Upcoming release of The Roots of Chicha 2 means we don’t have to wait long for our psychedelic cumbia fix

By | 07 September, 2010

I can still remember hearing The Roots of Chicha for the first time. I was in Choele Choel in Argentina asking a guy called Fernando for some music, in the hopes that he would put me onto some interesting things in Argentina. Instead he gave me The Roots of Chicha, telling me that it was the Peruvian version of Buena Vista Social Club. The description may have been a little sketchy, but after first listen it was clear that this was something special. There was a roughness to the recordings and the musicianship, something which added character to these strange Andean cumbian songs. It was like someone had wheeled a load of guitars and amplifiers up the mountains, handed out a couple of The Sonics recorded and then popped back a month later to record the releases. Fresh, alive, ragged, incendiary and glowing are all adjectives that I would attach to that record.

The good news is that we now get a second volume, compiled once more by Olivier Conan, the one-man Chicha hype machine. This is what Olivier has to say about this new volume:

The impact the first volume of The Roots of Chicha had in Peru came as a big surprise. For decades, chicha had been scorned as the trashiest expression of Lima’s slums. While the music certainly lived on with the working class, many journalists, students, and musicians had also become interested in the music and used the release of the album as an excuse to explore what had become an obscure chapter of their popular culture. News that a gringo was interested in chicha found its way into Peru’s mainstream press. That this gringo was also playing in a band (Chicha Libre) that paid tribute to the music, gave it an additional air of exoticism. This second volume is not a sequel. It’s an attempt to rectify some of the biases and inaccuracies of the first volume. Volume two focuses more on the urban aspect of the music and less on the Amazonian side. It highlights some lesser-known bands, and it also broadens its scope to include some of the early Cuban-influenced groups who would play such a crucial role in the elaboration of the chicha sound, as well as some of the later bands who play in the more Andean style that came to be referred to as chicha. More roots. More chicha.

I think that pretty much sums it all up quite nicely. The Roots of Chicha 2 will be released on 4 October 2010 by Crammed Discs.

Listen to a few of the tracks now:

More info:
Crammed Discs


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