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Inti-Illimani
Amar de Nuevo
(Xenophile)
by Sarah Zupko

A couple of new world music releases are out that are absolute must-haves. First up, from Sweden, is Garmarna, whose unique synthesis of traditional Nordic sounds, medieval tales of violence and deceit (which are sung in Swedish), and drum’n'bass beats is positively entrancing. Beyond the bubbling electronic grooves, swirling fiddles and screeching guitars, Emma Hardelin’s voice is an absolute revelation—a powerful, almost operatic voice capable of endless variation, subtle dynamic shifts, and total inventiveness. Bjork has some serious competition.


Crossing over to Chile, legendary roots assemblage Inti-Illimani will have you swooning over their classic Latin American repertoire. Inti-Illimani are veterans of the world’s stages, having been European residents for 15 years during their exile from Chile in the post-Allende years. Never content to play it safe with one musical style, the band has roamed the far reaches of Latin American music in their long career, including forays into the sounds of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina, as well as those of their native land.


Amar de Nuevo is something of a departure and yet another stop on their explorations. This time around they’ve plunged deeper than ever into modern Latin sounds, concocting a sensual mixture featuring an especially generous helping of boleros and Peruvian waltzes. Inti-Illimani is more than up to the instrumental challenge too—their collection of more than 30 wind, string and percussion instruments add up to music with near orchestral power.

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