Rhythm 'n' Roots

Musical Explorations.

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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1 Reply to "Amazonian Wave: Chicha Peruana"

Anonymous on 31 March 2010 at 03:11

Informacion de la Chicha Peruana:


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