The Rough Guide to Central America (2001)

«This is the first comprehensive single-disc collection of the various popular and folk styles from the Central American region of the world. Included on this album's 17 selections are representative tunes of the styles of Guatemala (marimba), Belize (brukdown), Nicaragua (trova), Honduras (punta), and countless variations incorporating reggae, salsa, son, cumbia, and local styles. The performers are well-known in the region, and especially in their native countries, so this is not a collection of field recordings. Nowhere is this more evident than in the album's opener by Belize's Andy Palacio; "Nagúara," from his album Keimon, is a solid blend of infectious pop with a traditional rhythm (garifuna). He makes a second appearance with "Lasmiselu," and it too is irresistible in its pop appeal and killer rhythmic invention. Also present is the truly wonderful Guadalupe Urbina with "Agosto Azul," from Costa Rica, a sublime blend of poetry and music. The crossbreeding, the miscegenation here, is almost unbelievable for its invention of new styles from old. Take Philip Montalvan's "Bilwi Luhpia Mairin," which is a seamless fusion of reggae and folk music from Nicaragua's indigenous Miskito tribe. But there are folk elements too, from Mr. Peters & His Boom & Chime, with his virtuoso accordion playing fronting a band playing brukdown, a form of black Creole music from Belize, or Guatemalan musician Jursino Cayetano's paranda, which uses garifuna drums, acoustic guitar, and Latin and Spanish rhythms in a folk song. There are also tracks here from Panama, El Salvador, and other nations. Whatever your taste is, it is at least reflected here. But for most listeners, this music will be a revelation, a stunning wake-up call that, even in the widespread marketplace ghetto called "world music," there is much that is within easy distance of our ears, yet never heard on these shores. Thank goodness for the Rough Guides and others like them. This isn't just good music, it is essential music for everyone interested in the world around them. A fantastic collection.» (AMG)

Dedicated to Andy Palacio

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Radu said...


Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Thanks for this, one of my favourite parts of the world.
I've got quite a bit of world music and indigenous music on my blog at
with a link to you fantastic blog,
I'd love a link from you
thanks again
ciao bob

Anonymous said...

Great for you to offer this album, still missing in my Rough Guide collection, but I'm afraid in 2008 a bitrate of 128 just doesn't cut it.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Thanks for the link Radu, I consider
this blog one of the finest around
ciao bob

Anonymous said...

As a Panamanian, I can say the two selections on this album are not representative of our countrie's music at all.

It's still a great album though.