From Spooky Chicha to Moody R&B: A Playlist Guide to the New Peruvian Underground

Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla

One hundred and ninety-six years ago, José de San Martín stood before 16,000 people at Lima’s Plaza Mayor and declared Peruvian independence. A lot has happened in Peruvian culture and music since then: Chabuca Granda’s folk croons, Los Saicos and their proto-punk, Susana Baca’s Afro-Peruvian rhythms, and the entire Discos Horóscopo chicha catalog, just to name a few.

To celebrate Peru’s independence this year, we asked Veltrac – a Lima-based company that promotes events and cultivates dialogue between international and local artists – to put together a 24-song playlist to showcasing the movements in the current Peruvian independent scene. According to Veltrac’s José Velázquez and Gino Ballón, the artists on their “Chicha Morada Mix” have something in common: “the freshness and flavor of the current Peruvian sound.” “We think that, similar to chicha morada, our flavor is unique. There’s a strong value in our diversity, in the ‘criollada’ that chases us, for better or worse, but especially in the music that comes from our ancestors, from the coasts, mountains, and rainforests. Even if it doesn’t sound like it, all of this is behind all of these new bands that are popping up today, even if the play genres that are more contemporary or alternative.”

“Chicha Morada Mix” is full of fresh music from a diverse array of Peruvian talents. There’s Deltatron and his spooky chicha number “Blankito,” as well as “GAZI,” by new R&B prince A.CHAL. Also included are Kanaku y El Tigre, Alejandro y María Laura, Tilsa, Dengue Dengue Dengue, who put their own spin on Peru’s folkloric sounds. On the electronic spectrum, the playlist takes different shapes; delicate (Dreams on Board), funky (Hunters of The Alps), club-friendly (Danny eM), or eccentric (Laikamorí). Elsewhere, indie rockers like Goma, Almirante Ackbar, and Tourista make it clear their genre is far from dead.

Raise your glasses full of pisco, and stream the playlist via Apple Music below.