By Jim Parisi
Papaya Music of Costa Rica is offering a soundtrack for that distinct space of time that is framed by a Guanacste sunset. The CD, titled Guanacaste al Atardecer, is a mix of musicians of different styles. Nicaragua is included in the CD as a part of the Guanacaste peninsula, or “Gran Nicoya”, as this entire area has shared a cultural bond for centuries.
The CD opens with “Concierto Para un Coro de Lapas” combining natural, ambient sounds of crickets, macaws and other birds, with the unmistakable piano of Manuel Obregon, accompanied by the trio Mandragora on guitars and flute. The song is taken from a recording session in 1990 and sets the tone for the entire disc.
The second song, “Pochote”, written and sung by Nicaraguan Clara Grun, first appeared on her premier CD. Other Nicaraguan artists on this compilation are Perrozompopo, with “Entre Remolinos”, one of their soft songs from their first disc and Elsa Basil, offering a torch song which also has Clara Grun playing piano. Popular Costa Rican vocalist Marta Fonseca covers the bolero “Como Fue” with Malpais in a live recording previously unreleased, and Malpais offers their live version from the Jazz Café of a Ray Tico song, “Romance en Habana”. It’s a nice touch, as the CD itself is dedicated to Ray Tico. Mario Ulloa contributes a tango and the seldom seen Cuarteto Esporadico (including the Gamboa brothers and Obregon, from Malpais) performing a classic bolero, recorded live at Café do Playa. The final track, “Sobre el Agua” is by Fred Miranda, from his solo project, Baula Project, which centers on the plight of turtles and their nesting spots in Guanacaste. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the project. Papaya has taken a chance with a new concept, offering a rich mix of musical styles designed around a tranquil afternoon that is pleasurable enough to keep your attention, rather than slipping into the background.