The Invisible City

We don’t usually write about television commercials here at La Pelanga, but then again, most commercials don’t have soundtracks like this one. I first saw this Cemento Sol ad a few years ago, and have had its laid-back cumbia reworking of the Augusto Polo Campos classic “Te Sigo” in my head ever since. I’ve done my best to find the complete track, but had no luck. The song (and the ad) recognizes a shift that was a long time coming: the capital used to be synonomous with música criolla; now, after decades of migration from the interior, that musical culture has changed dramatically. In colonial central Lima, just behind the Presidential Palace, there’s a boardwalk named after Chabuca Granda, one of the great songwriters of the creole tradition—these days it’s pretty common to hear the strains of Andean huayno there, something unimaginable not that long ago. Cumbia bands like Juaneco y su Combo perform at the Lima’s Centro Cultural de España in front of thousands. The once-obscure Los Belkings (perhaps the greatest Andean surf rock group ever) play sold-out shows in the hipster district of Barranco.

The images themselves tell an important story—moving from central Lima to the anonymous outskirts, from the landmarks of the city’s colonial past to the newly-settled neighborhoods where most Limeños live. And the very fact that cement would be advertised on national television says something significant. While it’s difficult to imagine this happening in the United States or Europe, in the developing world, it makes perfect sense, of course. Peru is a country where most construction is done informally; where houses are built, not by contractors, but by the owners themselves, in their spare time, often with the help of their neighbors or extended family. In the ad’s last image, we get a glimpse of this new urban pastoral: working men place their hands gently on the grains of cement, and the thin metal bars rise like corn stalks from the roof of a house, backlit by the setting sun. This could be anywhere in the city, one of literally thousands of neighborhoods. I’d go so far as to say most of the Peruvian capital looks just like this.

The situation was very different in the 1970s, when the song was originally composed. In case you’ve never heard it, here it is, as sung by late Arturo “Zambo” Cavero, along with a slideshow of images from a city that no longer exists.

slideshow courtesy of Gianlucca30

— franz tunda

Roots of Chicha, vol II / Los Compadres del Ande

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In a few weeks, October 12 to be exact, the second of the Barbés Records anthologies “The Roots of Chicha” will be released. I was thoroughly impressed with the first one, which featured classics by some of our favorite groups here at La Pelanga: Los Mirlos, Los Destellos, and Juaneco y Su Combo. The tracks chosen and the comprehensive liner notes show me this guy has done his homework. He also started a band called Chicha tu madre, which tours all over, playing Peruvian cumbias to worldwide audiences.

My guess (hope?) is that this track “Lamparita” will be on the new compilation. Or maybe some other track by the extraordinary Compadres del Ande. That’s one mean organ! I’ll be posting “El Jet”–another banger–in a few weeks…

Meanwhile, if you haven’t heard the first compilation, I do recommend it.

Lamparita by Los Compadres Del Ande

Lamparita

Felíz bicentenario a México y los países centroamericanos!

–franz tunda

[aka “the deejay formerly known as juancho3000”]

“El tornillo,” Orq. Show Sinfonica Sunicancha Huarochiri

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A few months ago, I posted this track, “Consuelo mio” by Orquesta Show Sinfonica Sunicancha Huarochiri. It’s still one of my favorite Pelanga songs, one I always try to sneak into rotation at a party. In Lima, I went in search of anything else by this group, and came across this: Los Ases de Huarochiri.

This album is a bit different from the other one, Cumbias, Mambos, y Salsas al estio de mi tierra (can’t say the first one, since I don’t really know which came first…), more Andean, less tropical. Musically, it’s all over the map: polkas, huaynos, cumbias, tracks (like this one) that feature a lot of guitar, and even a few with an acoustic guitar, accordion and very little in the way of horns. Here’s a sample from side b.

An added (non-musical) bonus: the third guy form the right looks exactly like my brother-in-law PJ. Maybe I’ll ask him which album came first, and why the band can’t decide on a style.

El Tornillo by Orquesta Show Sinfonica Sunicancha Huarochiri

El Tornillo

–juancho3000

 

 

More from “El Aromito”

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Club Social Musical “El Aromito” was formed after the famed Centro Musical El Callao closed in the early 1990s. Today, Friday, August 20th, it celebrates its 16th anniversary today. For the occasion, I’m posting this recording from a few Fridays ago. I wish I could be there…

abrazos,

juancho

“El verdadero criollismo”, Walter Goyburu

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Last week I had the privilege of meeting Walter Goyburu. He’s the one on the left, wearing the white scarf. His son is on cajón, and the man on the right is the musical director of Centro Social Musical El Aromito, in Callao. I’ve unfortunately forgotten their names, but I blame this on the rum. Early in the evening, before the drinking began in earnest, we asked Walter to show us the difference between the classic and the modern styles of Peruvian creole guitar. This was his response.

If you’d like to hear more of Walter’s amazing music, you must pick up this. I’ll be posting more of my recordings from that evening in the coming weeks.

–juancho

El Cholo Berrocal, “A mi pueblo me voy”

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A mi pueblo yo me voy

A Mi Pueblo Yo Me Voy by El Cholo Berrocal

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