San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Malpaís to Release Third CD at Jazz Café Concerts

Malpaís, the slippery-to-define musical sensation named after a beach town on the NicoyaPeninsula, on the northern Pacific coast, will release its third compact disc this month.

Papaya Music is set to release “Malpaís en Vivo,” a collection of live recordings from four recent concerts, Dec. 14 and 15 at Jazz Café in the eastern San José suburb of San Pedro.

The group’s first album, “Uno,” sold 10,000 copies in Costa Rica in three years following its 2003 release.According to the group’s Web site, Malpaís is the first Costa Rican band to reach this level of national sales.

The band, led by singer, guitarist and flute player Fidel Gamboa, has two percussionists, a bass player, a pianist and a violin player. Piano player Manuel Obregón, who also plays keyboards and marimbas, has several solo albums and a few other collaborations to his name under the independent Costa Rican label Papaya Music.

In 2004, the group recorded its second disc, “Historias de Nadie – Dos,” and began playing to crowds of thousands. In interviews with the national press, archived at, Malpaís band members expressed surprise at their popularity among young Costa Ricans.

Fans seem hard-pressed to classify the group’s musical style – “novel,” “emotional” and “authentic” are terms that frequent a Web forum for Malpaís aficionados. Many songs, acoustic and semi-folkloric, tell stories that invite sing-alongs on sentimental choruses.

Malpaís en Vivo” features several hits and four new songs. The disc will be sold with an option to buy an 86-page booklet that “captures the intimate relationship between Malpaís and its public, four days of concerts and what occurs above and below the stage with the band’s six members,” according to promotional literature.


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