In the process of digging for songs and trying to sort out what I needed to play, I learned a lot about folk sounds from all the countries that the Andes inhabits. From Chile's nueva canción to early Peruvian Chicha to pan flute sounds from Bolivia and Ecuador, there is truly too much to share in an hour long program. Especially given that the last part of the hour features newer artists who you can tell were influenced by these roots—from Argentina's Chancha Via Circuito, to Bolivia's Luzmila Carpio, and Ecuadorians Nicola Cruz, Matanza and of course, Gepe.
I must admit that folk music hasn’t usually been a specialty of mine. Maybe I’m mellowing in my old age, taking more travel experiences in South America or perhaps it’s simply that the undercurrent of many South American folk sounds still echoes in some of the newest, hippest sounds emanating from the continent—but I’m really beginning to dig this stuff.
I was inspired to put this together by Chilean pop-crooner Gepe, whose new album “Folclor Imaginario” dropped late last year and draws inspiration from one of his country’s most respected focloristas, Margot Loyola Palacios. I played a couple of tunes from that project and then started ruminating about music that might work with that vibe.