Oscar Reynolds,
Rio de Luz/River of Light
(Karumanta, 2004)

Oscar Reynolds refers to his music as "...a flow of melodies that glide along like a river of light," hence the title of the album. And that's as accurate a description of the music on this album as one might come up with.

It's not music you'll sing or dance to, but it does provide a pleasant listening experience. It's an all-instrumental album, tranquil and relaxing -- a perfect backdrop for dining or just listening.

The tracks are a mix of Reynolds' native Bolivian music with Afro and Flamenco influences.

A lawyer turned musician, Reynolds is a multi-instrumentalist, equally proficient on guitar, Andean flutes, bass, charango, keyboards and percussion -- all of which he says he learned solely by observing other musicians.

After invitations to join other bands with which he toured the world, Reynolds formed his own band, Karumanta Jamuyku (Quechua for "We have come from far away") in 1991. Other members are Enrique Coria, guitar and bass; Jose Luis Reynolds, charango; Fernando de Sanjines, percussion; Lalo Izquierdo, cajon; Chuscales, flamenco guitar; and Raul Ramirez, percussion.

There's an effortless quality to the music that reflects the professionalism of the group. It's difficult to name a favorite from the 11 tracks.

by John R. Lindermuth
24 March 2007

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