Ciro Hurtado | Los Angeles Blues

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Los Angeles Blues

by Ciro Hurtado

“On the album Los Angeles Blues I am exploring my roots, both the early influences from Peru and also the cultural diversity I encountered when I moved to Los Angeles,” Hurtado explains. “On this album I truly feel I have found my own voice as a solo player and I am more at ease playing solo than ever before. I have worked hard for many years to combine all my influences and make my own style so that I don’t sound exactly like anyone else.” Seeds for the music on the new album were planted throughout Ciro’s life. As a child he heard the song “La Campanera” by the young Spanish singer Joselito which inspired Hurtado to compose a completely different tune with that title. When he was in high school he traveled to the city of Cuzco in Peru for adventure and as a “rite of passage,” and this long-ago trip inspired the tune “Camino a Cuzco.” “Tahuampita” is his tribute to the informal weekend dance parties held by Peruvian jungle plantation workers that he observed as a child. Several
Genre: World: World Fusion
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1. Los Angeles Blues
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4:31 album only
2. Aguas
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4:34 album only
3. Camino a Cuzco
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4:17 album only
4. Spring in the Hills
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3:39 album only
5. Tahuampita
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3:59 album only
6. Irlandes
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2:11 album only
7. Reencuentro
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3:01 album only
8. Reflection
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4:10 album only
9. La Campanera
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2:43 album only
10. La Negrita Tomasa
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2:48 album only
11. Bordon Triste
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5:28 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Ciro Hurtado plays acoustic guitar with a unique Latin style that combines what he calls “Andean Blues” (from his Peruvian birthplace) with elements of American jazz and rock’n’roll plus a variety of other international influences. Proof of his innovative guitar technique is available on his new solo-guitar album, Los Angeles Blues.

Hurtado was born and raised in Peru, but immigrated to the United States when he was 20. Since then he has released seven albums under his own name and seven with the band Huayucaltia. He also has played and recorded with the renowned guitar ensemble Strunz and Farah. Hurtado has spent the past several decades developing his own guitar style that incorporates Peruvian folk music motifs that originated in the Andes Mountains and that he grew up listening to and performing as a teenager.

Hurtado’s last album, Guitarrista, also was a solo acoustic guitar recording. It went to #2 on the international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 album airplay chart, stayed on the chart for six months, and was named one of the Top 5 best world music albums of the year by the radio programmers reporting to ZMR.

Los Angeles Blues and Guitarrista and some of Hurtado’s other music are available for purchase online at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes and a variety of other sites that sell CDs or digital downloads. More information is available at cirohurtado.com.

Hurtado’s childhood was split between living in a small town on the family’s plantation in the Amazonia rain-forest and going to school in the large city of Lima. The plantation was so remote it was primarily accessible by small planes, and initially had no electricity or running water. When electricity was finally available for two hours a day, Ciro listened to music on the shortwave radio that picked up music from Brazil and Cuba as well as Russian broadcasts which expanded his awareness of many musical styles. “I had heard Andean folk music all my life, and members of my family played it on guitar, but as a child, the first time I heard The Beatles on the radio, I also became mesmerized by rock’n’roll.”

Ciro began playing guitar at age nine, and started studying it seriously when he was 13. He played acoustic guitar in traditional folk ensembles and electric guitar in rock groups. After moving to the United States, he studied at the prestigious Guitar Institute of Technology. Hurtado appeared on the Strunz and Farah Misterio album and toured for four years with this popular group including concerts at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Havana Classical Guitar Festival in Cuba, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, plus a return to his native country for a tour throughout Peru.

Hurtado’s own previous albums are In My Mind, Tales From Home, The Magic Hour, Guitarra, Echoes of the Andes and Guitarrista. The first five recordings mostly featured ensemble music with a few solo guitar tracks. After the release of Guitarrista, he toured extensively by himself with a show called “One Guitar, Many Stories” that paired his compositions with stories to illustrate the cultural and social contexts behind the music. Hurtado also is a founding member and currently the musical director of Huayucaltia (pronounced why-you-call-tea-ah) that has group members from Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and the United States (“In this group I have gotten the chance to explore virtually every kind of Latin rhythm.”). He has appeared on and co-produced their albums -- Despertar, Caminos, Horizontes, Amazonas, Origenes, Destinos and El Tiempo. During the past decade the group performed “Misa Criolla” by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez at the Hollywood Bowl to critical acclaim, and performed three times with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The last performance was a piece specifically written for the band and chorale by renowned composer Gabriela Lena Frank.

Hurtado was awarded the prestigious Durfee Master Musician Fellowship. “The highlight of that experience was playing with and collaborating with musicians from Africa, Japan, Iran, Ireland and Vietnam. I felt like we were creating universal music.” In addition, Hurtado has produced and recorded albums for Michele Greene, Conjunto Jardin, Rosalia Leon and numerous others. As a composer, Hurtado has scored and participated musically in various feature films and documentaries such as Ron Fricke’s classic film “Baraka,” “Dead Women in Lingerie,” “Max is Missing,” “Hope Street,” “Monsters,” “Peru: The Royal Tour” and “From Wharf Rats to Lord of the Docks.”


Reviews


to write a review

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
Equipped with only a single acoustic guitar, acclaimed veteran six-stringer Ciro Hurtado unleashes a full, rich plethora of sound that fuses global styles as diverse as the Americas, the British Isles, and continental Europe.

Hurtado combines the Andes mountain music of his Peruvian homeland with the trappings of Spanish flamenco, American folk music, and the snappy jazz of his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. The influences of Celtic music and childhood rock ‘n’ roll favorites such as The Beatles and Led Zeppelin can also be heard in his vibrant compositions.

This blend of the exotic and the familiar makes the album instantly accessible and enjoyable. Listeners can revel in musical motifs that they recognize while broadening their musical horizons thanks to Hurtado’s international flavorings.

Hurtado’s playing is just as inspired and invigorating as his writing. Using just one acoustic guitar on the entire recording, Hurtado employs his all-encompassing finger-style approach to create a full spectrum of chords, melodies, and rhythms on each track.

Hurtado has produced a solo guitar album that is easily one of the best in the genre, one that can be enjoyed over and over from beginning to end.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Los Angeles Blues" is a wonderful collection of eleven original acoustic guitar solos from Peruvian-born Ciro Hurtado. Hurtado started learning the guitar at age twelve and was playing in rock bands as well as Andean Folk ensembles by the time he was fourteen. Over the years, traditional Latin American and rock music have been major influences, and Hurtado has spent the past several decades developing his distinctive guitar style by incorporating Peruvian folk motifs from the Andes Mountains that he grew up listening to and performing as a teenager. Hurtado moved to the US in 1975 and studied at the Guitar Institute of Technology. He performed with the renowned guitar ensemble, Strunz and Farah, for four years and recorded with them on the album "Misterio." He has also released seven albums under his own name and seven with the band Huayucaltia (pronounced why-you-call-TEE-ah). Several of his previous albums were instrumental ensembles with a few guitar solos, but the most recent three have been acoustic solo guitar. Hurtado has studied a broad scope of Latin music as well as rock, blues, folk, jazz, classical, flamenco, Celtic, African, Middle Eastern, and other styles, giving him a true world view of music. I especially like the intimate feeling of this album - soothing and relaxing yet masterful. It is wonderful to listen to with full attention and also blends well as warm background music for a nice meal, talking, reading, etc.

"Los Angeles Blues" begins with the title track, an easy-going blend of American blues and Andean music. Based on the same pentatonic scale structure used in both traditions, the mood is melancholy, but not without hope. "Aguas" was first released as an ensemble piece in 1990 and now appears as a solo with some very impressive finger-picking. "Spring in the Hills" is much lighter and more carefree. "IrlAndes" is a fascinating melding of Irish and Andean styles - charming! "Reflection" has a more classical Latin guitar sound - smooth, evocative, and incredibly graceful - a favorite. "La Negrita Tomasa" picks up the tempo a bit with the feel of a folksong and catchy light percussion in the background. Containing several of the standard riffs from traditional Afro-Peruvian music, it feels light and dancelike. "Bordon Triste" closes the album with a melancholy piece with a gorgeous melody expressed in a variety of Latin American styles.

"Los Angeles Blues" is a solo guitar masterpiece! Recommended!

Lillian

CIRO HURTADO A LEADING LATIN GUITARIST AFTER 14 ALBUMS
CIRO HURTADO A LEADING LATIN GUITARIST AFTER 14 ALBUMS

Ciro Hurtado has spent the past 25 years becoming one of the leading Latin-styled acoustic guitarists. And here is the unusual aspect of it, he did it without playing a flamenco style. As you will hear on his latest album Los Angeles Blues, his sound mixes music from Peru (where he grew up) with influences from Los Angeles (where he now lives).

Over the course of seven solo albums plus seven recordings with his group Huayucaltia (pronounced why-you-call-TEE-ah), Hurtado has blazed his own path and found an appreciate audience. His last album was up at the top of the ZMR international chart and was named one of the Top 5 world music albums of the year by radio programmers.

Hurtado calls his unique Latin style “Andean Blues” (as a nod to his Peruvian birthplace). He grew up learning the acoustic folk music that originated in the Andes Mountain villages and rain-forest huts (see “Tahuampita” and “IrlAndes”). But there are some American and European stylistic traits mixed in (check out “Los Angeles Blues” and “Spring in the Hills”) as he goes along on the new record.

Recommended.