various artists,
Native Music of Northwest Mexico:
Tarahumara, Warihio & Mayo

(Canyon, 1998)

Native Music of Northwest Mexico: Tarahumara, Warihio & Mayo, volume 9 of the Canyon Records Vintage Collection, compiles the musical traditions of the Tarahumara, Mayo and Warihio tribes, representing the diversity of the music found throughout the region. These recordings were made during various festivals and demonstrations in 1977. They contain the sounds of the audience and many incidentals.

The music of this area incorporates the instruments, such as the violin, brought by Spanish explorers as well as native flutes and drums. Some of the Tarahumara dances use five violinists. The Mayo songs range from harp, violin and rattles to flute and drum. They use a wide variety of instruments in varying combinations, mixing the indigenous with the Spanish influence.

The third track, "Tarahumara Matachine Dance," makes me want to tune their violins for them, but it grows on you. It seems just a tad off key. This is a trait of their handmade violins. They tune them to a different key than the original Spanish instruments. The "Mayo Pascola Dance: Cuervo" reminds me of a British piccolo tune. My favorite is "Mayo Pascola Dance: Paloma Macho." It has a full accompaniment with heavy percussion. It has a great dance beat, fast and lively, with extreme repetition.

Selections on this CD include "Mayo Pascola Dance: Paloma Macho (The Male Dove)," "Tarahumara Yumari Dance," "Mayo Pascola Dance: Cuervo (The Crow)," "Warihio Harp Solo" and "Mayo Deer Dance: Chloe (The Partridge)."

The inside of the cover provides information about the history and culture of these indigenous peoples of Mexico. It explains about the music, the instruments and the significance of the festivals to the music and vice versa. As you listen to the music and look at the photos on the cover, you will be filled with a strong desire to see these ceremonies in person. It is easy to get caught up in the sounds of the festivities.

This classic in native music is a wonderful addition to any music collection. It will take you into the cultural activities of three groups that you likely have never met. It is a rare opportunity to join in their festivities and embrace their culture. It makes me want to jump up and dance. I thoroughly enjoy it.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 10 October 2003

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