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Carlos Vives - 'Clasicos De La Provincia' CD Review

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Photo Courtesy Philips Sonolux

Carlos Vives - 'Clasicos De La Provincia'

Photo Courtesy Philips Sonolux

If you are curious about Vallenato music, Clasicos De La Provincia is the first album you need to listen to. This selection of classic Vallenato songs not only transformed Carlos Vives into a Latin music superstar but also placed this Colombian genre on the international scene capturing fans all over the world. Although Vallenato is not as popular as other Latin music genres such as Salsa or Merengue, I still consider this work one of the the most essential Latin music albums ever produced. Let's take a look at the music behind Clasicos De La Provincia.

Moving into Vallenato

Even though Carlos Vives grew up listening to Vallenato, he had a natural love for Rock and Latin Pop music. In fact, the beginning of his music career was defined by romantic albums shaped around Pop and soft Rock. That beginning, however, was far from being a successful one.

Besides music, Carlos Vives was also an actor. Thanks to his fresh image and good looks he was a favorite celebrity among Colombians. Back in the early nineties, Carlos Vives was offered a role in the TV series Escalona, a production based on the life of Rafael Escalona, Colombia's most famous Vallenato songwriter.

The series became a huge hit mainly because of its soundtrack, which was entirely recorded by Carlos Vives. Thanks to this experience, Carlos Vives decided to change his music style and venture into Vallenato.

Innovative Sound

The recording of Escalona's soundtrack had already inspired Carlos Vives to pursue a different sound in Vallenato music. The fact that he was at heart a Rock/Pop artist helped him to define this idea in a better way.

It was precisely that desire the one responsible for transforming Clasicos De La Provincia into one of the best albums in the history of Colombian music. To that production, Carlos Vives added instruments that were never used before in the making of Vallenato music. Thanks to the drums, the bass, electric guitars and traditional gaitas, the old sound of Vallenato was repacked into a new box that was immediately embraced by everyone in Colombia.

Blending The Past with The Present

Clasicos De La Provincia is the perfect combination of classic tracks and new sounds. What Carlos Vives did for Vallenato music was kind of similar to what Luis Miguel did for Bolero with his album Romance. In Clasicos De La Provincia, Carlos Vives revisited some of Vallenato's most classic melodies adding to them the right sound to engage younger generations in this traditional Colombian rhythm.

This musical innovation is felt in every single track. Moreover, in songs such as "Alicia Adorada" and "Altos Del Rosario," Carlos Vives laid out the foundations of the fusion he was about to explore in the albums that followed Clasicos De La Provincia.

"La Gota Fria"

On top of all that, "La Gota Fria," the first song of this 15-track CD marked a new chapter in the development of Colombian music. This song took Colombia, and later the world, by storm. The feeling inside of it represents in a perfect way the festive spirit of Colombian people. The song, which is still an ideal track for any Latin party, became sort of a second national anthem in Colombia.

'Clasicos De La Provincia' - Bottom Line

Clasicos De La Provincia is a wonderful musical experience from beginning to end. If you are just getting into Vallenato or even Latin music, I highly recommend you this album. Clasicos De La Provincia offers a very pleasant sound that captures like no other the true essence of Colombian people.

'Clasicos De La Provincia' - Best Tracks:

My first choice is all of them! However, I will select a combination of songs ranging from the most popular tracks to the ones I personally like the most.

  • "La Gota Fria"
  • "Amor Sensible"
  • "Alicia Adorada"
  • "La Hamaca Grande"
  • "El Cantor De Fonseca"
  • "Matilde Lina"
  • "Lirio Rojo"
  • "Compae Chipiuco"
  • "La Celosa"
Record Label: Philips Sonolux
Release Date: 1993
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