Rey Fresco: Harping On A Lost Love
by Marc Silver
December 1, 2009 – A pensive male voice sighs, “Oh, darling” (conjuring up the Beatles <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15229570> classic) and “I’ve been thinking.” At that point, “Roll Your Dice” sounds like a typical Top 40 song of longing. Then comes a sound infrequently heard in popular music: a percussive arpeggio on a 36-string Veracruz harp. The stringed instrument serves as the centerpiece of “Roll Your Dice,” by the multicultural quartet Rey Fresco — Spanish for “King Cool.”
The Veracruz harp was born in Spain and crossed the ocean in the 1500s, taking root in Mexico and South America. Rey Fresco harpist Xocoyotzin Moraza, whose father built the instrument his son plays, plucks its 36 nylon strings assertively, yet delicately. Adding to the song’s unusual ethnic blend, drummer Andrew Jones and bassist Shawn Echevarria lend it a lilting reggae feel, while Fijian singer Roger Kejaho occasionally fractures syllables in an unexpected way as he begs a former girlfriend to take another chance on him: “When I calls ye on yer TELL-ee-pho-oo-own.” But what gives “Roll Your Dice” its kingly cool is Moraza’s harp, which strums and trembles, stutters to a lovelorn halt and then rises up in heavenly chords and haunting runs
For Entire Article:
Rey Fresco – The People (RF20098051 / 094922487483 / C11) Available 3/23/09!