Monday, March 12, 2012
CHICHA LIBRE-Canibalismo (Barbés, 2012)
Chicha Libre may have started as a Brooklyn-based tribute band to an obscure music genre nobody in the Northern Hemisphere had heard of before, but they have grown and developed their own thing by both, going deeper into chicha roots and expanding into other genres. Canibalismo is proof of that.
Chicha Libre is not stuck looking backwards, trying to recreate a bygone era, but using those old Peruvian records as a framework to create something new and current, pretty much in the same manner that Bio Ritmo evokes 70's salsa.
On their second album, the band commanded by frenchman Olivier Conan, wisely avoids the covers of classic Peruvian tunes, that in the time that has passed since their debut, have become common place. Still, the atmosphere of the ayahuasca-infused Amazon jungle trip is present over all the album.
There's a stronger, tighter percussion on this new album (those timbales!) that make the mix sound a lot funkier and I know DJs and break-beat diggers will be thankful. There's also some quirky numbers like the chicha cover of Wagner's "The Ride of the Valkyries" that could've only been conceived while flying over Iquitos on a helicopter with the side doors opened. There's even a subtle wink to cumbia villera's characteristic keyboard on "Lupita en la selva y el doctor" a song with pretty funny lyrics as you may infer from the title. But most of the songs are instrumental-only or instrumental-with-announcer-talking-in-the-breaks and that's when I like them the best, like on the album opener, "La Plata," that's begging to be pressed on a 7'' single and become a must on all my DJ sets.
Canibalismo will be out in May on digital and CD, there're no announcements of vinyl release anywhere yet, but I'm leaning to assume they're gonna press some singles at least (like they did with their debut) although a double LP (like they did with Roots of Chicha) would be welcomed too.