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VYTAS BRENNER

Eclectic Prog • Venezuela


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Vytas Brenner biography
VYTAS BRENNER was a German born Venezuelan pianist, keyboardist and composer. His career started in the late 1960s and released his first album (of nine in total) in 1973. His music took Latin American rhythms, as well as from unique Venezuelan tradition and combined them with Progressive Rock, to create delightful Symphonic prog, with elements of fusion, space rock and acoustic folk.

VYTAS BRENNER was born in Tübingen, Germany on September 19, 1946, but moved with his family to Venezuela in 1949, at the age of 2. When he was 12, his family moved to Italy, then later Spain and finally ended in United States, where he studied Music at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 1972.

He returned to Venezuela the same year and became an important musician on the national music scene. Vocals on his albums are mostly in Spanish. His brother Haakon Brenner produced his first album and was an executive producer on "Hermanos" and "Jayeche".

Vytas released an EP "Brenner's Folk" (recorded while he was resident in Spain and featuring his brother Haakon Brenner, as well as Jordi Soler and Jordi Barange) in the late 1960s and formed the VYTAS BRENNER QUARTET.

In 1973, VYTAS BRENNER recorded a 45 EP with Maria Fernanda Márquez, called "Con Vytas y Mafe".

His debut album "La Ofrenda de Vytas" was released in 1973, which introduces to a mix of different styles, with a lot of folk music influence. He assembled a band for this album (and the following also) which was apparently known as OFRENDA (Offering). There was much less synthesizer work on this album, but this would fully develop on later albums, this release is still mostly symphonic in sound, with wonderful guitar playing by Pablo Manavello (as was the case on all his albums until 1978 release "Ofrenda").

Vytas worked with Pablo Manavello who was an Italian born prolific guitarist, who was well known for his participation with many Venezuelan bands and musician's , as well as going solo from 1979 and producing.

His next album was "Hermanos", released in 1974 which continued on in a similar vein to the previous releases, again mixing Latin American themes with intelligently composed Symphonic Prog. There were even more musicians on this album, including Caracas born drummer, Iván Velásquez, who would remain with Brenner until his 1983 album "Vytas". Rolando Briceño (born in Caracas) was brought in for saxophone for the Hermanos album.

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VYTAS BRENNER discography


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VYTAS BRENNER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.22 | 30 ratings
La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
1973
3.16 | 11 ratings
Hermanos
1974
3.92 | 6 ratings
Jayeche
1975
3.00 | 2 ratings
Ofrenda
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Belong
1981
3.00 | 2 ratings
Estoy Como Quiero
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Vytas
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
El Vals del Mar
1986
2.00 | 1 ratings
Amazonia
1993

VYTAS BRENNER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 2 ratings
En Vivo! Ofrenda
1977

VYTAS BRENNER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VYTAS BRENNER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Lo Máximo de Vytas
1994

VYTAS BRENNER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Si
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
El Dorado
1990

VYTAS BRENNER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Born in Germany in 1946 but grown in Venezuela since 1949, Brenner was one of the most important figures of Venezuelean music.During his youth he travelled in Italy, Spain and finally USA, where he studied at the University of Tennessee's Music Conservatory and took post- graduate courses in Electronic music.His early career included several particpations on short- lived acts, but in 1972 he found his own band La Ofrenda.The debut ''La ofrenda de Vytas'' was originally released on vinyl in 1973 by Suramericana and in 1999 Anes Records gave a worldwide opportunity for any listener to catch up with Brenner's music, re-releasing the album in CD format.

With long-time collaborators Pablo Manavello on guitars, Carlos Acosta on bass and Frank Rojas on drums and a few guest musicians, La Ofrenda proposed a fascinating blend of light Symphonic Rock with traditional Folk and what is really incredible is the ability of Brenner to balance two different music worlds in a mix, where the one seems complementary to the other.Delicate folky melodies coming out of the acoustic guitars and ethnic instruments like the cuatro, the maracas and the percussion are combined with some mellow Symphonic Rock passages, responsible for which was Mr. Brenner and his keyboards.Almost throughout the whole album his synthesizers are there to support the Latin-based parts, but he often takes over offering some nice piano interludes or organ passages of symphonic elegance, not to mention his Electronic education is more than evident at moments.The (all instrumental) album is completed with the careful use of electric guitars, when needed, and the beautiful orchestral arrangements appearing in a few tracks with a fine grandiose atmosphere.The only real flaw of the album seems to be the overlong ''La savana'' and the repetitive ethnic percussion sound dominating it from the start to the very end.

Excellent find for fans of adventurous Progressive Folk or Latin-American Prog and still an easily recommendable work for the rest of prog fans, as Brenner's music sounds captivating, partly original and sufficiently melodic...3.5 stars.

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 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The brainwave behind La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner seems to have been the application of tried and tested techniques of mainstream progressive rock traditional Venezuelan musical forms. The inclusion of Jesús Chinchilla on both classical and Venezuelan percussion instruments sets the album apart from most "proggy folk with plenty of keyboards" attempts, whilst Vytas Brenner himself proves to have a delicate hand with the keyboards. It's a fascinating experiment which might not blow you away like the top-flight prog bands featured on this site, but is definitely worth a listen and is a good introduction to South American musical traditions not usually picked up on by prog bands from the era.

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 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by gavcasals

4 stars Thanks to all the previous reviewers, you all did a great job commenting on the work of Vytas Brenner. I''m Venezuelan and a musician myself, and a fan of Vytas since my adolescence, back in the 1970s. Also, I had the honor of meeting Vytas in person, and borrowing him some of my keyboards for his last tour in Maracaibo, Venezuela, back in 1981. In retrospective, it is difficult to imagine how an act like Vytas'' was at some point so successful in a country where this kind of music was not exactly popular. However, Ofrenda managed to be the first self-sustaining rock band in Venezuela, something really incredible, when you realize that most of Vytas'' work was instrumental. I will not discuss much more about it as I have already talked about it somewhere else (I was lucky enough to write a brief article for a book on prog rock around the world back in 1999 or 2000 whose name escapes me right now), but the fact that still now, almost 20 years after he did his last recording, in a small Latin American country, gives proof of the timelessness of his work. Personally, he has been a strong influence in my music style, along with Wakeman, Emerson, Jobson, and others. I just wanted to comment a mistake I''ve seen present in all reviews, which is not the fault of the reviewers after all. It''s in regard to the song that has been mentioned as la Ofrenda de Miguel, which is actually Frailejón. That mistake was created in the CD versión of the record. That song is the one that has an intro with Venezuelan harp and cuatro, then a full strings section, not mellotron as can be seen in the original LP sleeve, and a bluesy electric guitar solo with the double basses in the background. The song listed as Frailejón, in turn is Araguaney (Venezuela''s national tree), which is essentially a duet of acoustic guitars with textures on the Arp 2600, which was the synthesizer Vytas was using at the time (he started using a Micromoog from Jayeche on, as the 2600 broke down, as well as an Electrocomp synthesizer). La Sabana on the other hand is driven by harp and piano, with a progressive introduction of the electric guitar from the mid of the song on. La Ofrenda de Miguel actually begins with arpegios on the piano and the band and the orchestra join little by little to create a symphonic atmosphere toward the end. It''s really a pity then that most people out there are enjoying the music, which is great, but with the wrong names attached to it. I''ll try to contact the record company to address this issue, unfortunately, in the highly politicized Venezuela, a correction like this may prove difficult to achieve. I also take the opportunity to invite you to visit my forum in Facebook, Foro Latino de Rock Progresivo, where videos and comments on Prog Rock around the world are posted on a regular bases. Best wishes to all, and keep up the good work.

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 Hermanos by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.16 | 11 ratings

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Hermanos
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After breaking ground in the area of modern popular music in Venezuela with his 1973's debut album "La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner", Vytas had to face and fulfill the task of going on with his musical career. Instead of creating a clone of "La Ofrenda", he went to a different direction with an emphasis on symphonic rock and the introduction of space-rock and electronic krautrock-style minimalism, which meant that the fusion factor had to be somewhat relegated (not to the point of becoming nullified, let's put this clearly). The first song is an acoustic guitar-based ballad, simplistic yet owner of a moving lyricism that might as well work as an attention catcher. Following next are two pieces full of heavily cosmic nuances delivered on multiple synth lines and adornments: this is quite a departure from the trova-oriented opener, since 'Madrugada' and 'Amanecer' might as well be mistaken for outtakes from a Klaus Schulze's lost 70s album. But no, this is Vytas Brenner: he manages to do very well with this sort of electronic experimentation, and I really wish these tracks had been longer so we could hear what he might have done with this potential motivator of mental trips. Also short is track 4, 'Danza con Pájaros', which sets a candid exercise on jazz-fusion based on the dialogue between percussion and electric guitar, while the acoustic guitar strums its way through the rhythmic cadences. 'Gavilán' is a very effective piece that shows Brenner's most exuberant side: a solid full instrumentation that features soaring lead guitar phrases and powerful percussive dynamics. The synths go restlessly elaborating appropriate moods for the overall ensemble, and there is even a pretty (albeit too short) Moog solo that provides some spacey nuances to the core motif. In fact, for the last 1 ½ minute the track's mood gets heavily spacey, even to an oppressive extent - this makes the whole track's scheme sound like a mixture of the most pompous side of "Ofrenda" and "Symphony"-era Clearlight. 'Pastos' brings back the electronic ambience a-la Schulze, stating a strange atmosphere where the dense and the laid-back become one sonic source. This is what I meant when I said that I wish tracks 2 & 3 had been longer. 'Ganado' is a lovely symphonic piece, with a simple rhythmic pattern but a complex series of harmonic developments. 'Estampida' is a moderately disturbing exercise on experimentation with drum kit, synthesizer and tympani: this is really weird in a deconstructive sense, but it's also appealing for those who can't get enough of Brenner's cosmic side. As a counterpart, 'Ana Karina Rote' is the most powerful of the few fusion-oriented tracks in the album. Set on a joropo-like tempo, this piece features horns, sax and percussions while Brenner keeps himself busy on his synthesizer, electric and grand pianos. 'Sentado en una Piedra' brings another ballad, this time based on piano: the instrumentation makes this song achieve a greater dose of magnificence, although it is a bit clichéd. This album has a well deserved mention as a very good album, but all in all, the incomplete development of some musical ideas (which make the respective tracks seem like snippets rather than effective compositions) and the partial inconsistency of the tracklist's style reflect "Hermanos" as a work less than excellent. Anyway, as a matter of fact, Vytas Brenner excels.

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 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by ProgressiveAttic
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars This is my first Vytas Brenner album and one of my favorites... The lineup for this record consists on a standard rock band (keyboards, guitars, bass and drums), a joropo llanero outfit (harp, cuatro and maracas) and an orchestral percussionist (who also plays some Venezuelan percussions). This unusual lineup contributes to give a very distinctive and unique sound to Vytas' music which represents a blend of joropo (the modern symphonic style heavily influenced by Aldemaro Romero), jazz, blues and symphonic prog. + The frequent appearance of a violin mellotron gives somewhat of a Moody Blues feeling to some pieces.

In first place I would divide this record into two main parts:

1.-Tracks 1 to 5: dominated by a mix of symphonic prog (40%) and venezuelan folk.(60%)

2.-The last three tracks: absolute and magestic symphonic prog with Wakeman-esque keyboards and Camel like atmospheres with the usual venezuelan touch.

Morrocoy starts with the right foot with a latin percussion demonstration, keyboard layers and an occasional flute. It continues with what will define Vytas' sound, a display of venezuelan- joropo driven-rhythms and melodies (with a powerful cuatro and a melodic harp accompanied by flute). Lots of virtuosity is shown here

Ofrenda de Miguel continues with the venezuelan theme with the occasional appearance of an electric guitar or a keyboard (mostly violin mellotron). This is basically a beautiful joropo piece (with the addition of the electric guitar substituting the cuatro every now and then)...not much rock going on here but still a great piece of music

Tormenta de Barlovento is a joropo-symphonic piece headed by the sound of the cuatro. Sort of a follow up of Ofrenda de Miguel

Frailejon begins to venture in a more symphonic prog establishment, that will continue throughout the rest of the album.A highlight of the track is a blues section starting at the middle (I've never heard blues played with a cuatro before... Just love it!)

La Sabana displays a more typical progressive sound -without leaving the venezuelan folk territory- starting with a symphonic intro and continuing with another drum and keyboard display as an introduction to the second part of the album.

I will describe the last three parts of the album as a whole because I consider them as one of the most magnificent symphonic suites of the history of prog. This suite exhibits the best keyboards that I have ever heard in latin america (outside latin jazz), that being contemporary to the monsters of European prog could be compared with musicians like Rick Wakeman , Keith Emerson and Jon Lord; these keyboards are then joined by Carl Palmer like drums (with this I mean almost orchestral percussions...) that are going to turn into the initial venezuelan percussions to finish with a summary of the entire album in Canto del Pilon.

This album is a masterpiece of prog and a must have for every prog fan in the world.... added to that it defines a new style of symphonic prog which merges Venezuelan traditional music with elements featured by bands such as Yes, ELP and Camel. A truly groundbreaking album!

This one deserves no less than 5 stars for its quality and uniqueness... perfect to listen while having an arepa....

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 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by Iommi

5 stars GREAT ALBUM, from a super muscian like vytas brenner, his pioneer in the venezuelan prog rock, this album is spacialy my favorite with the ofrenda band, it has great keybord drive ( vytas brenner was a great keybord player), and i think the most influencial in this album is that he mix some great prog some times very aural, somtimes vey hard with some venezuelan music, he use lots of "cuatro" in this album and combined with the keybord, drums, etc... make this album a must have to all progger in the world, highly recommended

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 Jayeche by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.92 | 6 ratings

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Jayeche
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by Chus
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vytas Brenner: latin jazz-fusion artist?

Pretty much. After his first album that gave the name to his (by then) new band "Ofrenda", Hermano was showing more jazz inclination in a couple of songs. In here, about 80% of the album is fusion, taken by jams ("Playa De Agua"), songs much in the vein of Di Meola-Lenny White version of Return To Forever ("Cariaco" & "Caracas Para Locos"; "La Restinga" could be included in this category but in a lesser sense, for it's more consonant and constant) or smooth latin-jazz ditties ("Cerro El Avila") and mixed with the unforgettable venezuelan rhythm on a yet fusion lexeme ("Catatumbo") and more symphonic, yet very short songs ("Canchunchú Florido"). I must add that I prefer the live version of "Playa De Agua" found in "Ofrenda - En Vivo" than this version, which is less dynamic and lacking the power that the former had injected.

Not a masterpiece, but well crafted and carefully made "fusion" album by whom appeared in the beginning to be a symphonic progressive rock artist. I must have adverted to symphonic progressive fans about the lack of the "symphonic sound" in this album. For me it just confirms the overwhelming versatility and musicianship of Vytas & Co. 3.55 stars, rounded to 4.

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 Hermanos by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.16 | 11 ratings

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Hermanos
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hermanos!

I have the luck of being the first reviewer of this album, strange but only his first effort "La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner" has been reviewed so far, surely there are more people who can talk about his music and some of his albums Vytas Brenner is a man who was born in Germany, but he is from Venezuela, i am not going deeper with his bio or personal info, you can hhave a look to their very well written Bio here, by Geck0 by the way.

Im glad to say that there are so many valuable musicians who have dedicated their time and talent to create excellent music, this is not an exception, but what i meant is that i very glad to say that Europe or USA are not the only part of the world with excellent proggressive rock, you can noticed it with my previous review of Anabelas by Argentinian band Bubu, no it`s the turn of Venezuela and it`s beloved Vytas Brenner.

Hermanos is a short album, only 30 minutes of music can be heard herethat could be actually a low point because we as fans of music prefer larger albums, but that`s not really important, an album can be a masterpiece no matter it`s lenght, i remember i gave Profondo Roso by Goblin 5 stars being also a 30 minute album.

This album is divided in 10 songs, an average of 3 minutes per song but actually they are relationed with each other, what this album offers is a variety of a folkish sound mixed with an excellent drive of keyboards which makes it more symphonic in some ways, but that`s not the end, there are some moments that might be considered as ambiental music for example song no.6 "Pastos" i imagine myself lying in some field watching at the sky and being relaxed. Th majority of the short songs are only instrumental, in the first song you will listen to Vytas`soft and peaceful voice, but the best of the album is the background that keyboards can make, actually keyboards have the leader role of the album, it is not bombastic, but calmed and traditional, the music itself is so catchy and easy to listen so everybody could enjoy it, i also imagine this as a sountrack, it`s short but very well composed songs could fit perfectly in any vintage tv show or movie, with a latin american felling and folkish style, but with the always predominative sound of symphonic prog, in adition to this final comment we can find somewhere a saxophone, which obviously gives to it a brief encounter with the jazz side of Vytas. This is not an album that i would consider as a masterpiece, it is pretty good and so enjoyable when i listen to it, but definitely this is not the best music that Vytas and south american prog can offer to us, i would give to this album 3.5 stars, i like it it is great, but nothing more, only recommendable but non-essential definitely.

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 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner" is a pioneering album in the prog scene as it was introduced and developed in South America. A few years before the first prog acts from Argentina or Brazil started to record their debut albums, Vytas Brenner conceived and produced a majestic work of prog folk in which the artistic diverse demands of prog rock and the particular colors of Venezuelan folklore (from both the Creole and the jungle areas) were combined in a cohesive amlagam of beauty and mystery. 'Morrocoy' kicks off the album with intense tropical percussive vibrations ornamented with playful guitar leads, until a bridge of keyboard layers soft percussion gives way to teh joropo- driven second section, a section in which intensity is fluidly replaced by serenity. The candid colors of joropo remain a constant point of reference for the musical lines and tempo in the next three pieces. 'La Ofrenda de Miguel' has to be the most beautiful track in the album, leading to a moderate use of intrincacy due to the presence of orchestral interludes and blues-rock bridges led by guitar phrases. The marriage of folk textures and rock washes is just perfect, a real progressive gem. 'Tormenta de Barlovento' is more focused on acoustic sounds, although the progressive element is still present, only in a more subdued manner. The brief piece 'Frailejón' closes down the album's first half, with a light spirited duet of acoustic guitars whose allusions come to fruition with the synthesizer lines and the occasional chorale. 'La Sabana' comprises the most bizarre side of the album. Starting with a dissonant yet delicate orchestral intro, things soon get stormy with a full range percussive display that sets a sonic portrait of the South American jungle while the extravagant synthesizer washes creates some sort of dark, mysterious mood. The last drum beats and rattle shakes provide an effective climax. The dual sequence of 'Tragavenado' and 'Araguaney' digs deep in the jazzier side of the album, in thsi way enhancing the fusionesque trend that up to this moment had remained in a more subtle level. Brenner really shines on piano and clavinet, but guitarist Manavello manages to steal some of the spotlight momentarily with his tasteful guitar leads, adequate for the enhancement of the main motif. Finally, 'Canto del Pilón' recapitulates the more recurrent aspects of the album's repertoire on a joropo tempo, including a jazz-oriented drum solo and a most elegant development of the main motif. "La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner" is, first of all, a mesmerizing catalogue of musical beauty: it is also a definite highlight of South American prog rock and art rock, even if it was forged in the early stages of the birth of prog in this area of the world. A genius album, indeed.

[Review dedicated to the memory of Mr. Brenner]

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 La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner by BRENNER, VYTAS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 30 ratings

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La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner
Vytas Brenner Eclectic Prog

Review by Chus
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Vytas Brenner is one of those rare gems that, despite being one of venezuelan's first progressive icons, is rarely mentioned even in his own country. He was german but never had any contact with his german roots, so he was just another venezuelan, and maybe one of the unfortunate examples that foreigners appreciate more our culture than natives.

His music is rich with images from venezuelan's culture, and applying to them the european symphonic progressive layers to develop the fusion. Rich also in instrumentation it is, from the main instruments of venezuelan folk (cuatro, harp, maracas) and incorporating electric guitars, synths, organ and symphonic instruments to complete the pack. His music also adds influences from afro-venezuelan ethnic music and latin american rhythms; examples of these rhythms may be heard in songs like "Morrocoy" and "La Sabana", with the later having extensive use of atmospherics and percusions, while the former also includes "joropo" rhytms from venezuelan plains, which is also featured in "La Ofrenda de Miguel", with it's blues flavoured bridge; "Canto del Pilon" in a more symphonic surrounding and a drum solo spot; and, in a more pure form in "La Tormenta de Barlovento". "Frailejon" seems to borrow more from western culture. "Tragavenado" and "Araguaney" could be seen as one song, with a certain margaritean feel to them; the latter features the best piano display from Vytas.

Vytas did not only portrayed the venezuelan tradition in the music, but the song titles make references to national symbols from flora, fauna and geography. A well crafted, well produced and well executed album, which, and whilst borrowing from the symphonic movement, sounds nothing like Genesis, Yes or other brittish progressive pillars; it is a pillar on it's own which, unfortunately, made less influence than it's contemporaries. It also fails to be pompous or overblown, making it a light listening experience. 4.5 stars, rounded to 5. A masterpiece of Venezuelan Symphonic Folk music.

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