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Los Jaivas - Los Jaivas [Aka: Todos Juntos; La Ventana] CD (album) cover


Los Jaivas


Prog Folk

3.26 | 45 ratings

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4 stars In terms of prog-rock sophistication, this wonderful 1972 album is not the best place to start investigating Los Jaivas, but it is the most important album of Los Jaivas' earliest and folkiest phase. Here we see the early fusion of psychedelic rock with bona fide Andean music. While some songs are merely good, and others intriguing, it is the brilliant title track that happens to be my all time favourite Spanish language song.

I can't tell you the emotions that run through me as I hear Gato Alquinta intonate the opening words of this majestic call for peace and unity, this song gets me right the way through to the passionate conclusion ... "Para qué vivir tan separados, si la tierra nos quiere juntar, si este mundo es uno y para todos, todos juntos vamos a vivir" which doesn't translate quite as poetically (roughly "Why do we live so far apart, if the world wants to unite us, if this world is one and for all for us, we will all live together). To me it is breath-taking ... and heart-breaking. Especially when one considers the unique time of this record, made in 1972 in Salvador Allende's socialist Chile, a world that would be destroyed a year earlier by the Pinochet/CIA coup. Musically the Todos Juntos track is a pleasing, albeit pretty basic fusion of quena, ocarina and charango (Andean flutes and mandolin respectively), fiery acidic lead guitar and Latin percussion, but lyrically, melodically, spirtually, this track is an unforgetable anthem.

The song itself is the greatest highlight of an engaging albeit simplistic album. The opening song is a hymnal chant of peace, Mira Ninita is a delicate sweet tune that takes its out sweet time to evolve beyond its languid, marimba-dominated opening into a joyous celebration. The same description can be applied to Indio Hermano which if anything, is even more beautiful, starting off in pure traditonal Andean vein (and what a great melody it boasts) before evolving into something more. The lilting Ayer Cache is another one, although it is "Spanish-influenced) where Indio Hermano was so obviously the music of South America's true natives.

Another thing that defines this album are the extravagant percussion interludes (bombo, bongo, you name it, they play it!). Los Caminos Que Se Abren is probably the most interesting track from a progressive point of view (probably the best realisation of the sort of improvisational psychedelic music that the band played on its debut ... the limited edition En Volantin ) and it too is full of traditional percussion as well as hypnotic Eastern sounding themes, vibrant violin and out of tune psych guitar ... although it definitely goes on too long. The urgent call that is La Quebra Del Aji contains many of the same ingredients but is better-paced, while Cuerro Y Piel contains the best percussive work of all (not sure how much of it is just drummer Gabriel Parra!)

There are a few different versions of this album (which I believe was initially released as La Ventana and retitled when Todos Juntos became a hit) and unfortunately mine omits Ciclo Vital ... do get the full one if you can! I must repeat my earlier statement that this album is not about progressive sophistication ... that will come later with Cancion Del Sur, La Alturas De Macchu Picchu and Obras De Violetta Parra. This album has immense passion, an almost fiery hope and in retrospect, a sense of historical importance (that goes way beyond music) that makes it an esssential purchase in my opinion. ... 70% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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