Posted on November 3, 2011
The fourth release from future looking Latin American netlabel Antartek comes from Amsterdam based Argentine born producer Makina. Potro (which translates as horse) consists of four prime cuts of ‘Ghetto Folk/House/Pisco Sour/Cumbia'(!) Makina takes house music foundations and layers them with slices of chicha guitar, cut up cumbia rhythms and even a drop of swaggering moombahton. The tracks have groove and are made for the dancefloor, following on from Antartek’s previous releases from Daniel Klauser and Matanza. Have a listen to the EP below and then go and download this along with all of the label’s EPs for free here!
Posted on August 28, 2011
Auntie Flo, otherwise known as Glaswegian Brian D’Souza, has been making waves over the past year or so with his take on tropical/afro-house and DJ sets at the Highlife club night. His previous tunes ‘Goa’ & ‘Highlife’ were the first releases from club turned label Huntley & Palmers which was followed by this tune ‘Oh My Days’, backed by South African house producer DJ Sdunkero’s ‘Choosing Love’.
Todays mash-up takes the Alejandro Paz remix of ‘Oh My Days’, slows it down and, keeping with the recent Peruvian theme on the blog, blends it with some classic chicha c/o Los Mirlos.
Posted on August 27, 2011
Masstrópicas are back (check out the previous release here) with another little gem of a release. Grupo 2000’s debut album, ‘El Destape’, originally released in October 1974, has become a much sought after diamond for collectors of classic Peruvian chicha. Virtually unknown outside of Peru, this re-release, taken directly from the seemingly endless resource of long-lost chicha master tapes, brings Tulio Trigoso’s grooving arrangements to many people’s ears for the first time.
Grupo 2000’s chicha is up-beat, funky and fresh adding son/salsa (‘El Destape a los 2000′), jungle influences (‘El Ventisho’), rock ( ‘Notas de Colores’) and even what sounds like Peruvian Afro-Beat (‘Flor Tarapotina’) into the mix. This is of course accompanied by the usual fill of wah, melodic guitar solos, organ and guiro and is all held together by Tarapoto born Trigoso’s remarkable guitar playing. Grupo 2000 eventually changed their name to Sonido 2000 and continue to play to this day with Trigoso, now recognised as one of chicha’s greatest songwriters, at the helm.
‘El Destape’ will also be available come mid/late September on limited edition vinyl with a ‘ ‘tip-on’ style Stoughten jacket’, quality photos and the customary in-depth background notes on the band and the release. For those of you who can’t wait, or just want to get their hands on the music, the album is available now on MP3 via Light in the Attic Records.
It seems Masstrópicas has some exciting little surprises up its sleeve over the next few months so watch this space….
Posted on August 11, 2011
Toma! is the latest project from Colectivo Auxilar, a collective of musicians, video artists, designers and artists. Following in the footsteps of ZZK Club in Buenos Aires, the Lima based Tropical Bass clubnight marries ritmos y tradiciones latinoamericanos (Cumbia, Chicha, Afro-Peruano) with Dubstep, Techno, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Global Bass and a club aesthetic. The visual/graphic is also well represented with live visuals on the nights and some quality graphic design for the promotion/website design etc.
As far as the music goes, Toma!/Axuiliar unite a new wave of ‘Tropical’ producers and DJs in Peru, offering a showcase for their sounds and the exploration of new musical directions. This group includes the likes of the fantastically named Dengue Dengue Dengue!, Elegante y La Imperial, Deltatron, and Sonidos Profundos (see below for some little musical gems).
Posted on August 9, 2011
This one comes from those excellent folk at Listen Recovery. Infopesa, the Peruvian imprint responsible for launching ‘Chicha’ back in the 1970s has a selection of its cover art from across the last forty years up on their Facebook. I have picked a selection of my personal favourites (click on them for a little audio taster) and you can see the whole collection here.
Posted on May 31, 2011
The story goes that Alberto Maravi, the former head of the Peruvian label INFOPESA, first heard ‘Mulher Rendeira’ when he was working as a DJ in Brazil. Upon his return to Peru he believed the song would make a great first single for the chicha amazonica band from Pucallpa in the Peruvian Amazon, Juaneco y su Combo. ‘Mujer Hilandera’, a Spanish translation of Zé do Norte’s Portuguese language version, was released in 1970 through INFOPESA and went on to be the band’s first major hit, translating the Brazilian folk song ‘Mulher Rendeira’ for a different culture, style, audience and language.
Musically the song corresponded to the chicha style, itself a fusion of cumbia colombiana, surf rock, psychadelia and other local/regional influences such as the Shipibo culture in the case of Juaneco y su Combo. Unlike the previous English language versions however, the Spanish version was translated almost literally and the verses removed, leaving the repeated refrain of:
Olé mujer hilandera
Olé, olé olé. (x2)
Tú me enseñas a hacer hilo
Yo te enseño a enamora
As in Brazil, the mujer hilandera, or sewing woman, was a Peruvian cultural icon and played a big part in the local and national tradition and heritage. This is in part due to the importance of textiles for many pre-hispanic cultures, whose legacy survived the colonialist period. The song therefore resonated with the Peruvian people who were able to identify with the figure of the mujer hilandera just as Brazilians identified with the mulher rendeira, a well-known symbol of north-eastern culture. The song became part of the Peruvian national repertoire, overshadowing its true roots and reshaping the song as strictly and proudly Peruvian.
After its acceptance as a chicha classic, ‘Mujer Hilandera’ was covered by many groups and often appears in chicha bands’ live sets. Perhaps the most well known contemporary recording was by Bareto on their 2003 album Cumbia. The band have been part of a recent revival of chicha music in Peru alongside the genre’s global dissemination through releases such as the recent El Sonido de Tupac Amaru and Barbés’ series of chicha re-releases including Masters of Chicha Volume I which concentrated on Juaneco y su Combo and featured their recording of ‘Mujer Hilandera’.
Posted on May 30, 2011
El Sonido de Tupac Amaru, released through the Massachusetts based Masstrópicas label, is another Peruvian chicha retrospective which this time concentrates on the sound’s evolution during the 70s and 80s. The album is well-informed and meticulously researched by Masstrópicas label head Mike P with in-depth sleeve notes, including material taken from interviews conducted with some of the original artists, and original photos from LimaFotoLibre. One thing to be underlined is the label’s insistance on finding and paying royalties, where possible, to the original artists.
It is a vinyl only release limited to 500 copies and includes another ‘Centeno 7″ single’ compiling four songs with the voice of the chicha legend Carlos Ramirez Centeno. Definitely one to collect and cherish! More information available from Listen Recovery and the album is available to buy from Light in The Attic records.
Posted on March 14, 2011
This piece on Peruvian poster art came out last year Creative Review magazine but I hadn’t seen the accompanying documentary on one of the artists (Elliot Tupac) behind these wonders (Thanks to Listen Recovery). Here is an interview from Guia de Arte de Lima (in Spanish) with Tupac about his work. It is incredible that these posters are still hand-made on a mass scale using their own typography and methods not involving any computers or electronic printing technology.
Inevitably however, as Tupac says in the video, these methods cannot compete with the newer more cost effective printing methods. He signals that perhaps in the future these hand made posters will only be seen in art galleries rather than plastered across Lima’s streets. Check out some examples below, including an exhibition in Lima put together by El Grupo Plástico collective in 2009 called La Cuadrada: Kaleidoscopic Vision in the city of Lima.
Posted on January 12, 2011
Welcome to a new mini-feature for the blog where I will be doing a little introduction to some great independent record labels from across the world. To start things off we have the Brooklyn based label Electric Cowbell Records.
The label was started last year (2010) by percussionist Jim Thompson in Brooklyn, initially to record his band The CSC Funk Band. Thompson and his co-band mates decided to take the unusual route of recording and releasing the single in 7 inch 45 vinyl format, inspired by an old article called Anatomy of a Heavy Funk 45 (basically a beginners guide to recording a lo-fi, “rough and heavy” funk vinyl 45s). The label has since gone on to release eleven singles in 45 format and for Thompson there was also a long held, personal inspiration behind the move:
“I have a lifelong obsession with vinyl and the 45 format has always held fetish fascination with me. That a good 45 DJ could pack a little soul party in a little box furthered my appreciation. The passing of John Peel a few years ago and his wife disclosing the contents of his 142-singles box, where he kept his most beloved singles, also struck me in my heart.”
Posted on December 29, 2010
Here is a little preview mix for our next Hispanic Panic night at Stereo in Glasgow on the 14th of January. We will be turning Stereo’s cave into a steamy rainforest filled with mystery with live music from the Glasgow Drum Circle and the best música selvatica to boogie in a jungle fashion to! All proceeds from the event will be going to a research trip in the Manú national park in the Peruvian Amazon run by Glasgow University students. Listen below or download here.
Alongside some contemporary Peruvian artists and a few jungle related TUNES, the mix has a definite chicha leaning to it. Chicha appeared in the Peruvian amazon “oil boom” towns in the 1970s. Led by bands like Juaneco y su Combo and Los Mirlos, it was a real fusion music mixing surf guitar, indigenous melodies and cumbia rhythms to create a unique stlye called chicha. It has recently been exposed to the world through the fantastic Roots of Chicha Volume 1 & 2 released by Barbes Records.