Tag Archives: peru

Album of the Day: Chocolate, “Peru’s Master Percussionist”

Learning that an artist named Chocolate recorded music in Las Vegas back in 1990, one would assume the recordings contained big-band swing, cosmic funk, or some other style that would play well in classic downtown Vegas. But this musical odyssey to Sin City was made by Julio “Chocolate” Algendones, the brilliant percussionist and star of Afro-Peruvian music, who passed away in 2004. Mostly recorded during a trip to the U.S. with his group Perujazz, Algendones’s Peru’s Master Percussionist (Perspective on Afro​-​Peruvian Music. The Collection) connects festejo rhythms—a festive form of Afro-Peruvian music—with the traditional Yoruba sounds of Western Africa and spiritual patterns of the Santeria religion. Continue reading

Martín Morales Mixes the Food and Music of His Native Peru

Martin Morales

Ever since he was a child, Peruvian chef and restaurateur Martín Morales has been constantly on the move. Whether it was 18-hour bus drives through the steep, winding, narrow roads of the Andes to visit his grandmother “Mamita Naty” in the hilltop town of Santiago de Chuco, or traveling across Europe as a young DJ and music executive, Morales has never stopped wandering, taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the world and incorporating them into his work. But, as he recounts over a Skype interview from a sunny café in the Elephant and Castle crossing in London, England, his fondest and most inspiring memories happened during long drives to Santiago de Chuco, when the driver would stop at the picanterías—small, family-owned restaurants serving local fare—to give travelers a respite from the long journey. “That stayed with me forever, really,” he says. “Then reaching the town of Santiago, the smell of the different breads, the different sounds of the music, the different types of people, the different countrysides…it was stunning.”

Those memories of sound and taste, carried across a lifetime, provided the backbone for Morales’s new endeavor, ANDINA: The Sound of the Peruvian Andes 1968-1978, on Tiger’s Milk Records. It’s a compilation of 16 tracks representing the happier side of indigenous music—the danceable and carnivalesque spirit of Andean culture. The album features hard-to-find songs like “La Chichera,” performed by Los Demonios Del Mantaro, a pivotal group in the Andean tropical sound; “Perla Andina” by the “grand ole dame” of Peruvian music, Alicia Maguiña; and the big band and funk-influenced “Caymeñita” by Lucho Neves y Su Orquesta, among others. These tracks represent, as Morales tells it, not only his experience as a person of Andean descent, but a different view of the culture of the mountains—a nuanced albeit non-completist, tale of migration, celebration, pride, and longing for the homeland.

Along with its companion cookbook ANDINA: The Heart of Peruvian Food, Morales aims to dispel stereotypical notions of Peruvian music, culture, and cuisine by showing the vast world of ingredients, sounds and instruments from the region. We spoke with Martín Morales about how Andean culture is being reclaimed by Peruvians today and how the different genres presented in ANDINA have evolved into their present-day incarnations.            

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The New Peruvian Electronic Renaissance

ALQSBS, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Maribel

“We have not been an industrialized society. It’s been precarious, but that has spawned a very inventive and rich culture.” —Luis Alvarado

Electronic music in Peru dates back to the 1960s, but you’d be forgiven for not knowing that until recently. The tropical bass boom has put the Andean nation on electronic music’s global map, and writers and musicians in Peru are starting to talk more about the works of early composers like Cesar Bolaños and Edgardo Valcárcel, both vanguard artists instrumental to the influx of new ideas about music composition in Peru.

So why has it taken so long for such a rich history to surface?

“There is no easy answer, but it has to do with the complicated way things work in Peru,” explains Luis Alvarado, director and founder of the experimental electronica label Buh Records in Lima. “I can tell you that we have not been an industrialized society. There aren’t any great technological advances ingrained in us because of intense economic crises and complex migratory patterns. It’s been precarious, but that has spawned a very inventive and rich culture.”

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