Pop Reviews : Mexican Folk Group Plays a Dual Role

In hopes of dispelling the stereotype that Mexico is "just mariachis and tequila," in the words of one member, the veteran Mexican folk group Los Folkloristas asked the Wadsworth Theater audience Saturday to take an imaginary journey into that country through its various musical styles.

The afternoon performance by the seven musicians--celebrating their 25th anniversary on this U.S. tour--was an ethnologic banquet of musical traditions and songs that they have compiled during innumerable expeditions throughout Latin America.

Providing clear and expert introductions to each song in English and Spanish, Los Folkloristas played the dual role of researchers and accomplished musicians. From time to time, the spectacle took on the ceremonious formality of a tribal ritual, but the musicians' spontaneity and the joyous vibrancy of the music lent color.

The repertoire also included a Venezuelan song and a danza from Panama, a contemporary composition utilizing the marriage of European instruments with those of the Americas and two songs in American Indian languages.

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