Rhythm 'n' Roots

Musical Explorations.

San Francisco based chef and music lover Roger Feely's Soul Cocina blog is a tasty mix mouthwatering recipes, food culture and musical explorations. A blend of global eats and beats.

Some Chicha music to go with your Peruvian Ceviche?

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If you haven't already heard of/checked out the Red Bull Music Academy then do so now. It is a big creative orgy held once a year around the world with special invited guests dishing out their wisdom to a group of budding producers, artists and DJs. The week long academy offers these lucky few the opportunity of a lifetime and is all about the vibe, apparently.

A Carl Craig remix workshop...

For those of us who didn't apply or didn't make the cut, the academy offers up videos of the lecture series and they are excellent. I just watched one with Joe Bataan (an hour and a half long!) The site is a great resource for hearing about the artists from the artists. Lectures by the likes of Mala from DMZ, MJ Cole, Carl Craig, Gilberto Gil, Goldie, Madlib, Michael Mayer and the list goes on!


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To celebrate July and my return to the UK I have changed the layout of the blog (one template for a prettier one!) and have completed the next instalment of the Rhythm 'n' Roots Mixes.

Number four of the ongoing mix series 35 minutes of old songs, new songs, remixed songs and songs fused together. Download here (or click the sheep) and check out the tracklisting and artists beloow:

I have swapped Buenos Aires for Derbyshire, England.

Rhythm 'n' Roots IV - Tracklisting
  1. Chicha Libre/Control Machete- Tres Pasajeros/Comprendes Mendes
  2. Collie Budz - Come Around (Kinky Electric Noise Cumbianativo Remix)
  3. Puba Grand - Get It (Toddla T Remix)
  4. Axel Krygier/Magot - Cumbia Tucumana/Als Ik Los Ga (Kid Kaio Remix)
  5. M.I.A./Kush Arora - Fire Fire/Weed Control
  6. Poncho Kingz - Space Cumbia (Sonidero Nacional Remix)
  7. Roots Manuva - Mind 2 Motion
  8. Modeselektor/The Fugees - Ready or Da Macka (DJ Elected Mix)
  9. Chancha Via Radiohead - A Punch Up at la Pachamama (No No No No No No No)
  10. Villa Diamante/Ukamau Y Ké - Emisor (Cumbia Style)/Periférico

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Rhythms (0)

18:32 by , under , , , , ,

Hyperdub honcho Kode9 talking new book, non-musical rhythms and the tasty forthcoming Vinyl/CD/Digital super-release to celebrate it's fifth birthday:

August 31st 12" release.
October digital & CD release.

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The first I heard of Bolivian rapper Abraham Bojorquez was, unfortunately, his tragic and untimely death in May this year. Aged 26, he was run down by a bus in the city of El Alto (the huge sprawl which sits above La Paz.) I read an article on this website and since reading it have been on the lookout for some of his music. Thanks to Ghetto Bassquake I have managed to find an album by Ukamau y Ké, his group, and it lives up to the reputation.

Abraham Bojorquez ( Wara Vargas / www.lamalapalabra.tk)

Bojorquez learnt his trade in Brazil while working in a textile factory. Intrigued by the role rap played for the young people of the favelas (as a means of expression), when he returned to Bolivia in 2003 he went about creating a rap scene in El Alto. Founding the group Ukamau y Ké and starting open-mic sessions, Bojorquez was, as Ghetto Bassquake puts it, The Godfather of Bolivian Rap.

Wayna Tambo radio community station where Bojorquez had a show

He was first and foremost a rapper of the people, his songs often political and social, dealing with the problems faced by the native Bolivian people in light of the years of opression and struggle against autocratic and racist regimes, or indeed individuals. He brought Aymaran, (The first language of 73% of El Alto's population and 25% of Bolivia's) culture to hip-hop and to the world, changing between rapping in Spanish and Aymara. The personal account given by Benjamin Dangl on the above site or here is a testament to the young producer and MC. Here is another interesting article by Dangl from 2006 about Aymaran hip-hop in El Alto.

My own tribute is a remix of the Ukamau y Ké track La Coca, download below:

Ukamau Y Ké - La Coca (El Buho Remix)

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To celebrate Rinse FM's 15th birthday, the label is giving away a selection of tracks from some of it's contributors and hosts which happen to include some of the best producers around (Skream, Geenus, Skepta, Plastician.)

The 31st of July is the big date and, of course, they are holding a birthday bash down at Matter in London town, as expected, the lineup is stellar:

DJ’s - Skream v Benga / Ms Dynamite / Boy Better feat. Skepta + JME + Frisco + Maximum / Kode9 / Magnetic Man (Live Set) / Geeneus / Crazy Cousinz / Marcus Nasty / N–Type v Youngsta / Zinc / Slimzee / Newham Generals / Caspa / Spyro v Silencer v Vectra / Alexander Nut / Katy B / Circle / Chef v Plastician / Scratcha

MC’s - Pokes / Stamina / Versatile / Tippa / SP:MC / Crazy D

Head over to Rinse FM and get the tunes, includes VIPs, unreleased stuff: general goldmine. While you are there get into the radio shows and podcasts for some real future music. So far:

17th Geenus - Yellowtail (VIP Mix)

20th Zinc ft. Aloe Blacc - All Your Base

21st Plastician ft JME, Skepta and Tinchy - Still Tippin'

22nd Skream - Calous

23rd Scratcha DVA - Kill All A’Dem (VIP)

24th Geenus ft Katy B - As I (Skepta Remix)

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Amazonian Wave: Chicha Peruana 1

12:15 by , under , ,

I just read an article in The Guardian about a Madrid based label Vampisoul reissuing long lost music from Latin America and beyond. Their first release was a compilation of Peruvian Underground music from the 60s and 70s, including Peruvian funk, garage, psychedelia and chicha. The article reminded me of an album I have which was released by Barbés Records - another fine label of crate diggers, called The Roots of Chicha, which charts the history and emergence of Peruvian Chicha music

Chica morada, the (slightly) alcoholic drink which the music is named after.

Chicha is often described as "Peruvian cumbia" but it is more like a bastard genre of tradition crossed with modernity. It originated in the Amazonas region of Northern Perú around the time of the oil boom in the 60s. The music took influences from the local folklore and mixed it with rock 'n' roll or surf rock, tropical rhythms such as colombian cumbia and Andean scales and melodies. It was primarily, however, a music to dance to and a music of the people. Barbés has some fantastic background information for all their releases and they do a much better job than either wikipedia or myself at explaining the history of the music.

Juaneco y su combo in full dress.

One of the most influential chicha groups was Juaneco y Su Combo and, in particular, guitarist Noé Fachin. The band mixed Brazilian rhythms, cumbia, rock n roll, surf rock with their own roots, writing songs inspired by local legends from the forest and dressing in traditional Shipibo atire, as Barbés mentions: "They were the musical ambassadors of the selva (forest)."

Unfortunately the main label which recorded and released many of the big names such as Juaneco y su Combo and Los Mirlos, INFOPESA, disappeared and the master tapes were lost. In 1977, five of el "combo" were killed in a plane crash, amongst them guitarist, composer and driving force behind the band Noé Fachin. The remaining members continued to play and indeed continue to play to this day with son of Juaneco, Mao Wong Lopez leading the group. It is great to see these labels making this near forgotten music available globally so support them if you can!

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Música Mestiza (0)

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Coming back to Perú I inevitably became reacquainted with Huayno and as I descended the highlands towards Bolivia it became clear Huayno is the popular music of the Andean people. It is a mestizo music: taking the traditional Huayno rhythms and vocal styles of the Incas and mixing it with Spanish lyrics and instruments such as harps and accordions. The musicians play repeated phrases, stretched brass lines and swirling violins accompanied by harping vocals and music box like plucked strings; at times it sounds a long way from Latin American music. It uses a lot of the pentatonic scale, used in folk music across the world, perhaps explaining why at times the harp phrases sound rather more Asian than Latin American.

Huayno Dancing

Perú: Huayno del Centro

Of the 200 or so tracks on this disc some are modern versions of Huaynos complete with cheesy drum machines and keyboards but the ones which really got me were the old, badly recorded tracks. The warm, live sound emphasises the fierce emotion which characterises the style, the vocals near shouting with passion.

Haydee Raymundo

Haydee Raymundo - Cuatro Palabras


The self-proclaimed "voz de los pobres," I first heard Haydee in a taxi ride and from then on she cropped up everywhere!

Picaflor de los Andes (Victor Mallma)

Picaflor de los Andes - Sacrilegio


One of the few men on the CD, el Picaflor de los Andes (The Hummingbird of the Andes), better known as Victor Mallma, was one the many "provincianos" who migrated to Lima in the 60s looking for work. He brought the folkloric music of the provinces to the city and became an key figure, representing the lives of the impoverished classes lured to the city. 100,000 people turned out to the man's funeral in 1975.

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ZZK Records have just published the results of the Fauna Remix competition from a few months back. The tracks chosen are a mixed bag of remixes and cut ups from of the five tracks from La Manita de Fauna album by a group of relatively unknown artists.

Go check out the site and download the 10 remixes chosen by members of the ZZK crew. It introduces a whole host of new artists to get into; a whole afternoon's worth of Myspacing!

I am a fan of the Lagartijeando sea-shanty-cumbia remix of Las Mil Caras:

Fauna - Las Mil Caras (Lagartijeando RMX)


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A "lost" weekend in Santa Fé has left me a little bit behind with the music so it is time to catch up. Still in Ecuador, which borders Colombia, I bought a disc of Colombian cumbias (I was unable to make it Colombia for a lack of time.) I somehow left Ecuador with music from anywhere but Ecuador!

I wanted to upload all of these tracks as they are just great! I have restrained myself however, and limited it to just three. In comparison to the aforementioned Bachata, this stuff is a breath of fresh air. Music to put you in a good mood, the perfect remedy for a grey, stormy Buenos Aires day. Furthermore the lyrics are great. I have already charted, briefly, the history of cumbia so I will leave it to Grant Dull from ZZK to refresh the memory: "Africa, Colombia, America."

First tune which I featured in my Rhythm 'n' Roots Mix Volume I and is a classic cumbia called Cumbia Cienaguera as interpreted by a Conjunto Tipica Vallenata (this appeared sampled on a house track by Samin called Heater and has been interpreted by many).

Conjunto Típica Vallenata - Cumbia Cienaguera


Second track is by Gustavo "el loco" Quinteros and is called Baracunatana. Made famous by Colombian rock group, Aterciopelados (youtube) but Gustavo Quinteros seems to be quite a character and the song is about him not bringing a prostitute home with him (the one who got on the moto with that idiot!)

Gustavo "el loco" Quinteros - Baracunatana


The final track is called Tabaco y Ron by Rodolfo Aicardi who is a big name in the history of música popular in Colombia. He sang all sorts of styles from ballads to cumbias to boleros, and alongside Gustavo Quinetero, (above) he spent time as a member of the legendary Los Hispanos group. He was even responsible for taking cumbia to the world, performing in Europe and Asia in the 80s and 90s. This song is, surprisngly, about tobaco and rum.

Rodolfo Aicardi - Tabaco y Ron


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While looking into the background of the various CDs and new genres I have aquired, I discovered a really great resource for Latin American music, or more specifically Andean music. Pacoweb is a site full of info on artists, discs, styles, dances and instruments (in Spanish). Check out the Ritmos Sud Americanos part which lists and explains the hundred of rhythms and variations of the numerous styles. It lists around 49 variations of Huayno!!!

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Ecuador: Nuevas Bachatas #113

Part II takes us to the Dominican Republic via Ecuador. A genre formerly known as "amargue" (bitterness), Bachata is usually is about relationships breaking down. Though I purchased this in Ecuador, Bachata is a style which originated in the Dominican Republic. It has since spread across South America hence why I found it in a CD shop in a town in the Ecuadorian andes. They say it evolved from Bolero, integrating a lot of guitar and is not too dissimilar from Merengue . The music really took off in the Dominican Republic of the sixties. This disc however, is modern, popular Bachata with electric guitar and drums and I have to admit it is rather cheesy: every one has to indulge once in a while and it is a little more acceptable when in another language. What's more I am intrigued by the fact that nearly every song is about heartbreak.

El Chaval
El Chaval - Me Mata una Pena

I have chosen a song called Me mata una pena by El Chaval: Great guitar riffing with a tragic sound and even more tragic lyrics. "She left me, I am sleeping alone, I cannot live in this shit, I carry on suffering this pain. But one day I have to forget her!" Blimey.

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In January I left BA and hit the road for three months taking in Chile, Perú, Ecuador, Bolivia and Northern Argentina. Along the way I managed to amass a collection of music ranging from Música Nacional Bolivia 2009 to Nuevas Bachatas #113 2008. For the most part I didn't see anything which resembled what I know to be a record store, all the music shops were filled with mountains of pirated CDs with badly photocopied inlays. Think 300 tracks on one CD for $4. I guess the RIAA and the IFPI don't hold much sway round these parts...I brought it all back and did some digesting and now it is time for the regurgitation!

For the next week or so I am going to offer up one track from each CD per day (ish) each with a short description and the track itself for listening/downloading. I suppose you could call it musical geography. I offer you my musical journey through South America.

Southern Peru: Pioneras del Huayno

Starting with a disc purchased in Tacna on the border of Chile and Peru after a taxi driver introduced me to Huayno. It is a music and dance which comes from the mountainous regions of Perú and is characterized by the rhythm; one long, two short, the andean instrumentation (charango, harp, drum etc) and it's shrill singing. Each song on this disc also includes an introdcution by a chap bigging up said chantante or offering some words of wisdom such as, "treat your woman well, she deserves it." Modern Huayno often fuses the traditions with other elements such as cumbia, rock and even reggae!

The ladies on this disc, however, are the pioneers. It features the delightful Flor Pilena, Mina Gonzales, Sally, Alicia Delgado and Wilma Contreras. Alicia Delgado was tragically killed last week amid rumours that her fellow folk singer Abencia Mezaso masterminded the murder. Thus, I have chosen two songs from this disc, one in memory of Alicia and the other a personal favourite.

Alicia Delgado - Luna


Mina Gonzales - Aguila Negra

The track I have chosen is a reverb laden ode to a black eagle...I love the Huayno rhythm which is so hard to pin down and the vocals are so rhythmic. The verse on this one is just great. "Que corazón tan variable!"

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