11 Songs, 48 Minutes


About Ricardo Delgado

Ricardo Delgado is a Peruvian singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist possessed of a gorgeous tenor voice and an encyclopedic knowledge of his region's folk traditions, which he has managed to weave into an intensely personal and modern style. He is considered a cultural treasure not only in his native country, but throughout South America and Europe.

Born in 1966 in the city of Arequipa in Southwestern Peru -- the nation's second most populous city and the seat of its supreme court -- he started playing the quena (an Andean flute) in 1980 and studied music at the Regional Conservatory of Music in Arequipa. Upon graduation, he attended the National University of San Agustín in 1984, where he continued his musical studies not only on the quena but also in voice and piano -- while learning to play many Andean instruments from his classmates. That same year, he joined the group Sayari Llaqta, and began playing shows and recording. The group cut four albums (that featured Delgado on a total of four instruments, having added guitar to his arsenal) that all garnered positive acclaim, and they toured Europe between 1988 and 1989. Upon returning to Arequipa, Delgado joined the band Musocc Illary, comprised of local players. They cut two albums and toured Europe in 1990.

From 1991 until 1995, he played with the band Colca -- also made up of musicians from the fertile Arequipa region, and while they didn't record much, Delgado's own reputation had spread and he was able to secure European and South American tours as a solo act. In 1996, he emigrated to Paris, France, first as a member of the Peru Andino group, who focused primarily on the various folk traditions of Peru; the band included not only instrumentalists and singers but dancers as well.

Given his primary role as lead vocalist, Delgado was able to establish a solo career in addition to playing with the band. His material included traditional songs played in classic and rearranged styles, as well as his first originals. He played small concerts in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East with a wide repertoire of Latin American, Peruvian, and Arequipan songs that showcased his command of the numerous Andean instruments he had mastered.

In 2000, he recorded his debut album, Images, whose music and songs reflected different South American musical traditions. The following year he participated in the recording of the album entitled Le Suffle de la Cordillere by Bolivie, playing the Andean instruments quena, zampoña, and charango. In 2005, he guested with the Grupo Peru Andino for their album Himno al Sol.

In 2006, he joined the Paris-based South American folk group Los Koyas, recording seven albums with them.

But Delgado was restless, his passion for musical study remained unabated, and he entered the conservatory of Bois Colombes to study songwriting and composition as well as classical singing. After four years he transferred to the conservatory of Levallois Perret, where sang first chorale tenor in the Offenbach opera La Belle Helene. At the conservatory he took part in singing solos and in duets, trios, and quartets, as well as choral music.

In 2007, his sophomore solo effort Loin de Toi shocked many of his fans for its pioneering use of electro cumbia played in an indisputable Peruvian style. He wrote and arranged all the material, and played all of its instruments.

Delgado didn't give up on tradition. In addition to playing his new sounds in clubs and across Europe, in 2009 he recorded an album of Peruvian waltzes entitled Valses del Recuerdo, Vol.1.

Two years later, he cut a pair of instrumental albums using the quena as their centerpiece; one was a tribute to his friend, the Swiss composer (and flute master) Raymond Thévenot. He finished the year with two albums of ballads entitled Boleros del Recuerdo, Vol. 1 and 2.

In 2012, he recorded Homenaje a Arequipa for his native land, with yaravíes, waltzes, and pampeñas -- all compositions by iconic composers from Arequipa. In 2013, he delivered two albums -- Trovando, adapted from the modern evolution in trova, and Rancheras Inolvidables, comprising classic Mexican music. Delgado remained a relentless researcher and interpreter. His 2016 album, El Imperio de Los Incas, contained his own versions of songs and fragments that remained from history, as well as original compositions based on Incan harmonies and rhythms. His 2017 offering, Confidencias, was issued in September. This collection of original guitar-based love songs and ballads was picked up by all the major digital streaming services and placed on various charts in South America, Europe, Asia, and North America. ~ Thom Jurek

Arequipa, Peru