Sunday, February 10, 2013

In review--Pan Piper

Joël Francisco Perri
The Andean Flutes
Arc Music

Bombo, charango, and Andean pan flutes--these instruments hail from the indigenous people of the Andean regions of South America.  In the 1970s many musicians, writers, and musicians fled Chile and Argentina to avoid persecution by ruthless dictatorships.  Many fled to Paris and formed a community where they brought the Andean instruments and songs from the nuevo canción (poetic and political songs) movement.  In 1971, Joël Francisco Perri, a percussionist of Sicilian and French descent encountered the South American musicians in Paris and eventually, this led the musician to dedicate himself to Andean flutes.  His son, Cedric Perri followed in his father's footsteps and appears on this CD.

On his 2012 recording The Andean Flutes, we hear the jaunty side of several types of pan flutes including Bastos, Siku, Zampoña, Rondador and the bamboo recorder Kena played with the Andean drum, bombo, the Andean lute charango and acoustic guitar.  And don’t worry about not knowing the shapes and sizes of each type of flute.  Most likely you have seen all of these instruments played by Andean indigenous musicians on street corners around the world.  And if you have heard songs from the new song movement sung by Mercedes Sosa or Mariana Montalvo, you already know these instruments well.  In fact, this Andean music has become ubiquitous with South America along with Brazilian samba, Argentine tango, and Colombian cumbia.

I wonder if Perri’s CDs ever aired on an Andean music community radio show that I listened to when I lived in Seattle--listening to Andean flutes at 4 a.m. on night’s when insomnia visited me. While you won’t find Flight of the Condor on The Andean Flutes, you will be treated to uplifting music that sounds more danceable than relaxing.  The exception is the slower pace, Song of the Ocarina for Andean Pan Flute.  The other songs gallop along keeping a steady bombo beat and flowing into each other.  I can’t imagine anyone on this planet not enjoying these flute songs.

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