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The Art of the Paraguayan Harp

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Album Review

Jesuit missionaries introduced the Celtic harp to Paraguayan culture in the 16th century. The people adopted the instrument, modified it to fit the climate, and developed an extensive folk repertoire that gave way to one of the first forms of world fusion music. Paraguayan melodies are much closer in spirit and sound to the music of the Andes (yes, think of panpipes) than anything remotely Celtic, even though the sound of the harp occasionally suggests Alan Stivell's less-traditional compositions (like "Ys"). For The Art of the Paraguayan Harp, Eralio Gill has selected a repertoire of traditional tunes; classics by Féliz Pérez Cardoza, Asunción Flores, and Digno Garcia; and nine original compositions. The only sounds to be heard come from the harp, Gill, and Nicolarpa on a few tracks where he plays second chair. A fondness for the galopa, a fast-paced dance that could be Paraguay's answer to flamenco, ensures a healthy number of lively tunes. Gill's technique is impressive and the range of emotions he conveys calls for admiration, but the writing remains very homogenous, making this a long hour of music. The best moments arise when the musician allows himself some fantasy, as in the Far-East flavors of "Lagrimas Orientales" or the paso doble "Bajo el Cielo de España," where the harp literally becomes a Spanish guitar. ~ François Couture, Rovi

The Art of the Paraguayan Harp, Eralio Gill
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: Feb 16, 1999

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