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Album reviews with Michal Boncza: July 22, 2022

New releases by Los Hermanos Ballumbrosio, Avalanche Kaito and The Shipbuilders

Los Hermanos Ballumbrosio
Homenaje a El Carmen/Homage to El Carmen
(Buh Records)

THE town of El Carmen, 200 miles south of Lima, is home to the largest black community in Peru and Los Hermanos Ballumbrosio are mesmerising exponents of the local music distinctly structured around west African rhythms and evolved by slave communities into the festejo and panalivio dances.

The sound is articulated with cajon (box), quijada (jawbone), congas, bongo and bata drums, violin and zapateo (shoe-tapping) and defines the cultural universe of El Carmen.

The combinations of the brothers’ voices in leads and choruses bewitch with their polyphonic textures.

These songs are collective narratives about the difficulties of rural life — the magnetic Lucio Cotito, and the pulsating Vamos a la Pampa deal with slavery and liberating revolution.

Hatajo de Negritos, a traditional religious dance, violin-driven and hypnotic, is listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.

Avalanche Kaito
Avalanche Kaito


IN Burkina Faso as much of western Africa the griot — tribal storyteller and musician — preserves the genealogies, historical narratives and oral traditions of their people, while targeted paeans subsidise income.

The position is hereditary and Kaito Winse comes from one such a family in the village of Lankoue in the north of the country.

This much is history but what this album offers is nothing short of astonishing.

Kaito Winse (vocals, tama, peul flutes, mouth bow) teams up with Belgians
Nico Gitto (electric guitar) and Benjamin Chaval (drums, pure data, electronics) who, while providing rock muscle, have submerged themselves symbiotically into the griot idiom.

The results are musical landscapes of transcendent beauty and fidelity to its African ancestry.

The restless The Cobra’s Meal, Windmill or the hypnotic Le Grand-pere/The Grandpa, Sunguru or Douaga — reminiscent of their big hit Dabalomuni — simply mesmerise. Miss not.

The Shipbuilders
Spring Tide
Mai 68 Records


THE Shipbuilders’ universe is worth exploring. Their “Shipwrecked” club nights have hosted over the past four years some of Merseyside's finest bands and spoken word artists, while raising funds and food for local foodbanks.

Musically they are very good indeed, with an engrossing melange of Spanish civil war laments, Gypsy arias and odes to drinking.

Singer Matty Loughlin-Day speaks of his fascination with “the concept of Cante Jondo, the folk music of Andalusia that literally translates to ‘deep song.’ Lorca wrote about it in his poetry and Hemingway loved it — it strikes straight to the heart.”

The spectacular Moons, written from the perspective of a soldier in the Spanish civil war, who hears “the wailings of this life and the next collide, while lamenting his love’s death and pondering if the same fate will fall on him.”

These Scousers are going places. Godspeed!



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