Album Review of
El Amor No Es Para Los Débiles

Written by Joe Ross
May 20, 2022 - 1:01pm EDT
Review Rating Star Review Rating Star Review Rating Star Review Rating Star Review Rating Star

The meaning of Bareto’s new album means “Love is not for the weak,” and the songs composed by guitarist Rolo Gallardo speak to your memory (“Tu Recuerdo”), being lost (“Perdido”) and being asked to be let go or released (“Sueltame”).  Opening with birds chirping and lyrics chanting about healing love, “Cura Cura” sets the stage and seems to explain the vision of Bareto’s spiritual music to cleanse one’s being, grateful for healing love that will allow our spirits to run free.

The Peruvian band’s music is straight-forward and direct, and the departure of lead singer Mauricio Mesones left them with a key personnel vacancy, subsequently filled by the recruitment of Javier Arias. This eclectic album also presents a new type of vocal vibrancy featuring sturdy voices of several guest singers.  Well known in Peruvian music circles, Creole diva Bartola brings heart-tugging urgency and warmth to “Te Sigo” (I Follow You), and Maria del Rosario Cardona puts a soft, seductive face on “Cumbia Circular.”

Peruvian Rossy War started singing Mexican traditional music at a very young age, influenced by her father Carlos Guerra. Now known as “La Reina de la Tecno-Cumbia” (Techno-Cumbia Queen), Rossy War’s stylistic singing on “Ay Ay Ay” is a mix of Tex-Mex and Colombian Cumbia.  Singer and percussionist El Chongo presents lyrically attractive song fare with “Perdido” and “Las Aguas del Rio.”

Colombian singer Janio Coronado provides some added vocals on “Sueltame” (Let Me Go). I especially liked the techo-groove of “Los Marcianos” (The Martians) featuring a singer known as Melcochita (Marshmallow).  Born in 1935, Pablo Villanueva Branda (aka Melcochita) is a Peruvian comedian and Sonero singer. Known in the 1950s as Pacocha, he and his brothers created the band “Son Cubillas,” and he has produced various Latin music albums in Peru and New York.

Bareto has been called “heirs of Amazonic psychedelia and chicha traditions, as well as sound innovators.” The band is Rolo Gallardo (guitar, background vocals), Pedro Rodríguez (guitar), Jorge Giraldo (bass, background vocals), Jorge Olazo (percussion), Sergio Sarria (drums), Raffo Carlos (keys, background vocals) and Javier Arias (lead vocals). With two albums nominated for the Latin Grammy Awards, it’s likely that this one, El Amor No Es Para Débiles, will achieve similar recognition and acclaim. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)