Ciro Hurtado is a (mostly) acoustic guitarist born and raised in Peru but living the past few decades in Los Angeles, California, USA. His guitar style is unusual because he plays (mostly) nylon-string, but the sound is not your typical Latin sound. It IS Latin sounding, but very smooth and gentle and often fairly slow. It sounds great in the context of his music which also is fairly laid-back. His latest recording is called Ayahuasca Dreams and features a variety of singers and musicians joining him. Apparently it was inspired by a natural mind-trip-drug administered by shamen in the Peruvian jungle. Well, hot diggidity!
The CD begins with “Peru,” a short track that rocks more than anything else on the album and features native flute and electric guitars and drums. Everything calms down after that intro. “Andean Blues,” obviously another title as tribute to his youth, is a slow piece with acoustic guitar, organ, flute and percussion, and features some change-ups as it goes along. “Flor de Aleli” is the first tune with vocals. On several songs different ladies sing gently in Spanish. On this longer track it evolves into a female chorus toward the end. There also are what sounds like two acoustic guitars, a flute and a violin played by the excellent Charlie Bisharat. “Bolero de mi Barrio” has some faint wordless vocals, but mostly features acoustic and electric guitars, piano (two-thirds of the way through) and some light congas. “Dulce” has a chant-like female vocal and a man wailing in the background a few places. It has a nice groove with guitar, violin, flute, pennywhistle and who knows what else. “Feliz” has beautiful guitar soloing along with drums, hand-percussion, what may be synthesized steel drums, and a keyboard or an accordion. There is another very nice female vocal on “Silencio” which is a light and delicate track that has a wood flute making an appearance three-fourths of the way through. The lovely “Amanacer en el Lago” is the only solo acoustic guitar tune which is a little strange since Hurtado’s last two CD releases were ALL solo guitar tunes. Another female vocal is spotlighted on “Una Paloma,” a light mid-tempo piece with a snapping drum, two guitars and a pretty guitar solo. “Too Young Too Soon” is another track with wordless vocalizing, and it is driven forward mostly with a piano and some light percussion. The album ends with “Physician Poet” that has both electric and acoustic guitars, that strange steel-drum sound again, and a nice flute solo in the middle.
I should also mention the album has an appropriate hallucinogenic cover with all types of buried South American symbolism.
Ciro Hurtado has put together one hell of an album that, between his Latin-influenced guitar style and the four tunes with Spanish singing, definitely has a Latin feeling and flair to it, but the music is so good that it can be enjoyed and appreciated by non-Hispanics and music lovers who generally have little interest in Latin music. No matter how you slice this one, it comes up a winner.
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About the reviewer
May 22, 2013
Dec 9, 2014 03:27 AM UTC