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Los Jaivas - Mamalluca - Obras Sinfónicas Vol. 1  CD (album) cover


Los Jaivas

Prog Folk

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3 stars Mamalluca is a good idea and a excellent piece of experimental music, is the musicalization of some poems of Gabriel Parra who died in the '80, but that musicalization has the characteristic that is made with a sinphonic orchestra, the sound some times is beauty, the scent of a feel, a grat hability to impact with the music, sometimes melancolic another mor happie, another times is really bad like in "El Tambo". But, after all, I think, is good to have it, that isn´t a loose of time at all. I only say it could be better for "Los Jaivas". I think that it seems like theese bands when found them way they make once and another time works very similars, and don't want to experiment anymore, that's my way of think. A last comment is that the topic of these conceptual album is the desert, this pacific place where you can see the sky and all it stars, the calm that you can feel in this place and how the natives used it to them rituals and now is used to investigate the space with the most moderns astronomic observatories. without doubt I think that the force of this place makes images tike the butterfly falling in the universe and the music sorround it. To apreciate the totally feel I recomed to see the video of these album, is like the catharsis of all the ¿good feelings? in you. That passages makes this album a great album, but not the better of Los Jaivas
Report this review (#46725)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Mamalluca" has a special meaning in the history of Los Jaivas, being a concept-album based on a poem book written by the band's second keyboardist Eduardo Parra about man's appreciation of the cosmos around him (initially motivated by some poems by Vileta Parra around a similar subject). This is Los Jaivas' first full recording with an orchestral back-up... although it would be more fair to say the the walls of sound created by the strings, woodwinds and reeds are powerful partners of the band. This is also the album in which teh band decided to return on full swing to their artsy folk rock roots, which in turn signifies a return to their progressive oriented aspect. The album's title is the name of a Chilean valley in which there's an astronomic scientific building full of telecopes and other devices to watch the stars and stuff - a proper specific place that incarnates mankind's universa struggle to discover and admire the beauties of the universe. In this album, the academic colors brough in by the orchestra and choir are really abundant (not unlike Renaissance's or Procol Harum's live albums), and that really helps to enhance the inherent magnificence of the materialm but of course, the main textures (or should I say, exclusive?) come from South American folklore. The weird yet natural beauty resulting from this combination between the candor of folk and the splendor of symphonic rock gives birth to a most amazing farewell to the 90s from Los Jaivas. The most predominant ambience is one of ethereal emotion and spiritual evocation, and this works particularly fine in the most explicitly hypnotic passages - three examples are 'Uva Madura', 'Interludio', 'Elqui', in which you can tell that the academic visions of Grieg and Prokofiev can be compatible with Andean folk. 'Chaski' is a brief yet patently intense ad libitum instrumental in which the intrepid pace set by drummer Juanita Parra is magically accompanied by random notes on strings, lead guitar and Andean woodwinds: the instruments portray the way things seem to fly while the oral messenger runs across valleys and mountains to deliver the message. More structured are 'Cerro de la Virgen' and 'Camino Estrellado', which are arguably the most beautiful tunes in the album: the folk thing is really exploited in a most inspired manner by the band and the orchestra married in a divine unity of sound and harmony. The namesake piece that fills the final 15 ¾ minutes of the album kicks off as a Venezuelan joropo, with added adornments that come from other Latin American sources. The orchestral interlude slowly sets the mood for the last section, a malambo (a typical dance of Argentinean horsemen), in which the percussion section and the string orchestration encapsualte the remaining instruments in a moderately eerie sonic landscape. A great ending for a great album - "Mamalluca" is the ultimate expression of genius at mixing chamber and rock in a strongly installed prog folk context. A must for all Los Jaivas collectors, to say the least!

Report this review (#104565)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have reviewed several albums of this band and rated them on a prog scale. And therefore, they didn't score very high. This album features a backing symphonic ensemble, which has never been a favourite of mine.

Vocals are as usual below par and when I listen to such a cacophony as "Chaski", I only have one option. Press next.

This album might opened a new genre : orchestral folk. Might be interesting but I can't endorse such perception. Things are slightly improving with "Camino Estrellado", but let's be honest, this is just average music.

And the trumpets intro for "Cerro De La Virgen" has more to do with a peplum soundtrack than with a prog song. Being folkloric. They really sound awful during almost seven minutes (the trumpets, I mean). And this is a long time, even if some good guitar notes are very welcome during the final part, they are completely ruined by the over-invading orchestra.

The only good track from this offering is IMHHO the title track. Great guitar intro but hell! These vocals, again! Some great percussion work reminds me of their debut, while Los Jaivas produced some Santana oriented songs.

Mamalluca is a complex number, which changes from mood very often. Subtle piano sounds are combined with a more discrete orchestra and beautiful fluting appears as well. If only this album were holding more of these great moments...A vibrant song. But the one and only from this album.

Melancholy, sweetness, inspiration. You all get this in here. As if the band was throwing all his forces in this closing and brilliant number. Fortunately it lasts for almost a third of this album.

But due to the very poor work before Mamalluca, I can't rate this album more than two stars.

Report this review (#161204)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's good to see that after more than 30 years of life, Los Jaivas were still able to create a solid album like this one. Inspired on the mysticism of the Elqui Valley, with the poems of Eduardo Parra and the music of all the band, "Mamalluca" is a trip through the different elements of this magic valley. The music is highly heterogenic, with any song different from another, but always keeping the style cultivated in the pasts years.

Throughout "Mamalluca", the lyrics refer to several aspects of the Elqui Valley, before arriving to the final destination of the Mamalluca's observatory. Thus, we have verse for the grapes and the nature ('Uva Madura'), the Incas itself, with the legendary chaskis, the incredible nights in the valley seen in the eyes of the chaski ('Camino Estrellado'), the virgin and the traditional hill ('Cerro de la Virgen'), and of course, beautiful words for Gabriela Mistral.

About the music, well, this is a big project, with Los Jaivas playing together with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Chile (Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional), the Chorus of the University of Chile (Coro Sinfónico de la Universidad de Chile) and the Mamalluca Chorus, and features some improvised, chaotic moments like 'Chaski', and some beautiful mellow songs like 'Elqui'. One can find references to CONGRESO, in the beginning of 'Camino Estrellado', to the classic style of Gabriel Parra in 'Cerro de la Virgen', and to purely classical music in 'Interludio' and the very beginning of 'Alumno'.

The song 'Mamalluca', a highlight itself, really makes you travel through the universe, galaxies, planets, eternal nights, atomic blood, life's fragility. with a very spatial music, deep pianos and choirs, and breaks for different perspectives, always prowling through the immensity.

The album "Mamalluca" is a great effort of the band, demonstrating the qualities of Los Jaivas at the end of the twenty century, but luckily not the end of his life. A key album on his discography, and the first conceptual one completely home made.

Report this review (#172107)
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permalink

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