A Route To The Roots
The debut album by Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rioplatenses, A Route To The Roots, was recorded live at London's Bush Hall on 3rd December, 2007 and released in 2008. There is always something to be said for live, first take recordings, and the present album certainly proves the point.
Guillermo Rozenthuler, since his move from Argentina to the UK in 2000, has proved himself a priceless asset to the UK music scene as the leading tango and Latin vocalist. Already familiar to both world music and jazz connoisseurs well beyond Britain, both as a solo performer and through his association with various ensembles such as Tango Siempre, Los Mareados, Copenaires, the London Tango Orchestra, Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble and others, Rozenthuler formed Rioplatenses in 2003. The name refers to the peoples of the Rio de la Plata. The ensemble take the music of this region, as well as beyond, as their starting point, as their roots, and combine traditional songs in a contemporary idiom and originals with Native American and African folk roots as well as elements of jazz in the form of vocal improvisations. Rioplatenses take the listener far beyond just the well known Argentine forms of the tango and milonga with among others Argentine chacarera and huayno, Uruguayan candombe, Afro-Peruvian lando and even Brazilian forms such as samba and baião.
The core of Rioplatenses of three UK-based South American musicians, Guillermo Rozenthuler himself (vocals and guitar), Javier Fioramonti (bass), and Andres Ticino (percussion), is often augmented by a number of other international musicians that regularly include outstanding pianist John Turville, bandoneonista and flautist Ninon Foiret, and Pablo Ben Dov, additional percussion, as on the present recording.
Rozenthuler himself is an exquisite vocalist and a charismatic performer with immense stage presence and star quality. Equally at home in any form of South American music as well as jazz (or any other type of music you care to think of), Rozenthuler's voice is something special with an immense expressiveness that can call equally on deep tenderness and sensitivity as well as passion and sensuality, even a simmering eroticism and a kind of raw, almost menacing sexual power. It would be no exaggeration to call Rozenthuler a modern-day João Gilberto and Carlos Gardel rolled into one, combining the smooth cool of the former with the passion of the latter. The amazing sensuousness of his performance is well captured on the present live recording, at least, as well as any recording can ever capture such things.
The material of A Route To The Roots covers a superb selection of milongas, chacareras, chayas, rasguido dobles, cacharpayas, huaynos and yes, even tangos (one played as a milonga-candombe), including a Carlos Gardel classic, all presented in a contemporary idiom. A wonderful journey through such a variety of Argentine and other South American rhythms and forms, combined with Rozenthuler's exquisite interpretations, A Route To The Roots proves something special. The music goes straight to the heart (as well as feet!) and comes from the heart. The arrangements are a delight, and the instrumentalists of Rioplatenses have just the right touch. The live setting provides some added atmosphere as well.
A Route To The Roots is an enchanting album that is also completely compelling and more, as well as totally consistent. Each track presents its own charm and attractions and it would be quite impossible to pick just one particular favourite. After just one listen, this album will seem like an old friend. And as such ought to be cherished.
Timeless and with a timeless, lasting appeal, Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rioplatenses' A Route To The Roots ought to find a place in any good music collection but has to be considered beyond essential for any Argentine, South American, Latin, or general world music collection. If you're only ever going to buy one album of South American music, make it A Route To The Roots for its sheer breadth and beauty. This album sorely needs and deserves far wider exposure and recognition, and also wider distribution.
© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.