mi décembre 2021
01. Lamparilla 02. Suplica 03. Tormentos 04. Lindos Ojos 05. Quimera 06. Corazon Que No Olvida 07. Las Tres Marias 08. Dicha 09. Mi Panecillo Querido 10. Sombras 11. Amor De Mi Linda Guambra 12. Vestida de Azul 13. Amor En Tus Ojos 14. Arbol Frondoso 15. Carnaval de Guaranda 16. Plegaria 17. Tus Ojeras 18. Limosna 19. Invocacion Sentimental 20. Nocturno 21. Desesperacion 22. Imploracion Indigena Gonzalo Benitez and Luis Alberto Valencia were kingpins of the musica nacional movement in Ecuador. Check them out on the cover, on a rooftop in Quito’s Old Town, surveying their dominion. In 1970, when Valencia collapsed onstage during a performance of the yaravi Desesperacion — ‘My heart is already in ashes’ — and died four days later, aged 52, his coffin was carried through those city streets on the shoulders of his fans. They began singing as a duo in their mid-teens. During twenty-eight years together they recorded more than six hundred songs, for Discos Ecuador, Nacional, Granja, Ortiz, Rondador, Onix, Fuente, Real, Tropical, Fadisa, RCA Victor — and of course CAIFE. Their exquisitely romantic harmonising is a sublime blend of collected forbearance and abject self-annihilation, underpinned and elaborated by the heart-piercing, improvisatory guitar-playing of Bolivar Ortiz. Effectively the third member of the group. ‘El Pollo’ sets the tone and intensity for everything that follows: listen to his soloing at the start of our opener, Lamparilla. Musically a pasillo — a cross between a Viennese waltz and the indigenous yaravi rhythm — Lamparilla draws its verses from a poem by Luz Martinez from Riobamba, written in 1918 when she was 15, under the influence of Baudelaire and Mallarme. Another pasillo here, Sombras is one of the best-loved songs in the musica nacional canon, setting lines about undercover sex and loss by the Mexican poet Maria Pren, which were considered pornographic on publication in 1911. And Benitez & Valencia looked back still further, to the indigenous roots of Ecuadorian music, as the key to its future. Carnaval de Guaranda is their take on a song dating back to the era of the Mitimaes, a broad group of Bolivian tribes conquered by the Incas and displaced to Ecuador. ‘Impossible love of mine / I love you for being impossible / Who loves what is impossible / Is the truest lover.’ Lovingly presented in a gatefold sleeve with spot-gloss, and printed inners, with stunning photos and expert notes. Excellent sound, drawn from original tapes, by way of Abbey Road, D&M and Pallas.