Edery Sings Yupanqui
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Gerard Edery
Edery Sings Yupanqui
Sefarad Records (www.gerardedery.com)

Even if the names Gerard Edery and Atahualpa Yupanqui ring no bells, you'll likely find this disc of the former playing and singing compositions by the latter quite warm and inviting. Yupanqui (1908-1992) was one of Argentina's most renowned musicians, composing and singing in poetic folk style that's had enduring popularity in and out of his native land. Tours of Europe in the 1950s included performances with Edith Piaf in Paris and wider recognition for his skills not only as a singer and songwriter, but a first-rate guitarist as well.

Edery's longstanding love for Yupanqui's work was put to the test in 1991 when he was selected to perform Yupanqui's music at a dinner party for the man himself prior to his final concert at Carnegie Hall. The master was reportedly pleased by his disciple's renditions. Now Edery has made a full-length CD of Yupanqui's songs, and it's evident from the hushed, almost prayer-like way in which they're rendered that Edery's respect has not waned. In the absence of translated lyrics (though they can be seen at Edery's website), I concentrated on the music, which consists of Edery's (often multi-tracked) guitar and voice, acoustic bass, percussion and some studio sweetening around the edges. Despite a prevailing low-key air, the tracks snap and swing like a slower version of flamenco or the sort of the roots music found in Argentina's South American neighbors. There's no blatant attempt to sound vintage; the production on some of the songs is actually quite contemporary. Still, as an American with a limited knowledge of Argentinean music, I felt like I was listening to sounds from a lost era. And I savored them more and more as the disc progressed. The alternately somber and lively guitar, testimonial vocals, shadowboxing bass and percussion and slightly murky aura of the whole album are sweetly mysterious and obviously from the heart. - Tom Orr

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