Candombe, we’re told in the liner notes to this delightful album, is an Afro–Uruguayan rhythm that extends beyond music to embody a way of life, one that was lovingly portrayed in the paintings of Pedro Figari (1861–1938), to whose memory it is dedicated. The picture here is one of pulsating Latin rhythms underpinning lambent group vocals (with the lyrics to each song inscribed in Spanish in the booklet that accompanies the disc). As I’m hardly an expert on this particular musical style, I can’t surmise with any degree of assurance how Grupo del Cuareim may rank on a scale of 1 to 10 among its peers, but it sounds pretty good to me. In a word, I really enjoyed listening to this music, which is as insistently cheerful as it is rhythmically engaging. It is, as the label affirms, a big world, and there’s a veritable cornucopia of music in its many corners that’s worth hearing. Jazz it’s not, but what’s in a name? Candombe swings, that’s for sure, and these musicians — drummers, vocalists and everyone else — are as hip as one could wish, even in Spanish. I’d love to see them on stage in their (presumably) colorful costumes, knocking an audience dead with their buoyant enthusiasm and wonderful artistry. Until then, I can set aside labels and admire Candombe for what it encompasses — bright and lively music that quickens one’s heart and soul.
Contact:www. candombe.com; www.bigworldmusic.com
Track Listing: Lonjas de Cuareim; Biricunyamba; Baile de los Morenos; Yo Tambi
Personnel: Hugo Fattoruso, music director, voice, acoustic piano, keyboards, accordion, tambor chico; Fernando