Various Artists - Mexican Boleros: Songs Of Heartbreaking, Passion & Pain, 1927-1957
Duende is a term used by Spanish musicians and poets to refer to the indescribable depth of certain music, an authentic tone that lets the listener know they are in the company of the real deal. Like the “High Lonesome” in country music, it is the authentic voice of inspiration that separates, say, Dylan from Donovan. You know inspiration when you hear it, and it makes you feel less alone. The Bolero was a Mexican genre full of duende, the soundtrack to grief, loss, lust and betrayal. “Mexican Boleros” is a compilation that gathers together some of the masters of the genre, from an era in which Mexico was rich in inspiration, in pain, and in venues in which to commiserate.This set features all sorts of rare treasures, from the bawdy brothel tunes of Augustin Lara to brooding and despairing tenor arias of Pedro Vargas, to more recognizable, guitar driven story-songs by Los Tres Ases. Heartbreak is front and center on “Humanidad” by Fernando Rosas and Fernando Fernandez’s “Nosotros,” among others. As with flamenco and the more recent narcoridas, there is a menacing yet fragile dimension to Spanish music, which wallows in the sacred and profane at once, without the duality common to most Western thought. It is all life, and has to be tackled with drama and with wit and love. “Mexican Boleros” is a stunning, unexpected motherlode of genius and sadness.
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