percussion that is so typical of South American music is very present throughout the album, and lends a very mature air to the compositions. The piano is full of scale flourishes as well, and is maybe disadvantaged a bit by the other instrumentation because it does get a bit lost in the mix from time-to-time. The piano is most prominent on “La Conquistada”, where it accents the electric guitar on that instrument’s most prominent track as well.

On the subject of instruments, “Un Mar de Gente” is a percussion orgy of sorts, and “Un Día de tus Días” is all about natural tones – acoustic Spanish guitar, flute, claps and rich accompanying vocals. The closing “Tarka y Ocarina…” has probably the most noticeable electronic presence with the mini-Moog lead-in and long passages, but here again the piano plays a major role and the percussion really fills out the overall sound.

A couple of comments about the vocals as well: as someone who is married to a Latin woman, I have spent a great deal of my adult life listening to brothers-in-law and family acquaintances who somehow fancy themselves to be emotional and inspiring Latin singers. Almost none of them are any good, but reality is whatever we think it is, I suppose. But Gato Alquinta has a very measured vocal delivery that has an understated quality which is unusual in male Latin singers. He is clearly singing because the song requires it, not to try and show off or dominate the music. This is an extremely refreshing approach, and the result is a series of outstanding progressive folk compositions that benefit from their vocal accompaniment, as opposed to holding up in spite of their vocals. Bravo for that!

I wish I had more music from this band, and there are six of their albums on my long- term wish list. This particular one is rather easy to find for some reason, and I would recommend it highly to – fans of uplifting progressive music; Latin percussion fans; those who like South American folk sounds; or just about any world-music fan. I was going to give this four stars, but I can’t for the life of me think of any reason why it shouldn’t have five – these compositions rank up there in terms of complexity and quality with anything else I would consider to be a progressive masterpiece, and the overall feel-good quality of the music is something sorely needed in a world otherwise gone mad. Pick this up and feel good for a while. Five stars.


ClemofNazareth | 5/5 |


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