A small tribute to Rafael Puyana

This is a bit of a departure from our usual programming, but maybe some of you will enjoy it.

A few years ago, passing time in a heavy metal record store in Providence while my ride arrived, I found a record of duets by John Williams (not the one who wrote the Star Wars soundtrack; the other one) and Rafael Puyana. (Jordi Savall sits in on a few tracks.) You never know what you’ll find.

In one of those strange coincidences (?), I put this record on two days ago for the first time in many months; the next day I woke up to the news that Rafael Puyana had passed away. This is a small tribute to him.


Puyana was Colombia’s best known classical musician. Being Colombians, Colombians like to say that he was the best harpsichord player in the world. I don’t know what that means, but I do like his music. Here’s a nice short piece by Mexican composer Miguel Ponce:

Here’s a heavier, more adventurous piece – Stephen Dodgson’s “Due Concertante”. I can’t say I liked it right away but it grew on me, and anyone shopping at a metal record store would appreciate the ending.


Alejo Durán on Black History Month


This is as good a month as any to invite Alejo Durán, el Rey Negro Vallenato, to tell us a bit of American history. This is “Los Hermanos Negros”, from the album I posted a few weeks ago

That reminds me of “El Indio Sinuano”, a strong, proud track on Zenú history written by David Sánchez Juliao. It’s a simple thing, but the break at 3:20 is one of my favorites in vallenato. I don’t think I have the energy to translate the lyrics to the English speakers, but I’m sure the internet does. You can find them here