Osvaldo Golijov
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Nuevo - Kronos Quartet
Nonesuch 79649
Released 04-09-02

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Track 7K'in Sventa Ch'ul Me'tik Kwadulupe Kronos Quartet

Track 1El Sinaloense (The Man from Sinaloa)Composer: Severiano BrisenoKronos Quartet
Track 2Se Me Hizo Facil (It Was Easy for Me)Composer: Agustin LaraKronos Quartet
Track 3Mini SkirtComposer: Juan Garcia Esquivel Kronos Quartet
Track 4El Llorar (Crying)Traditional Mexican (Son Huasteco)Kronos Quartet
Track 8Tabu (Taboo)Composer: Margarita LecuonaKronos Quartet
Track 12Nacho VerduzcoComposer: Chalino SanchezKronos Quartet
Track 1312/12Composer: Cafe TacubaKronos Quartet

...The bulk of these compositions have been arranged by composer Osvaldo Golijov who seemingly brings a manic energy and a playfulness to everything he touches. Chamber music purists may scoff, but the rest of us will be busy dancing and thrilling to this exciting, genre-blurring Kronos project.

—Jason Verlinde, Amazon.com

...Nuevo is a pure party record. Play it loud. It's a quasi-classical remake of Mexican pop and folk songs, where Golijov contributed seven lively arrangements and one tune of his own, Festival for the Holy Mother Guadalupe, a darker, meditative piece incorporating spooky rituals of folk religion.

—Pierre Ruhe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

...Behind music of Nuevo lies the arrangements of Osvaldo Golijov. Ever more, this Argentine-born American composer is coming to represent...the hope for a new global music of the 21st century. Listen to an original piece for string quartet and marimba he contributes to Nuevo. "Festival for the Holy Mother Guadalupe" is a dreamy, spectral music overlaid with a 1970 field recording of an Indian ritual made in the town of Chamula. The strings contribute a warm spiritual voice, heir to Dvorak. The rolling marimba adds a more conventionally Mexican flavor. The field recording makes it seem part of the real world, while the Indians' quiet religious ardor also takes it out of this world.

—Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

Sometimes it takes outsiders to find fresh perspectives on a musical culture that natives take for granted. On this brilliant album, Argentine rock producer Guastavo Santaolalla teams with Kronos, the experimental U.S. string quartet, to create a revealing impressionistic portrait of Mexican music, from the corridor to the classical.

Though the 14 tracks span a century, the album's innovative interpretations earn its title, which means "new". Most of it's bold arrangements are by Osvaldo Golijov...

Like the deliberately off-key country band in Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony, the group opens playfully with screechy, wobbly strings on "El Sinaloense, " evoking a rough-hewn rural band on this bawdy bar tuned. Far from typical tourist fare, "Nuevo" reaches deep and wide into the country's repertoire for genuine vintage gems (Alberto Dominguez's "Perfidia"), offbeat novelties (Juan Garcia Esquivel's "Mini Skirt") and complex progressive works (Silvestre Revueltas' "Sensemaya," Café Tacuba's "12/12"). Agustin Lara's mournful torch song "Se Me Hizo Facil" is even more soulful in this exquisitely slow version, with its courtly waltz crescendo.

Interlacing the tracks are the hypnotic street sounds of Mexico City, where musical director David Harrington discovered a one-armed minstrel eliciting improbably perfect melodies by blowing on an ivy leaf, sampled here on "Perfidia" (street recordings were made by co-producer Anibal Kerpel). Like good cultural anthropologists, the Kronos musicians have created an enlightening musical document by keeping their ears close to the ground.

—Agustin Gurza, Los Angeles Times

...Other offerings include the theme music from the popular TV comedy "Chespirito" (a blend of Beethoven and pop tunes), mid-century ballads, folk dances and some up-to-the-minute musical reportage from rock band Café Tacuba. Most of it is arranged by composer Osvaldo Golijov with a deft command of the string quartet's possibilities, and all of it is delivered with zest and respect.

—Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

...One of the several impressive arrangements by Kronos crony Osvaldo Golijov, is a dreamy take on the Chiapas ritual 'Festival for the Holy Mother Guadalupe'

—Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent