If you enjoy Peruvian music with its pan pipes and Andean rhythms, you're going to enjoy the newest album from Ciro Hurtado. Los Angeles Blues is a beautiful and mellow exploration supported by thoughtful excellence and some jaw-dropping technique and sonics. He's fluent not just in native styles but also flamenco, latinate blues, greatly transposed Brit rock, jazz, classical, and chamber musics.

Hurtado is a guitar virtuoso with a unique Latin style that he calls “Andean Blues”, incorporating as he does elements of South America, world rhythms and classical technique. Born in a small town in the Amazonian rain forest he went to school in the Peruvian capital of Lima. He began playing guitar at the age of nine, and took up serious studies four years later. For some years now he has lived in the U.S., playing with various guitar ensembles, composing film and documentary music, and absorbing influences from his travels around the world. He has listened to guitarists such as Pierre Bensusan, Tommy Emmanuel, Lawrence Juber, Michael Hedges and Andrew York. Ciro has commented on those auditions, saying “They don’t influence me because I have a different style, but they certainly inspire me and give me confidence to try new things”. Ciro has also long been a fan of both American and British rock music, which has led to concise and memorable melodies in his own work.

"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.”

This is one of the most natural-sounding albums of many a year, delivering a listening experience that may well stop you dead in your busy tracks and remind you that the creation and playing of music is above all an ineffable art form unlike any other.

Highly recommended.

~review by: Lisa Mc Sherry

Artist: Ciro Hurtado
Inti Productions, 2012