While Colombia’s main rhythms for export are cumbia, currulao and reggaetón, joropo music is mostly overlooked.

Nonetheless, Cimarrón continue to explore harp music from the Colombian eastern plains with all of its complexity and possibilities, merging both tradition and modernity in a disruptive take on Orinoco’s music.

“La Recia” is Cimarron’s fifth studio album following their widely acclaimed 2019 album “Orinoco”, which cemented them as one of the key players of the “new joropo sound” and Carlos ‘Cuco’ Rojas and Ana Veydó’s as their main agitators. It is also the band’s first full release since Rojas’ passing in 2020, a founding member, main composer, harpist and Veydó’s partner. The nine tracks on “La Recia” serve both as a goodbye and a celebration of Cuco Rojas’ life, but also as a statement of Ana Veydó’s work and leadership as a woman in the music industry.

Both the title and the album’s art are a clear depiction of what you’re in for in this record. “La recia” means “the strong” or “the vigorous” and the album’s cover shows Veydó on top of a horse, wearing enormous Cebú horns as a crown-like artifact, while leading the band through a river on the Colombian eastern plains. You can’t get more symbolic than that.

The album opens with “Velorio” (“Funeral”), a song about hope and miracles, accompanied with a beautiful harp motif and arranged with ominous male vocals soaked in reverb that gives it a mysterious and cinematographic feel. “Cimarroneando” is one of the most impressive cuts on the album. A full on joropo jam with intricate rhyms section and a jaw dropping technical ability on the harp, bandola, cuatro and maracas. If this was played on an electric guitar, it would be the heaviest metal solo of all time.

Cuco’s homage comes in the track “Cuco en el Harpa” (“Cuco on the Harp”), a beautiful harp solo. “El Gavilán” (“The Hawk”), is one of the most fun tracks whilst “Del Viento” (“From the Wind”) is an experimental cut with only alpargata’s shoe dancing as its rhythm section. Ana Veydó’s statement as a woman and artist comes in the track “Recia como el Orinoco”, a powerful track which translates “I’m strong as the Orinoco itself”.

This is truly a masterpiece of an album. It has its epic and fun moments but also somber and mysterious ones. All of them are composed and arranged with the fierceness of a Colombian woman backed with one of the most talented musicians in the eastern plains. “La Recia” has no misses. It’s truly mesmerizing. (Juan Antonio Carulla)

Stream “La Recia” on Spotify.

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