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Tierra Seca in Guanacaste

Tierra Seca

Tierra Seca

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. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Listening to the Sunset

Guanacaste al Atardecer

Guanacaste al Atardecer

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. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Many Lives of El Gato

terry mclaughlin

Terry Mclaughlin

By Jim Parisi

Terry McLaughlin is a cat of many lives. He is an educated, interesting conversationalist and he loves to blow harp to some low-down, dirty blues. Terry was born in Letcher County, Kentucky’s poorest and has a sharp sense of humor that is somehow unable to hide his softer, compassionate side. He’s a cat of many lives, a few of which, he is ready to admit, he blew through when he was younger and time was expendable. Terry told me that gospel and “porch music”, especially of the Appalachian variety, were his first exposure to his lifelong fascination with music. He had his first paying gig as a musician at the age of thirteen and has been at it some forty-odd years since. After a lifetime of touring, in the new incarnation of El Gato, Terry and his wife Lynn have now been living in the Tamarindo area for about ten months. Terry shows up regularly at the Wednesday night Open Mike shows at Pasotiempo and this guy is a walking music encyclopedia, a true fellow music geek. He’s played in dozens of bands throughout his career and has played with some of the true blues greats, such as the three Kings: Albert, Freddie and B.B., and with Carla Thomas, who recorded with Otis Redding. Honestly, I’m in awe. And it is apparent in his stage presence that he is comfortable in his skin, a born “Front Man”.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Cajita de Musica

music box 2By Jim Parisi

Largely overlooked by the global music scene, Central America is diverse and rich in its musical genres. Luckily for the music listener, there are people dedicated to exposing this treasure trove. Central American Music Box 2 is the second release contributed by Moka Discos inNicaragua, Stonetree Records inBelize, Costa Norte inHondurasand Papaya Music inCosta Rica, under the collective name Central American Music Network. The first installment came out in 2010 and laid the groundwork in exposing both traditional and new, cutting edge musicians from this area. The new twelve-song CD is a welcome companion, expanding the list of bands and musical styles. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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The Gentle Swing of Rialengo

Rialengo Musica ProfanaBy Jim Parisi

The first time I listened to “Musica Profana”, the new CD by Rialengo, I found myself being impressed time and again by the vocal and instrumental harmonies and the seamless, gentle flow of the melodies. The music is a mesh of Cumbia, from Colombia, and Swing Criolla, which itself is a marriage of Peruvian Criolla and American swing music, all blended in a Costa Rican, Latin stew. Francisco Murrillo, the singer and songwriter of the band, has a perfect voice to portray this flowing music. Francisco was born in Rialengo, a neighborhood in Guapiles, on the road to Limon, on the Caribbean shore of Costa Rica. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Having a Swinging Time

rumba jamBy Jim Parisi  

Criollo music actually originated inPeru, and was quickly absorbed by Venezuelan and Argentinean musicians. But swing criollo with its tico flavor had its genesis here in the Sixties with a merger of American Swing music and a Latin style of music from Colombia called cumbia. Initially, it was frowned upon, considered an uncultured, even crude style of music to a point where in the Seventies in San Jose, there were many signs at dancehalls and clubs proclaiming, “Swing Dancing Forbidden”. But the style continued and grew, both in popularity and refinement over the next forty years. Last 30 November,Costa Rica’s president Laura Chinchilla and Minister of Culture Manuel Obregon officially declared swing criollo “one of the expressions of dance of the intangible cultural heritage of Costa Rica”.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Symbiotic Action in Guanacaste

obregon teamBy Jim Parisi

The new Papaya DVD, “Piano and Tropical Dry Forest – a Journey into the Heart of the Tropics” is a stunning compilation of imagery and sound, filmed and recorded entirely in the Guanacaste province, in several locations: Rincon dela Viejaand Cacao, Islas Catalinas, the Gulf of Papagayo, Malpais, Playa Naranjo, the national parks of Palo Verde and Santa Rosa and El Viejo Wetlands. The hour of sound and film of Manuel Obregon accompanying the natural sounds and sights of each of these areas on his portable electric piano is nothing less than breathtaking, impressive in its consistent attention to detail on and off camera. I cannot imagine the number of man-hours put into this project, also a statement to Papaya’s commitment. The filming, a team of five photographers, headed by Luciano Capelli, who is also the director and executive producer, presents a potpourri of crystal clear long shots and very detailed close-ups of the area’s living, breathing soul, all literally in concert with Obregon improvising with Nature’s beauty and unpredictable personality. The imagery is really a play of light and motion; the editing in conjunction with the sound is superb. Nano Fernandez contributed a seamless job of recording the natural sounds, then mixing and mastering the final result, a critical step in the end production that often goes unrecognized.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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