Unai J. Bolivar

Peña 2 promises another step into Afro-Peruvian music for Minnesota’s Secret Stash Records

By 03 February, 2011

Last year, Cory Wong and Eric Foss of Secret Stash Records travelled to Lima, assembling a group of local musicians to help document Afro-Peruvian music. The group was called Peña (a meeting place or grouping of artists/musicians) and their first album was released in October 2010 on their Secret Stash Records imprint. The self-titled effort was a collection of 17 tracks that eloquently displayed the different styles within the genre and was accompanied by a documentary DVD. As our interview with Foss uncovered, this album only scratched the surface as they recorded over 50 tracks during their time in Peru. It is no surprise then that Peña 2 is now being released.

Peña 2 is set for release on February 22nd 2011, and will feature another selection of Afro-Peruvian rhythms, interpreted by Wong himself as well as a wide variety of Peruvian musicians. Naturally this poses the question, “Why release two separate volumes?” Wong explains, “when we got back from Lima last year we sat down and divided up the recordings into two excellent collections that stood well on their own. It actually drove me nuts to hold back some of my favorite recordings for Volume 2. Due to the reception of the first volume, we knew it was time to release the rest of the tracks on this second volume. In fact, I think I may like volume 2 a bit more than Volume 1,” concluded Wong. With such a vast collection of recordings it can be a bit overwhelming to digest it in one album. Great tracks have the potential to be overlooked and can get lost in the shuffle. This way each track is likely to get a bit more attention from people once they dive into both volumes.

For the folks at Secret Stash the music encompasses more than just their own passion for Afro-Peruvian
music. They are focused on growing public interest in what Wong calls “one of the most soulful and heartfelt genres of music I’ve ever heard.” In addition to the release of Peña Volume 2, Secret Stash is also planning the release of a compilation of classic Afro-Peruvian recordings this spring. Wong and Foss compiled the collection during their time in Lima. Also, in an effort to help share Afro-Peruvian music with young musicians, Wong has assembled a live ensemble and educational curriculum that he is bringing to colleges
throughout the US this autumn.

Peña Volume 2 will be released on February 22nd by Secret Stash Records.

Listen to “Cardo o Ceniza”, a track from the new album here:


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