Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 3:18 PM
Chicha is a corn-derived liquor native to the South American Andes since ancient times. It's also a quirky style of pop music that developed in the Peruvian Amazon in the 1960s and '70s. All of that provides inspiration for Chicha Libre, which has just released its second album, Canibalismo.
Related ArticlesFirst Listen: Chicha Libre, 'Canibalismo'
The band plays in a Peruvian style born out of cross-cultural fermentation in Latin America.
Chicha is a corn-derived liquor native to the South American Andes since ancient times. It's also a quirky style of pop music that developed in the Peruvian Amazon in the 1960s and '70s. All of that provides inspiration for the Brooklyn band Chicha Libre, who has just released its second album, Canibalismo.
Founder Olivier Conan developed a passion for chicha music while crate-digging through old vinyl in Peru. He says all pop-music innovators are really sonic predators.
"We don't play chicha," he says of his band. "We just absorb anything we like. We're cannibals."
Even Wagner is fair game for Chicha Libre, who set "The Ride of the Valkyries" to a slow cumbia lope on Canibalismo. Another standout, "La Danza," features West African guitar riffs over a Cuban montuno vamp. The songs are mostly instrumental, with vocals more as incidental flavoring than the main event.
For all the joyous eclecticism on Canibalismo, the music does cohere around a strong Peruvian center. In "Muchachita," you can almost see ragtag couples sashaying across a beer-soaked dance floor in an Amazon oil-boom town in 1969. What makes all this work is solid musicianship and playful expertise. These guys know a lot about a lot of different kinds of music, and they aren't afraid to show it — as long as that doesn't get in the way of having fun. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]
This article is filed in: Music Reviews
In "Libby," Fuller takes a brooding, beautiful look into a world of obsession, betrayal and regret.
Lisa Marie Presley: Rock's Princess Finds Her Voice
Presley has weathered personal storms with grace. On her new album, she hints that she's just begun.
Kathleen Ferrier: A Voice Not Forgotten
A new 14-CD set marks the centenary of the great English singer's birth.
Louis Armstrong: With Love And Grace, A Final 'Hello'
In one of his final performances, Armstrong used "Hello Dolly" to convey the joy of being alive.
John Talabot: From Sleek Grooves, A Fluid Sound
The tempo of "Destiny" would fall perfectly in sync with the bolt strut of a high-paid runway model.
News updates from WGBH