Yerba Buena, the third release from the Harding sisters and their band Conjunto Jardín - the name is a play on the Spanish pronunciation of Libby and Cindy's last name - retains the driving rhythms, sparkling harp-and-requinto interplay and trademark sibling vocals that characterized the group's first two efforts. But this time, many more influences are brought into the mix, resulting in new combinations of sounds, textures and arrangements. Indeed there's plenty in this generous collection to please fans of traditional son jarocho; but the real news is in the "inovaciones," or innovations, which have become a trademark of the group. Yerba Buena features an expanded palette of sounds and rhythms - including quena (Andean flute), zampoñas (bamboo panpipes), accordion, organ and other electric keyboards, and rock- and Colombian vallenato-inspired grooves - as Conjunto Jardín continues to expand the borders of son jarocho. Being based in the U.S., Conjunto Jardín is perhaps constrained by fewer rules than their counterparts in Mexico. And just as on 2003's Floreando they were not afraid to join the lively sparkle of the Veracruz port style with the more roots-oriented approach of the movimiento jaranero, this third collection shows no fear and recognizes no sacred cows. At the mixing controls once again was Larry Hirsch, known for his work with Los Lobos, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt and many others. Peruvian composer/producer Ciro Hurtado (Huayucaltía) engineered the recording, while also contributing guitar tracks to "Conquistador." Conjunto Jardín was nominated for Best Latin/Salsa Artist in the 2003 L.A. Weekly Music Awards and is the recipient of an L.A. Treasures Award from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
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