For Los párajos perdidos: the South American Project, lutenist, harpist and director of early music band L’Arpeggiata Pluhar takes as her starting point two ideas: that unlike their modern European equivalents, Latin American plucked instruments differ little from their common Baroque ancestors; and that South American dances and songs still exhibit rhythmic and harmonic structures that would have been recognisable to a Baroque musician. 

Pluhar thus combines a period ensemble of lutes, harps, guitars, cornett, double bass and percussion with a smaller group comprising instruments still played in Latin America such as the cuatro, charango, arpa llanera and maracas. Her vocalists include classical singers Philippe Jaroussky, Luciana Mancini and Raquel Andueza, as well as Italian folk singer and researcher Lucilla Galeazzi and the extraordinary singer and ballet dancer Vincenzo Capezzuto. 

Despite their different performing traditions, all show the same remarkable ability to really loosen up and go with the often sensual, sometimes totally wild rhythms in these traditional and contemporary zambas, golpes, polcas, joropos and boleros from Latin America. 

Yes, there’s very little “early music” as such – though there is an arrangement of Soler’s famous Fandago that will really knock your socks off. What you do get is some of the most gorgeous singing you’re likely to hear this year offset by a total riot of instrumental colour. ¡Estupendo!