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It is literally impossible to understand many Puerto Rican musical streams unless one is familiar with the songs of the 16 Eleutherodactylus species there. Two of them – Eleutherodactylus portoricensi and Eleutherodactylus coquí – emit a recurring percussive song, from whence derives the popular name. The former frog is endemic only in Puerto Rico and it is the island’s national symbol. There are thousands of references to the coquí in the Puerto Rican popular songbooks, and it has served as inspiration to countless musicians from Menudo to Papo Vázquez.
The CD features one continuous track that lasts more than 70 minutes. It features environmental sounds from the countryside of a town called Toa Alta. Although several other natural sounds can be heard, including flowing water, rain and thunderstorms, most of this excellently recorded disc is dedicated to the combo nocturnal sound of at least four of the frog’s species. For the metaphysically inclined, the recording can certainly facilitate meditation. Either way, the recording has immense relaxing qualities, as their natural sounds are quite soothing, penetrating and even percussive in scope.
In time, we will see how the recent accidental introduction of these batrachians to Hawaii will change their local cultural development. If you haven’t had the chance of listening to what a Puerto Rican night sounds like, this is definitely the recording to reference their songs.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.