Just wanted to plug my latest Latin mix, which the cool folks at Soul Bonanza are hosting for me. The mix, entitled “Me Gusta Como Bailas”, is a combination of my favorite styles of Latin music all in one: Pachanga, Cumbia, Descarga, Funk, Salsa, etc from places like California, Ethiopia, Colombia and Cuba! Make sure to check back to their site for the best in Tropical sounds from Latin America, the Caribbean & Africa.
East of the towering Andes Mountains in the cities and towns of Peru’s Amazonian jungle region, a prolific music scene emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. The rubber boom in the 20th century saw massive migration to the area from a diverse array of enterprising laborers from the Americas and abroad (even Sephardic Jews from Morocco came to the area) in search of work. This, adding to a significant indigenous population already living there, created an interesting cultural milieu to say the least! The popularity of guitar-based cumbias and guarachas from Western Peru by bands such as Los Destellos and Los Diablos Rojos had an important influence on these Amazonian groups (think Los Mirlos, Juaneco, etc), but the music they created was quite unique with an incredible range of styles.
Searching out these lost Amazonian classics is Michael Piggott, who has been releasing tons of great Peruvian gems through the Light in the Attic imprint (Ranil y su Conjunto Tropical, etc). His next project is an LP entitled El Destape by an obscure group named Grupo 2000 who were led by guitarist Tulio Trigoso. I interviewed him recently about this recent reissue project, Peruvian music industry of the 60s & 70s, and about the Peruvian reissue game in general.
Finally getting back from work/vacation in Colombia and Venezuela and I had an incredible time! Plenty of fun and records were found on the trip, many of which will be posted here either in reviews or mixes coming up really soon. I’m still processing my South American haul, so feast your ears on a tremendous boogaloo banger from Lima, Peru, which I had waiting for me at home when I got back.
Carlos Hayre (I’ve also seen it spelled Haire) was an orchestra leader and guitarist from Lima, Peru’s bustling capital city. Better known for his contributions to Peruvian music on the guitar, he also fronted Afro-Cuban bands that were gaining in popularity in 60s Lima. This week we have him doing “Me Gusta Boogaloo”, an utter dancefloor stormer of a track that has no guitar, just pure brass, piano, and rhythmic bliss! Oh, and hand claps!
Shouts to DJ Hobo D from the Peligrosa Crew down in Austin, TX.
A few weeks back, a faithful reader of this blog asked me a seemingly simple question:“What are your top 5 Latin Funk tracks of all time?” I put some serious thought into this question, revisited many worthy records in my collection, and came up with my top five as of this moment. I tried my best to remove the rarity of certain records from my decisions and focus exclusively on the musical qualities of the songs in question, but as you can imagine sometimes the rarest shit is the best. I will be posting each of my top fives picks individually in the coming weeks, so make sure to stay tuned! Continuing on, here is my #4 pick:
4.) Black Sugar: “Too Late” (Sono Radio, Peru, 1971)
Black Sugar was formed by some of Peru’s best young musicians of their day. In 1970, the new musical director of Sono Radio, Jamie Delgado, signed these guys to the label and helped to get their first Self-Titled LP released in 1971. He also gave them their name! Fronted by guitarist Victor Salazar and keyboardist Miguel Figueroa, Black Sugar was one of the hottest and most popular bands in Peru at the time. It is also worth noting that the legendary MAG All Star Coco Lagos himself plays percussion on the entire LP!
“Too Late” is my favorite Peruvian funk song without a doubt, and there’s no way I could leave a song from this country out of my list! There is something amazing that happens in this track when those horns and a simple piano montuno combine. Written by keyboardist Miguel Figueroa, “Too Late” is one of the three original compositions that appears on the LP. I listen to it at least once a week!
Today I offer you all a short but sweet mix of Latin treats from all over the western hemisphere; from the Bay Area of California to El Salvador to Uruguay!
The first mix that I’ve done for my own site (I know, I know), Dame El Rock is the first installment in what will surely be a continuing series that seeks to expose some of Latin America’s forgotten rock hard gems. At times funky, psychedelic and soulful, this collection of tracks starts off heavy, but soon mellows out until finally culminating in one of my favorite songs of all time: Cofradia‘s rare “Tu Carino”!
Los Rodyn’s: “Cafe” (El Salvador) Ray Camacho: “Damelo” (California) People: “Picadillo” (Texas) Via Libre: “Tiuba La Quieba” (El Salvador) Challenger’s: “Emily” (Puerto Rico) La Logia Sarabanda: “Cajon De Castanas” (Peru) Los Zheros: “Cuarto Oscuro” (Peru) Totem: “Caspita” (Uruguay) Rulie Garcia: “Earthquake” (California) Los Orientales: “La Danza Del Mono” (Peru by way of Colombia) Cofradia: “Tu Carino” (Panama)
Yeah, its been comped to death, but I couldn’t resist throwing this up anyway! Coco Lagos hails from Peru where he was a successful percussionist in his country during the sixties. Joined here by an All-star line-up of MAG studio players (including Alfredo Linares on piano!), Coco and crew devise a sensational set of hot Latin tunes for their Ritmo Caliente album. This 45 features two of my favorite tracks from the album: “Guajira Boogaloo,” a smoking dancefloor cut with a massive 8-bar break & “Descarga Jala Jala,” an energy-packed descarga of high potency. Take a listen and see what you think!