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Los Jaivas - Obras De Violeta Parra CD (album) cover


Los Jaivas


Prog Folk

4.08 | 94 ratings

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5 stars This double album from 1984 sees a remarkable return to form by Los Jaivas. After following-up the brilliant Alturas De Macchu Picchu with a sharp drop in quality for Aconcagua) they rebounded with this equally specatular work. Obras De Violeta Parra is a dramatic re-interpretation of the folk songs of Violeta Parra (a folk singer/socialist activist who was not related to the trio of Parra brothers who formed the backbone of Los Jaivas) and it remains the most exciting progressive album that I've heard that was recorded in the 1980s.

This is no ordinary tribute album, for while Los Jaivas is occassionally faithful to the Parra original, their tendency is to use her material to drape their own extended compostions around. Indeed 6 of the 10 tracks here clock are in the 8-12 minute range. While most of the band are at the top of their game, it is pianist Claudio Parra and drummer Gabriel Parra who shine the brightest here.

As soon as the opening synth brass sounds of Arauco Tiena Una Pena hit you, you know you're in for something special. Mock horror synth and the trademark rippling piano of Claudio Parra introduce a brilliant Arabic-tinged guitar lead segment which is backed by some notable playing from basisst Mario Mutis, and a pretty fiery display from Gabriel Parra before, nearly 7 minutes into the song, the actual folky original tune of Violeta Parra emerges ... delivered with panache by Gato Alquinta, with Claudio's piano providing most of the backing.

Numerous highlights abound on this delicious offering. El Guillatun has a dark surrounding atmosphere with extraodinary piano flourishes from Claudio Parra ... this despite the fact that the "main song" is actually quite a light piece. Arriba Quemando El Sol is downright pagan with sombre backing from a traditional drum, flute and piano ... and by the time the piece has built to a crescendo in true Bolero style, Eduardo Parra has joined the party with some ballsy synth leads. Un Rio De Sangre is a blistering piano led progressive epic with a lot of dynamic changes (even if I keep thinking that the band is going to burst into Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath, because one of the recurring piano lines is pretty similar to a line in that song!).

El Gavilan has an uncredited guest female lead vocalist, and evolves superbly, with the flute and piano playing an important part in the song's progress from acoustic folk gem to progressive monster. There's even room for a Mutis bass solo on this one and its conclusion with massed vocals is quite stunning. The beautiful Run Run Se Fue Pa'l Norte is presented here as a delicate instrumental with piano, charango and flute carrying the melody along. En Los Jardines Humanos is another fascinating "dark" excursion with a mid-section that will have PFM fans squealing with delight and an exciting explosive finish to boot. I've mentioned Claudio Parra's rippling piano before, but I dare say it never gets quite as much exposure on the wonderful opening to Violeta Ausente!

Perhaps due to a lack of genuine diversity in terms of style from piece to piece, it isn't always easy to absorb the whole 77 minute double album at a single sitting, but unlike every other double album I've ever encountered, Obras De Violeta Parra does not really have too many filler moments. The mock-militaristic Manana Me Voy Pa'l Norte and the brief accordion instrumental Que Pena Sienta El Alma may not be to my taste musically, but as the shortest pieces on this album of monster tracks, it scarcely affects my immersion in this wonderful world that Los Jaivas created. ... 91% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 5/5 |


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