Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Appalatin: Canta Mi Gente

I believe that it was sometime last week I heard an interview and feature with the band Appalatin on West Virginia Public Radio. They described their music as a fusion between Appalachian and Latino styles and hence their unique name combines both elements of these two divergent musical approaches.

To illustrate how they do this, they played the traditional tune “Shady Grove” using the Andean equivalent to the mandolin – the charango. Unfortunately, this song was not available on YouTube. Most of what was available were live recordings of today’s feature song “Canta Mi Gente.”

While performed well, the audio on these tracks were not of a sufficient quality for me to feature. I was able to find the studio version of this tune and have included it here. While the Appalachian elements are virtually nonexistent, the use of Latin percussion is reminiscent of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va.” That is probably where the comparisons stop.

Not having a physical copy of the CD, I can only guess to the nature of the instrumentation. I can hear guitar, bass, congas, timbales, guiro, and what I believe is an Andean flute. My assumption is based on the unique harmonic overtones of the instrument; however, the flautist uses techniques you would expect from someone playing a Boehm transverse flute – so I am not altogether certain.

I sure I am also missing some of the percussion in the song – although the guiro really adds. I have one – and having used it in a variety of settings, it makes a nice addition. Although not proficient in Spanish, Babelfish tells me that the title means “My People Sing.” While verse lyrics are in English, I can make out a few other Spanish words utilized in the bridge such as “quando” – when, mañana – tomorrow, “muchacha” – girl, and “amor” – love. Gee, I almost feel bilingual. Enjoy “Canta Mi Gente.”


  1. Hey Jim! Thanks for writing about us. We'd love to send you a download card. Just send us a not to appalatin at yahoo.com.