Remember those old movies where the square middle-aged dude reluctantly attends a party of young far-out non-conformists who get him high AF, minutes later dude is life of the party and doing crazy shit like painting a baby elephant, which then segues into the scene where he’s suddenly alone with the chic who was eyeing him earlier on? Straight from Lima, Los Pakines wrote the song for that scene just as everything goes kaleidoscope.
I was listening to last week’s Pelanga En La Sala, where we shared a few tracks that we picked up at Oakland’s record swap in November, and there is one more track I’d really like to share.
Trying to stay within a budget, you have to limit yourself to just a few pricier records, and then go take some risks off of the dollar bins. During the podcast we gave the best-one-dollar-record award to Jacobo, for a cosmic trip of a track: “Sagitario” by Chico Che y La Crisis. Very well deserved, no doubt, but can I show you my contender?
I’ve long been a fan of Afro-Peruvian music, and I didn’t think twice when I saw a compilation of marineras, festejos, landós, and zamacuecas in Adam‘s bargain bin. The record featured some of the usual suspects, but also several musicians I never heard of — just what I look for in a $1 gamble. It turned out to be a great record all around, and the last track, a zamacueca by the incredible Victoria Santa Cruz, was the surprise treat for me.
(foto: El Comercio)
Victoria Santa Cruz has been called the mother of Afro-Peruvian culture; I knew her as a dancer / scholar / performer / folklorista / badass. But I didn’t know she recorded some albums too, and there’s a track of hers on this compilation. And I don’t know what it is, but this song just fucking kills me!
Every now and then I’ll find what I think are the best five seconds of music in history (the Miles Davis Quintet handing “‘Round Midnight” to Coltrane for his solo, the entrance to “Quitate De Mi Escalera” by Grupo Socavón, Jorge Millet’s filthy piano solo on Orquesta Mundo’s “Mamacita”, Andrés Landero’s bassist trying to sound like a turkey on “La Pava Congona”…). DJ China Tu Madre will tell you that I exaggerate all the time, but I don’t. At least not at those times. And right now, that’s how I feel about the moment when Victoria Santa Cruz gathers everyone together to close this track.
This song is the soundtrack to a straight-up dance battle, and our only regret should be not being able to watch it. Instead, I’ll leave you with this:
Victoria Santa Cruz passed away in August, at age 91. Que descanse en paz. If you’re in the Bay Area, you may be interested in a tribute that the Mission Cultural Center will host next Monday:
I come from that generation of peruanos who’s never seen Peru win anything in fútbol: we last made the World Cup in 1982, when I was five, and last won a Copa América in 1975, a couple of years before I was born. But there’s always hope. South America’s soccer championship starts tomorrow, and though we have a tough group (Chile, Mexico, Uruguay) right now, as I type this: we’re all tied for first place.
So I’m posting this sublimely patriotic track from Arturo “Zambo” Cavero, “Y se llama Perú”, to inspire fans and players alike to dream big, or at least lose with dignity. My guess is Papicultor is as optimistic about Colombia’s chances, as I am about Peru’s; and that Posoule is smug and confident after Chicharito et al won the Gold Cup in impressive fashion.
A touch of nationalism now and then isn’t a bad thing, as long as it isn’t dogmatic. It’s even better when it’s shared musically. What I like about this record is the very notion behind it: a Cuban group performing in honor of Peru. That’s pan-Latin Americanism I can get behind…
Los Beta 5, one of Peru’s great cumbia bands, featuring the Canevallo Pardo brothers–what a talented family. Nelson (lead guitar), Fernando (guitar/bass), Reynaldo (timbales), Juan (bongos) + Pancho Lema (quinta). Here’s my favorite of this comp I got in Lima last month: ‘El Coquero”. Enjoy.