Monday, May 26, 2008

In Review--Son Jarocho Goes Pan-American

Conjunto Jardìn
Yerba Buena

Trova Recordings

California-based Conjunto Jardìn has released its third son jarocho recording, Yerba Buena. Led by vocalists and lute-playing sisters, Libby and Cindy Harding, this group does not just deliver the traditional Mexican jarocho, but Pan-American music complete with Andean pipes on La Culebra, salsa rhythms on Fandanguito de los Muertos, and Colombian rhythms on El Ahualulco. You might not call it pure traditional, but this music is purely delightful.

La Vieja features lush call & response vocals with added guest vocalists, Mari Riddle and Ericka Verba. And following that song, is the groovy cover of Procol Harum's Conquistador with Gary Johnson's 70s psychedelic organ booming throughout. Fandanguito de los Muertos (mentioned earlier), offers two musical genres for the price of one, ending out with rousing salsa. Just as other journalists have noted, this music does present a lot of twists and turns, as well as, rhythmic excitement and a creative explosion of stringed instruments.

Rapid fire vocals are delivered amongst the traditional jarana (lute), requinto (lute), percussion and a harp (harp keyboard). Then other Latin and western instruments come on board to further embellish a warm and bright sounding production. However, the music on Yerba Buena goes down cool, smooth and easy. Perfect for hot sunny weather.

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