Benitez-Valencia Trio, Ecuador

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The Ecuadorian Everly Brothers’ classic full-length.

With its pristine sound, this has the sonic hallmarks of the recordings made by engineer Emory Cook. From 1958, it's a snapshot of the music of the Ecuadorean Andes, with the voices of Gilbert Benítez and Alberto Valencia in such close harmony they could almost be a transplanted Everly Brothers. From Quito, high in the mountains, there's a gorgeous lightness to much of the music, with agile guitar work ably supporting the singers. It's romantic, but a romance of place and life, rather than amour. You can hear the yearning in “Punales” and the sparkling pleasure in “Romantico Quito.” The whistling on the brief “Longuita Mia” imitates the ineffable pan pipes — so emblematic of the Andes — before closing with “Vasija de Barro,” whose brooding tone offers a more shadowed, sliding beauty. It's a subtle album in the tapestry interweaving of vocals and instrument, and its true joys really unfold over several plays.