Paisaje urbano, with El Taller and the Latin American Popular Music Ensemble
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The pieces were selected from the collection of arrangements that have been exclusively written for the LAPME over the last five years. They were chosen based on musical complexity, audience reaction, student feedback and compatibility with the general concept of Latin urban styles.
The combination of rural and urban music genres is not unusual within Latin American musical contexts, especially in popular music settings. Most of the genres that today are categorized as urban started out in rural settings. The origins of styles like cumbia and bolero can be traced to the countryside of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. There are, however, styles that were created and developed in urban centers, such as the tango, bossanova and choro. Popular music concerts in Latin America often combine urban and rural music styles, and Paisaje Urbano is a reflection of that phenomenon.
Latin American music is in a constant and never-ending process of transformation and adaptation. Paisaje Urbano offers our own contribution to that dynamic process of reinvention and variation by stylizing these urban musics with a sophisticated classical approach.
The LAPME and El Taller have developing a particular and unique style that uses Latin American popular music as a foundation, taking advantage of the classical training of its members, both students and coaches. This CD represents the evolution of this unique combination, achieving a perfect balance between popular and classical music without leaning more toward either one. The term “crossover” could be applied, however, it is a term often used to describe popular music recordings by classical musicians or vice-versa, not the actual creation of a new style that results from incorporating the two genres.
The two tracks that in my opinion offer a perfect example of this “new style” are “El Cristo de Palacagüina” and “María Suite.” These pieces were conceived beyond the usual arrangement conventions and exhibit aspects of real composition and artistic freedom regarding the treatment of harmony, melody, rhythm and structure. The original song is preserved inside a frame of musical invention either by placing it in between preludes, interludes and postludes, or by presenting a new and transformed version. Other arrangements such as “Agua de beber,” “Benzinho,” and “Rapsodia en bolero” present a balance between the classic arrangement approach and musical creation.
Guido Sánchez-Portuguez, Resident Arranger