The New World = Creole Folias – Montserrat Figueras, soprano/ Tembembe Ensamble Continuo/ La Capella Reial de Catalunya/ Hesperion XXI/ Jordi Savall, conductor – Alia Vox multichannel SACD 9876, 76:11 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:
It is impossible to go into detail regarding this new release as the notes in the excellent booklet will tell you everything you need to know about the “Andalusian Caribbean” and its mixed influences of Spanish colonialism, American idioms already existent, and African influences all coming to bear in one locale. Though the title to this issue specifically mentions Creole folias found in the New World, there are also some specifically Old World tracks as well, ostensibly to give the listener a basis from which to compare the development of such musics to what was happening in Spanish America.
There are moments of this disc that reminded me an awful lot of the improvised sections of Osvaldo Golijov’s music, but I am sure the comparison is coincidental to a degree as his touchstone has been mainly purely South American forms. Even still, the continuity among rhythmic excursions and vamp-like structures in this music cannot be purely coincidental; I am sure anyone with an interest in this region will be satisfied with Savall’s explorations, and he just might spark an interest among those willing to take a chance on this dance-like, singing, and jaunty music.
Sound is terrific as always in excellent surround (recorded a little low this time) with top of the market production values in presentation.
Folías Criollas: Gallarda & Jarabe loco 2. Cachua a duo y a Cuatro: Niño il mijor 3./4. Jácaras / El Pajarillo 5./6. Cumbes / El Cielito Lindo 7. Tono Humano: Trompicávalas amor 8. Balajú Jarocho 9. Seguidillas En Eco: De Tu Vista Celoso 10. Fandango / El Fandanguito 11. Guineo a 5: Eso Rigor e Repente 12. Canarios 13. Guabina de Vélez 14. Niña como en tus mudanzas 15. Jota / María Chuchena 16. Xicochi Conetzintle / Xochipitzahuatl 17. Danza de Moctezuma 18. Cachua a voz y bajo: Dennos lecencia señores 19. Los Chiles Verdes 20. Guaracha: Ay que me abraso / El Arrancazacate
— Steven Ritter