Lucid Culture


CD Review: Chango Spasiuk – Pynandi: los Descalzos

Last year it was chicha music from Peru, this year it’s chamame, hill country music from the north of Argentina that’s the latest style to be plundered from El Sur. As with Chicha Libre, Argentinian accordionist Chango Spasiuk, the guy doing the plundering here adds his own individual, intelligent touch to the style. Blending violin, guitar and sparse percussion in the background along with his squeezebox, the cd (whose title is regional slang for “country bumpkin”) is a mostly upbeat, rousingly rustic mix of originals offering an inspired update on a style little-known outside its own turf. Spasiuk is best-known as an intense live performer, projecting himself here as a strong yet tasteful ensemble player, letting the violin or the guitar carry most of the melody. 


The cd kicks off with a happy, upbeat dance, Terra Colorada and then the darkly beautiful, atmospheric tango-inflected El Camino, in 12/8 time, ending with spooky, distant violin washes against starkly incisive acoustic guitar. Spasiuk’s Suite Noreste is a sprightly theme and variations featuring a big violin cadenza. Track five, Senor O, with sparse, mournful accordion and then sparse, pensive guitar segues into a beautiful, sad waltz appropriately titled Tristeza. From there on it’s back to the happy stuff with Infancia (Childhood), violin playfully gliding in the background behind Spasiuk’s warm, predictably nostalgic chordal work.


The clouds return with another pretty waltz, Viejo Caballo Alazan, a vocal number, then the pace picks up again. The rest of the album alternates waltzes – Panambi (Mariposa), i.e. Butterfly being a highlight, building from a wrenchingly beautiful waltz with vocalese to a big crescendo and then back again – alongside simple, straight-up dance numbers. Spasiuk is a big star in Argentina, doing with this what Carlos Vives did with vallenato in Colombia. The style may not be well known yet, but this cd is accessible enough to gain a wide following with the gypsy music crowd or for that matter latin music fans in general. Be the first on your block to know what it is. Chango Spasiuk plays Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Mar 27 at 7:30 PM.


March 4, 2009 - Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , ,

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