Friday, December 21, 2012

MARTIN LOPEZ Y SUS ESTRELLAS-Cocinando (Masstropicas, 2012)

It took me a while to get around to listen to this one but I finally played it in its entirety yesterday and I ended up liking it. 
Thing is, coming from Peru and pressed by Masstropicas, I was expecting something more in the lines of chicha and psychedelic ayahuasca-infused sounds. This has very little to do with that, there's a tiny bit of cumbia, but it's overall a concoction of tropical rhythms that leans heavily towards Cuba more than Colombian. Yes, there's some descarga, son, guaguancó and all that pre-salsa Cuban music that I'm not really into and that was the main reason it took me such a long time to actually play the whole LP.
Martín López, I'm told, went on to play chicha with Grupo Naranja after this, and legend claims he was a cop by day and a musician by night, or something. Thing is with all this chicha fever that spread worldwide in the last decade we tend to forget that in Perú, even to this days, salsa and Cuban music are extremely popular. In some areas way more than chicha. 
I was just talking about this with a group of Peruvian girls I met at the airport the other day on my way back from South America. We started chatting about music and I mentioned I played som chicha on my DJ sets, they were quick to point out that chicha was just a minor phenomenon in a specific demographic (people of aboriginal descent from the jungle and sierras) and even though in recent years it became more accepted by the Eurocentric big city youth (thanks in part to the above mentioned international interest, but also to younger bands like Bareto) it's still looked down on by the middle classes who are a lot more permeable to modern cumbia (known locally as technocumbia) and salsa. 
One of the girls told me of a recent visit of Lady Gaga to Lima that was a complete failure (they ended up giving tickets away for free to fill the place) because that same night there was a massive salsa festival taking place near by. 
I don't know where I'm going with this. Just trying to put this in context, I guess. Anyway, Cocinando was recorded in the late '60s, early '70s and it was never released abroad until now, thanks to Masstropicas who remastered and reissued the album in an impeccable vinyl LP worth adding to the collection of anybody interested in exploring the tropical side of South American music or any DJ who enjoys spinning some kick-ass descargas.

Buy it HERE.    

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