Conjunto Jardin | Floreando

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by Conjunto Jardin

Sisters Libby & Cindy Harding and their supercharged band reinvigorate the lively jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico.
Genre: World: World Traditions
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. El Colas
4:13 $0.99
2. El Torito/El Toro Zacamandu
5:41 $0.99
3. El Coco
4:06 $0.99
4. La Rama
4:49 $0.99
5. La Guanabana
6:24 $0.99
6. El Gavilancito
3:30 $0.99
7. La Indita
4:38 $0.99
8. El Pijul
4:00 $0.99
9. El Aguacero
3:06 $0.99
10. De Puerto en Puerto
5:02 $0.99
11. Floreando
2:55 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Floreando is the second CD release from Los Angeles-based Conjunto Jardín. Inspired by the group's 2001 trip to Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, Mexico, to participate in the annual son jarocho extravaganza Encuentro de Jaraneros, the new CD combines the rhythmic drive and virtuosic sparkle associated with the port city of Veracruz with the more rural, roots-oriented and percussion-flavored style typical of Mono Blanco, Son de Madera and Los Cojolites, Veracruz groups prominent in the current resurgence of jarocho music.

The only son jarocho group led by women, Conjunto Jardín features sisters Libby and Cindy Harding-the name is a play on the Spanish pronunciation of their last name-on the traditional Veracruz jarana, a small strummed rhythm guitar, and requinto, a 4-string lead guitar plucked with a long bone pua or pick. Their sibling vocal harmonies, riding atop hard-charging jaranas, driving cajón-and-bass rhythm section and sparkling harp-like keyboards, focus a fresh, modern sound that is at once quite faithfully traditional and at the same time possessed of an accessible, rock-influenced drive and a certain - dare we say it? - commercial edge.

Bailable (danceable) is not a term often applied to son jarocho, even though the percussive footwork called zapateado is an integral part of the tradition. But from the first notes of the opening track-"El Colás," a typically irreverent jarocho classic about a flirty guy-there's an undeniable groove going on that's a little different from what you might expect, and substantially funkier. The upbeat, driving "El Torito" (The Little Bull) will satisfy fans of the group's first album, and its medley-mate "El Toro Zacamandú" (The Magic Bull) percolates with raw energy. But the CD's real surprise is in the slower tracks-the restrained, hypnotic chant of "El Coco" and, especially, "La Guanábana," with its almost classical arrangement and deliberate build-up and release that echos the song's lyrics of yearning sexuality.

Connecting the dots from Veracruz to Cuba and back to Africa is Marcel Adjibi from Benin, West Africa on cajón, the wooden box drum originated by black slaves in the Americas. His swelling crescendos and African vocal touches add an insistent, below-the-waist rhythmic sway that makes tangible what's often debated by scholars of son jarocho: the genre's African roots. ("La Bamba" was written by an African ex-slave in the 1800s.)

Gary Johnson deploys traditional percussion instruments the quijada (donkey jawbone) and pandero (octagonal tambourine) when he's not transforming his keyboard into a Veracruz folk harp, and Rick Moors' electric bass often seems to bridge Mexican and African traditions. The new CD benefits from the addition of Chiapas, Mexico native Jorge Mijangos, a talented multi-instrumentalist whose powerful, precise jarana playing, lyrical meanderings on leona (baritone requinto) and honeyed vocals add weight and dimension. Also a master luthier, Jorge has constructed many of the band's instruments.

At the mixing controls once again was Larry Hirsch, known for his work with Los Lobos, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt and many others. Peruvian composer/producer Ciro Hurtado (Huayucaltía) engineered the recording, while also contributing an evocative guitar solo on the Afro-Peruvian-influenced "La Guanábana."

The roots of Conjunto Jardín go back to '80s nueva canción group Sabiá: Cindy, Libby and Gary were all key participants. Cindy also plays in Andean fusion group Huayucaltía, and Marcel and Rick were both in Word of Mouth, Libby and Gary's Latin folk/rock group whose 1995 CD Somewhere in the World received glowing reviews and considerable airplay across the U.S. and Canada.

Conjunto Jardín's first release, Nuevo Son Jarocho (1998), got excellent notices and radio play; its track "La Bruja" was featured on Putumayo World Music's 2001 compilation Music of Mexico.

Conjunto Jardín is dedicated to the growth and diffusion of all jarocho music: leader Libby Harding actively promotes son jarocho events throughout Southern California, and they even sell other groups' CDs at Jardín shows. With their meticulous, savvy arrangements and rocket-fueled rhythmic drive, Conjunto Jardín is well-positioned to help bring to this underappreciated musical genre-and its many fine exponents-the attention it and they so richly deserve.

"In their new recording, Conjunto Jardin revitalizes the joyful and polyrhythmic music of Veracruz, Mexico known as son jarocho. Their unique rendition of classic songs connects the more accessible styles of son with the roots of this traditional genre."
-Betto Arcos, former music director, KPFK, Los Angeles

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to write a review

Jim Faryar

Sweet Harmony
My favorite songs of Sabia, the former group featuring Libby and Cindy Harding, were the lively jarocho tunes. Now, here is son jarocho, enhanced by the moving harmonies sung by Libby and Cindy Harding... moving both emotionally and by the beat of the music.

Rob Doornbos

This music makes me happy
In one word: great. The music has the power to make even the most depressed happy. Pity it is over so quickly. It really takes me back to one of the most impressive Mexican cities

John Robles

Energetic and exuberant. A party from beginning to end!
This is the second CD from this well known L.A. group whose heritage is rooted in the traditional Jarocho music, but who have given it a modern twist by using part acoustic and part electric instruments. This is a very high-powered offering, with the energetic 'keyboard harp' licks by Gary Johnson, the sweetly toned voice of Libby Harding and the incredible harmonies sung by Libby and her sister Cindy Harding. You will not be disappointed by this CD!!