Photo: Emra Islek

Pena — El Mayoral

By - 10 October, 2010

Peña, released on Tuesday (Oct 12th), is the culmination of Eric Foss and Cory Wong’s trip to Lima in search of the finest Afro-Peruvian musicians they could find. Over seven days they would record an assortment of tracks in streets, old churches and hallways that would make up the content of Peña. It’s a record full of talent little-known outside of Peru, and that highlights this beautiful music of Peru, one that has for years fallen away from national consciousness (the release of Luaka Bop’s The Soul of Black Peru compilation in 1995 was one of the few times it’s even entered international consciousness.) To mark the release of the compilation we have a free MP3 which can be listened to or downloaded below:

[audio:http://static.soundsandcolours.com/2010/10/pena-el-mayoral.mp3|titles=Pena – El Mayoral] Download

This particular track features the voice of Sofia Rei Koutsovitis, accompanied by Eric Kurimski on guitar, Jorge Roeder on bass and Jorge “Coqui” Perez on cajón.

For those wanting an explanation of what exactly Afro-Peruvian music is, here you go:

In the mid 1500s Spanish conquistadors brought African slaves with them to Peru. One of the many restrictions placed on the slaves was that they were not allowed to own or play instruments. In time they began using fruit boxes and dresser drawers as drums. This innovation became formally known as the cajón (large box) and it was the central component in fusing African rhythms with Spanish music. After slavery was abolished in Peru (1856), Afro-Peruvian culture slowly withered away. By the mid 1900s the music (along with other parts of the culture) had almost completely vanished. In the 1960s, a small handful of black Peruvians in Chincha (3 hours south of Lima) started a revival of sorts. It quickly grew and before long the people of Peru were rediscovering this lost music. Today Lima is the center of Afro-Peruvian music, but people of all colors living in coastal Peru celebrate this music and culture.

Peña will be released by Secret Stash Records on October 12th 2010.

Here’s the trailer for the release:


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