Signature Sounds Recording
P. O. Box 106
Whatley, MA 01093
A review written for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Linton Corbie (LCorbie@sbd.com)
HIJOS DEL SOL/CHILDREN OF THE SUN is the title of Viva Quetzal's third and newest album on the Signature Sounds music label. Just as with its previous two albums, Viva Quetzal continues its stated mission to increase multi-cultural awareness and promote harmony through the exploration and wedding of mostly traditional South American instrumentation and folk rhythms with North American musical genres like jazz.
The band is comprised of seven male members with about half of them originating from Chile and Peru and the remaining ones from the USA. One of the first things that I quickly noticed about this CD was that all of these guys are very skillful musicians. Along with more familiar, contemporary instruments like saxophone and electric guitar, their facility with a dizzying array of more exotic instruments like Venezuelan cuatro, charango, panpipes, Colombian tiple and quena is truly astounding. The album contains ten songs - all original compositions. Most of them exceed five minutes in length and a few are even quite substantially longer than that.
The title track, "Hijos Del Sol" bears a strong rhythmic resemblance in certain places to the Venezuelan folk form known as the golpe tocuyano. Indeed, the Venezuelan cuatro is featured throughout the piece providing rhythmic/harmonic accompaniment along with occasional flourishes of solo rasgueado for effect. This song has a frenetic quality and is replete with the customary, Spanish-sounding yelps and cries. "Tarapaca", "Ariquena" and "A Ti Presente" are festive, up-tempo numbers. Each of these tunes provides good opportunities to hear Viva Quetzal's broad instrumental arsenal at work.
"Ciervos" is a slow, nostalgic sounding instrumental that showcases the panpipes. "Peace", by band-member, Rudi Weeks is one of the more interesting tracks. It comes closest to revealing the jazz influence on Viva Quetzal's music. At a certain point in this composition, there is a brief samba interlude that works quite nicely.
The CD's English/Spanish liner notes are quite informative and contain lyrics (translated into English as well) for each song with vocals.
Although I was impressed by each band-member's virtuosity and the group's overall cohesiveness, I have to admit that HIJOS DEL SOL barely moved me. I found most of the compositions to be unengaging and generally homogeneous in style and character. This album does make for pleasant background listening though.
Edited by David Schultz