Nati Cano's Mariachi los Camperos and Los Camperos de Valles

¡Llegaron Los Camperos!, and El Ave de Mi Soñar:Mexican Sones Huastecos (Smithsonian Folkways)

Texas Platters

Nati Cano's Mariachi los Camperos

ÁLlegaron los Camperos! (Smithsonian Folkways)

Los Camperos de Valles

El Ave de Mi Soñar: Mexican Sones Huastecos (Smithsonian Folkways)

Whether it's the grand, volcanic expression of mariachi or the driving rhythms of son, lovers of traditional Mexican music have an abundance to celebrate with the two latest releases from the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series. Mariachi los Camperos' ÁLlegaron los Camperos! and Los Camperos de Valles' El Ave de Mi Soñar: Mexican Sones Huastecos aren't grainy, recorded-"in-the-field" discs, but rather distinctive albums that showcase the beauty of the music. Of the two discs, Nito Cano's Mariachi los Camperos is the most remarkable. While liner notes indicate 10 tracks, nearly each track is composed of two or more seamlessly knit mariachi standards. Most of the selections are quickly recognizable, either by title or after the first few notes. Delightful are the divine nuances in instrumentation, the laser sharp harmonies, and the intricate arrangements. Those who've come to accept blaring horns and bleating vocals from lesser mariachi musicians will have a new appreciation of the form with Mariachi los Camperos. The same can be said of Los Camperos de Valles. However, because the son huasteco is typically repetitive in style and delivery, its beauty may be lost on non-Spanish speakers. The lyrics are an important part of son, as is the vocal delivery. Without understanding this, El Ave de Mi Soñar sounds like a monotonous litany. Fortunately, the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series provides detailed liner notes that provide English translations as well as an essential historical context for the music. Both albums are excellent introductions to those new to these musical forms and necessary additions to the aficionado's collection.

(Los Camperos de Valles) ***.5

(Nati Cano's Mariachi los Camperos) ****

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