A review by an album by L'Arpgeggiata, Christina Pluhar Billed as the "South America Project," this latest release from Christina Pluhar and associates, full of atmospheric, passionate vocals, percussion, and of course plucked instruments, is awash in color and surprises. 20 tracks in length, the music comes from across eras, but all with a similar, energetic and exotic style. The final track, jazzy and modern, is a rendition of Bésame mucho! The title track is more modern, too, Pájaros Perdidos by Astor Piazolla (sung by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky), which is among my least favorite pieces on the new recording (it starts to sound cliché upon repeated listenings). Jaroussky also stars in the traditional number, Duerme Negrito, which opens the album. Among my favorite tracks are the third and fourth; the first of these is Montilla and the second Pájaro Campana. The first is a Latin tour-de-force, with a combination of 2/3 rhythms, vocals, and a fast tempo. The opening strumming by the guitars go so far as to overflex the strings, which on this record, is an awesome sound. The second features virtuosic harp that, I swear, sounds like jungle rain after many listens. The album features a great recorded sound and an apt acoustic. The repertoire reminds me a bit of the charts played by Ensemble Kapsburger, but under Pluhar's direction, the the vocals have far more soul and the overall effect is less rustic and more polished. The same male vocalist appears from the Montilla in track 8, La Embarazada del Viento, and the passion is palpable with a light band, with enough shaken percussion to give us the heat and shade of canopy in the jungle, or simply picture an over-saturated music video with bright colors. Another well-done track is the penultimate, named Fandango, this one by Antonio Soler. It's the longest track on the album, at over 9 minutes. L'Arpeggiata has become a favorite ensemble of mine in recent years, and the contribution of American melodies this time around—no matter the time period—is a welcome edition to their canon of hits. Warmly recommended.