Born the youngest of ten children in Sardinal, Guanacaste, Guadalupe Urbina demonstrated her interest in folkloric music at a very early age. She sings with passion, veracity, capriciousness and has an incredible range with her voice. She credits her mother as being her mentor and biggest fan as well. Ms. Urbina received her deserved recognition in 1987, when she was invited to participate in the Latin American Music Festival in The Netherlands. From that performance, she was asked to perform at the 1988 Amnesty International Festival in San Jose, along with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Sting and Peter Gabriel.
A few years ago, Putumayo started a vein of Latin music albums that presented a compilation of Hispanic musicians playing modern, “chill” music. The first was titled “Latin Groove”, the second “Latin Lounge”. They were very listenable and great exposure for a bevy of new artists. Putumayo then decided to open the Brazil porthole, with stunning results. In part because the recording company had become versed in their new themes; they became slicker, more adept at their next venture into these realms. But “Brazilian Groove” and “Brazilian Lounge” both also had something else going for them. The musical and conceptual styles seemed to be made for each other. The world noticed, as reflected by sales. Putumayo noticed, too, intrigued by this global response. They released an “Acoustic Brazil” disc that was roundly received.
By Jim Parisi
Inspiration comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, in a plethora of locations, at any given time of the day; Jerry Garcia once said it happens “in the strangest of places, if you look at it right”. For Bolivian musician Cristobal Colon, it came as he gazed upon a waterfall deep in the Bolivian jungle. A longtime fan of Jimi Hendrix, he felt a vision, the apparition, the voice of Hendrix telling him that it was time to stop thinking and start creating the opera he had been mentally formulating for some time. In the liner notes, Colon also explains that the Andean Opera “was inspired by the beautiful nature in those too few areas that have not endured the ‘Progress’ of mankind”.
I’m listening to “Un Vaso de Vino”, the new self-produced album by local musician Charly Lopez and I realize that he has really been around. You can hear it in his musical influences. Born in Montevideo,Uruguay, Charly played in five different bands there during a twelve year span: Vision, Aeroplano, Las Bestias, Mamut, and Alvacast, recording four albums with this band. Charly relocated to Canada in 1992, playing with three different bands over a span of more than a decade and recording his fifth CD with Tears for the Dead Gods, before moving to Costa Rica when a friend suggested he come down and play at his restaurant in Brasilito. His initial four month stay here lasted six months, with Charly playing five nights a week. He went back to Canada for about seven months before returning here to live in 2005.
A little more than a year after the sudden passing of Fidel Gamboa, I thought it might be time to look back on the impact of the band Malpais and the void created by Fidel’s tragic, early death, creating an end to this very popular musical group.
Although the band had been together for some time, there first national exposure came in September of 2002, when they provided the back-up music for their uncle Max Goldemberg and his musical partner Odilon Juarez, for a recording at the Spanish Cultural Center in San Jose that was released as “Tierra Seca” on the Papaya Label. Though technically not a Malpais album per se, it reveals the genesis of a band that understands how to play as an intricate unit.
By Jim Parisi
Max Goldemberg and Odilon Juarez were born into musical Guanacastecan families. They have played music together for most of their lives. For the sake of preserving some of the musical legacy of the area, they recorded a live set of their music and really didn’t think any more about it. It was the first time they had recorded any of their musical escapades. Some of the musicians in attendance went on to create the Costa Rican band Malpais. Recently, Papaya Music uncovered this nugget and decided to share it with a bigger audience.
By Jim Parisi
Papaya Music of Costa Rica is offering a soundtrack for that distinct space of time that is framed by a Guanacste sunset. The CD, titled Guanacaste al Atardecer, is a mix of musicians of different styles. Nicaragua is included in the CD as a part of the Guanacaste peninsula, or “Gran Nicoya”, as this entire area has shared a cultural bond for centuries.
The CD opens with “Concierto Para un Coro de Lapas” combining natural, ambient sounds of crickets, macaws and other birds, with the unmistakable piano of Manuel Obregon, accompanied by the trio Mandragora on guitars and flute. The song is taken from a recording session in 1990 and sets the tone for the entire disc.