LOS INDIOS TABAJARAS – The Many-Splendored Guitars of Los Indios Tabajaras – (RCA) – 1965


Will there ever be a Los Indios Tabajaras cult?

Is there a Los Indios Tabajaras cult?

There should be a Los Indios Tabajaras cult.

Los Indios Tabajaras, in their most famous and longest incarnation, are two brothers from Brazil who play guitar instrumentals (check my other comment for biographical detail).

Their record label played up the exotic foreignness of the music as well as its from a time past beauty. Words like "freshness", "uncluttered", "purity" and "beauty" are always thrown around on the liner notes.

This album begins with a heading "music in all its natural beauty" and ends with "This is tranquilizing music — heady with melody, smooth as velvet, languid without laziness.  You're invited to relax with Los Indios Tabajaras and their entrancing potion of beautiful music."

Recorded in New York in 1965 this is easy listening music for those (inevitably older types) who were tired of The Beatles, frat rock and surf music.

Mainly popular in South America Los Indios Tabajaras had broken into the US market in 1963 with a big hit "Maria Elena" (#6 pop, #3 easy listening) and were regular album sellers.

Most people dismiss Los Indios Tabajaras’ lush guitar instrumentals as elevator music, but there is a lot more to them than that. This is not a simple cash in on sounds of the day by a couple of guitar virtuosos. For on thing the virtuosity is not up front and in your face. What Los Indios do is create mood. Song selection, instrumentation, recording and the ears of Los Indios all combine to create a otherworldly, dreamy, relaxed mood. This is chill out music before it existed and it's organic and free range at that.

They did trad or faux trad South American music, classical, pop, and film songs, but, all are subsumed in their musical persona and within their guitar style.

This album, like most of their albums (that I have heard) after they hit it big in the US is a mix of film songs and familiar standards (some of which were pop hits at the time).

For me the music soothes and relaxes. The mix  of  familiar melodies and thoughtful expression of them massages my brain with its familiarity. Even if you were brought up on

punk music some of these songs are familiar just because they have been around a long time, been covered, been used in ads, in films and they are, errr standards.

This is music to be enjoyed alone.

The music could work for dinner parties though the clang, clatter and chatter would possibly drown out the subtle complexities (yes, subtle complexities) of the harmonics. Six people sitting around, not speaking whilst sipping on liqueurs would be a perfect listening environment … but where are you going to find six people in this age willing to do that?

Well, maybe if I supply the liqueur.

This album could be called, "Los Indios Tabajaras play Frank Sinatra and other songs". I don't know if this was intentional but there are five songs Sinatra did. Of course Sinatra was prolific, very popular and err, sang standards so there is probably nothing in it.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • Love Is a Many Splendored Thing – (Paul Francis Webster / Sammy Fain) – from the 1955 film of the same name. The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The Four Aces went to #1 with it in 1955. Frank Sinatra recorded in 1964. A beautiful version of a beautiful song. The melody is perfect. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Is_a_Many-Splendored_Thing_(song)
  • I'm Getting Sentimental over You – (Ned Washington / George Bassman) – Sinatra sang this song when hje was with the Dorsey Orchestra and recorded it on his album, "I Remember Tommy" (1956). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_Getting_Sentimental_Over_You
  • Begin the Beguine – (Cole Porter) – The trad pop jazz standard. Sinatra recorded the song in 1944. Los Indios have increased the Latin in the song and it was always quite Latin. This is a good infectious version. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begin_the_Beguine
  • The Washington Flowers – (Natalicio Lima) – an original and quite good
  • Harbour Lights – (Jimmy Kennedy / Hugh Williams) – I have always loved this song though the first time I heard it was in the late 70s on an Elvis Presley album. He recorded it in 1954 though it wasn't released till 1976 (on "Elvis – A Legendary Performer Volume 2"). The song has an otherworldly quality. With lyrics the song is bout a lost love or, rather, love ended by a departure. Without lyrics it still captures that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbor_Lights
  • You're Breaking My Heart – (Pat Genaro / Sunny Skylar) – Vic Damone had a #1 with this 1949 and it has been covered by many people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_Breaking_My_Heart

      Side Two

  • Lisboa Antigua – (Rômulo Portela / José Galhardo / Amadeu do Vale ) – a #1 for Nelson Riddle's orchestra in 1956 and then used as the theme in the film "Lisbon" (1956). Beautiful https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisbon_Antigua
  • The Greatest Story Ever Told – (Alfred Newman) – from the 1965 film of the same name. The title is the "Jesus of Nazareth (Main theme) from the film (I think). As you would from a song about Jesus Christ this is suitably reverential
  • Johnny Guitar – (Peggy Lee / Victor Young) – from 1954 film of the same name. Many instrumental covers have been done . This is beautiful with a hint of the western clip clop coming through.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Guitar_(song)
  • La Novia – (Joaquin Prieto) – "The Wedding". In 1964, this version by Julie Rogers reached #2 on the UK charts and #10 in the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wedding_(song)
  • Luna Rossa – (Kermit Goell / A. Vian) – "Blushing Moon". Sinatra did a version in 1952. Another beautiful Latin tune.
  • Comme Ci, Comme Ca – "Clopin Clopant" –  (Bruno Coquatrix / Joan Whitney / Alex Kramer / Pierre Dudan) – Sinatra did a version in 1949. Pretty pop.

And …

Wonderful … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing no where.


Love Is A Many Splendored Thing


I'm Getting' Sentimental Over You


Begin The Beguine 


The Washington Flowers 


You're Breaking My Heart 


Lisboa Antiqua 


Johnny Guitar 

mp3 attached

La Novia (The Wedding)


Luna Rossa (Blushing Moon) 


Comme Ci, Comme Ca

















About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on franklycollectible@gmail.com though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at http://www.franklycollectible.com Cheers
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