Chicha Libre: Sonic Predators Rock Peruvian Grooves | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Chicha Libre: Sonic Predators Rock Peruvian Grooves

Play associated audio

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, which 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, which 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. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Battle Creek' Tries To Shake Up CBS' Cop Show Formula

CBS' new cop show Battle Creek is based on a 12-year-old script by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. It's among three new network shows that aim to reinvent old TV concepts.
NPR

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through 'Adopt A Cow'

The cheeses of the Italian Alps are prized for their flavor. But the tradition of cheese-making here is dying off. Now remaining farmers are banding together around an unusual adoption program.
NPR

How Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Washington Visit Playing In Israel?

The prime minister is headed to Washington to address Congress despite objections from the White House. Host Arun Rath speaks with NPR's Emily Harris iabout how Israelis regard the controversial trip.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.