Los Ruphay – A Cry For Revolution< - Earth Healing Music from Bolivia (ARC Records EUCD2795, 2018)
It’s a 50th anniversary album for the band. They’re not as old as the Rolling Stones, but they’re older than the Internet, and they owe nothing to either. This is music that percolated through relative isolation, part Inca and part Spanish and mainly the former, because lower literacy rates equal high aural retention rates.
This half century-old Bolivian ensemble is the equivalent of a superlative, studied European Reformation Revivalist band. Except that they’ve spent more time with homemade instruments. And with their (South American griot) grandfathers and grandmothers. And with childhood bedtime stories of the Golden Man. And border wars, in living memory, with headhunters, ritual cannibals and slavers from the Amazon basin on the other side of the Andes.
Long ago, before the Andes rose, the Amazon flowed from East to West. Said dramatic rise trapped dolphins, otters and other creatures on the far side, and they adapted to freshwater. Bolivian legend includes intriguing tales of these creatures’ origins and motives, not to mention stories of 75-meter snakes and reptiles the world in general complacently believes disappeared with Jurassic extinctions. In short, within this tradition, everything over the next hilltop will kill you if you go there alone and quietly. This leads to a tight ensemble sound, yet also to individual resource. This is the basis for revolution.
“A Cry For Revolution” is a half century-old band articulating the revolutionary message of post-Conquistador centuries. The wind instruments capture the wind of the Andes. The drums capture the echo of mountains. Complete instrumentation for the record, among the eight players thereon, includes charango, vocals, flutes, pan-flutes, percussion, quena, guitar and cello, with much interchange between band members. This is an album paying homage to the ancestors. It’s that kind of World Folk.
It is a large album; one will put it on for a dinner party and feel insecure about having set enough places. One will water the yard and worry that spots have been missed. That wind. That echo. It is a record that makes one’s world larger.
Author: Arthur Shuey
Arthur has been reviewing music for publications since 1976 and began focusing almost exclusively on world music in 2012.
His musical background includes past presidencies of the Cape Fear Musicians Association and Blues Society of the Lower Cape Fear, founding membership in nine other blues societies, service on 17 music festival planning committees, two decades of teaching harmonica to individuals and groups, operating a small recording studio and performing solo and in combos for 30 years.
Arthur has written professionally since 1975, pieces ranging from short fiction to travel articles, humor to poetry, mainly for local and regional entertainment media. His blog,” Shuey’s World,” is featured at www.accesswilmington.com.