Siblings come together and unite their talents in full force, combining the best of what they have to offer
Over the course of this musical odyssey we have seen various family units come together to produce some brilliant pieces of music. From Colombian cumbia sensation Totó La Momposina's involvement of her daughters on La Candela Viva to the Equatoguinean aunt and niece partnership Las Hijas Del Sol’s fun-packed Colores Del Amor, family combinations can often prove to be a success due to the, often decades long, intricate research into learning about one another’s processes and what makes each individual tick. Yet, it is fair to say that typically when families come together in musical partnerships, they either arrive with one having elevated status in the group or both being virtual unknowns forging their path together, such as the previously reviewed Dutch-Kiwi funky country music group (yes, you read that correctly) My Baby. What sets Los Hermanos Junaro apart, however, is that each member of the group, and of the family, arrived to the album with a formidable reputation that the trio formed in their own right as individuals in their homeland. How would the Junaro threesome fair in juggling their egos, status and perhaps inherent sibling rivalry when they came together to collaborate on an album? The answer – incredibly well.
“It is both relaxing as well as representative of the beauty of Andean music culture, with a sprinkle of lyrical depth.”
Siblings Jaime, César and Emma Junaro all were immensely successful musicians in their own right in one of the world’s driest countries, Bolivia, before the release of Tu Semilla in the 90s. Guitarist and singer Jaime, the oldest, made his name first in Paris where he blended folkloric music traditions such as tinku, with more recognisable modern genres such as rock. This reverence for Bolivia’s immensely proud indigenous populations’ traditions is something that is felt on the album thanks to his presence. For a country that has dozens of recognised indigenous languages, whilst the album is sung entirely in Spanish, Jaime Junaro certainly makes sure that the album doesn’t just feel like an attempt to dismiss this rich diverse music history. The inclusion of certain instruments such as panflutes, helps the listener locate the album as an Andean one. His gentle guitar playing is superb and no wonder he inspired his younger two siblings to arguably have a more successful career than his own.
His younger brother César, brings my favourite song to the table – Paloma. The song, whilst musically stunning, to me is more pertinent due to its lyrical continent. I interpret the song, which on the surface is about a bird, rather to be about letting go of a relationship that has run its course, and wishing that person who you may love for eternity the best for the future, hoping that they flourish even if they must do so apart from you. Lyrically, I believe that César brings a touch of profundity to the table that compliments his siblings’ perhaps superior overtly musical ability to the table. He wrote the title-track, a moving song about old-age and dementia, which has so much depth to it. However, this album would be nothing without the stunning vocals of their younger sister Emma. Her voice has an angelic quality to it that I just adore. For me though the album peaks in the middle, between Quiero Ser Libre Contigo and Canción para un Cuerpo en el Bosque, her voice is a constant joy that makes the rest of the album worth listening to, which otherwise I might have been less receptive to. Overall, the album is simply a lovely, wholly enriching listen. It is both relaxing as well as representative of the beauty of Andean music culture, with a sprinkle of lyrical depth. The fact that the siblings manage to find a way to balance their reputations and create something so wholesome, whether that is during solos, duets or whole family harmonies, is commendable and makes me hopeful that they will return to record another album together once again.