The Paranas- At Hotel Hersey

Keeping it Latin this week.  Today we are going to Paraguay.  This was $2.80.  It had a pretty good track list as well.

The Paranas formed in Paraguay in 1959.  Taking their name from the river that divides their country from Argentina, the group was a trio but by the time of this recording, it was made up of Nino Palacios on lead guitar and vibes, Reinaldo Gomez on percussion and guitar, Julian Nunez on bass and guitar, and Lorenzo Gonzalez on harp and percussion.  They performed all over their country as well as in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil on stage, in film , tv, and radio. A US Sargent stationed in Paraguay heard them and in 1967, arranged for them to come to the US.  Apparently after a few personal changes, the band dissolved in 1990.

I am not sure when this came out but I believe it was sometime in the 70’s.  It was recorded live in Hersey, PA.  It is really a quite wonderful album.  The track list superb with a diverse group of classics as “Guantanmera”, “Mais Que Nada”, “Meditation”, “Twelfth Street Rag”, “Malaguena”, “Besame Mucho”, and “Granada”.  Also the interplay and musicianship of the guitar and harp are beautiful.  Really great album.

For a sample, I was really taken back by all the aforementioned tracks but ultimately was fascinated by “The Train” a musical representation of a train ride.  I also thought “Sol-Amancere Sin Ti” really good.  Both showcased the groups massive talent.

Top Rated Record.


Kippy Lou Brinkman- An Evening with Kippy

DSCN4619 (789x800)This was only $1.00 .  I think the title as well as the cover are what hooked me to buy.050508-Kippy

Kippy Lou Brinkman was a former Miss America contestant from Seattle area, five foot six, with long blond hair . She was named the most talented musician in the 1996 Miss America contest.  I am guessing playing the harp was her talent.  44

She parlayed those talents into a gig at the Dome of the Sea restaurant at the Las Vegas Dunes Hotel. With a catalog ranging from the classics to pop music, she has played with “top flight entertainers” including Frank Sinatra according to one bio. From what I can tell, she now gives harp lessons back in Washington in the Olympia area although it is now Kippy Lou Scott.CCRjjw-WMAA_LXQ

The Dome of the Sea was a gourmet seafood restaurant in the Dunes hotel which opened in 1965.  Carry Grant came to the opening.  It was designed by Milton Schwartz with a sea shell in the middle of the floor surrounded by a figure 8 of water.  Inside the sea shell, sat Kippy.  Apparently it was mesmerizing for customers.  Not sure how long the restaurant lasted but the hotel was closed in 1993.  Two years later, it was imploded.dome-of-the-sea-postcard

I am sure this was an attempt to sell records to the mesmerized eaters who went to the Dome.  It is a collection of popular numbers unaccompanied on the harp.  I imagine this gives a pretty good taste of what Kippy was performing in Vegas.  Standards on the album include “Laura’s Theme”, “Sunrise, Sunset”, and “Yesterday”.  Kippy is well accomplished at her instrument and as a result, it is pretty nifty harp playing.DSCN4620 (781x800)

For a sample, I went with “Never On a Sunday” which I felt best ties in all the elements of harp playing.9858228

I am in a good mood today.  Satisfactory record.

Mary O’Hara- Songs of Erin

DSCN4023This was 4.00. I got this about three weeks before I started the blog back about a year ago. I am a sucker for pretty girls on the cover.AUSTRALIA_1956_3

Mary O’Hara, born in 1935 is a soprano and harp player from County Sligo. She achieved success in Ireland and in the US in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Furthermore, she influenced a slew of both female and male singers.


Oddly enough, her career took a break for 12 years in 1962 when she became a Benedictine nun.  When she left the monastery, she found her music was still popular and resumed her work.  O’Hara would retire from stage in 1994 and is still alive today.

Further info via the Internet

This album was her first. It was released in 1957 and is pretty good. Her vocals are haunting as is her harp playing.  Songs alternate between English and Gaelic.


For samples, I went with three selections, which may be attributed to laziness on my part.  However, this is just  a beautiful album and it is hard to separate my favorites from songs that are just plain good.  So here is my personal Irish-gothic fave, “She Moved Thru the Fair”  along with “The Next Market Day” and “Ballymure Ballad” which floored me when I heard them.

Mary O'Hara: worlwide fame but she didn't enjoy life on stage. “I enjoy tennis, I enjoy eating delicious food and I enjoy reading. I didn’t enjoy performing," she says. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Top rated record.


Juan Vicente Torrealba-Y Su Musica Instrumental

DSCN2222This was $1.59.  It looked interesting enough.  When I went down to Colombia a few years back, I was lucky enough to see South American folk music played with the harp.  It was pretty cool and I figured this was along the same vein. JVT-35

I could not find much out about Juan Vicente Torrealba in English so I have to work off of broken translations. That being said, Torrealba is a legend of the Venezuelan music scene.  Born in Caracas in 1917, he started in a band with his brother, “Los Torrealberos”.  According to how Google translates his web page, he may have been instrumental in introducing the harp into South American music and may have influenced the instrument’s use in both Mexico and Colombia.  He has toured South America extensively as well as Europe and has won many awards and accolades.  Of this writing, he is still alive at 97 years  old.

Juan’s Webpage in Spanish

The album sounds as I expected.  The harp brings pretty melodies to the South American folk played on the album.  There are a lot of good songs on this including “Marinera”, “El parrandero”, and “Manirital”.  I do not know when this was made.  Apparently, Torrealba put out a good amount of albums; 30-50 or so that I could determine.


I went with “Indios po Llanura” as a sample because it is very similar to a song a posted way back, “Similau”.  I believe the later is Portuguese in roots so there is a good chance they came from the same source.juan-vicente-torrealba-G

The harp is a beautiful instrument and this is a beautiful record.  Satisfactory record.