Olivier Conan (a Frenchman living in Brooklyn), his indie label (Barbès), and his band (Chicha Libre) are pretty much responsible for introducing Peruvian psychedelic cumbia from the ’70s (otherwise known as chicha) to a whole new audience. Chicha was very popular in Peru and its neighbor countries (mainly amongst the working classes) during its time, but was later replaced with new trends, new sounds, and new influences. Nowadays, very few would remember of its existence if it wasn’t for record diggers and collectors like Conan who a few years ago — with the compilation Roots of Chicha — unleashed something of a chicha-fever in the northern hemisphere with worldwide repercussions.
Unsatisfied with simply re-releasing these old school funky Peruvian cumbias in their original form, Conan also started a band, Chicha Libre, that went from paying tribute to the genre’s legends (Los Destellos, Los Mirlos, Juaneco) to ultimately absorbing the essence of their greatness and channeling it through their own original compositions. This becomes more evident than ever on their second album, appropriately named Canibalismo, to be released worldwide tomorrow (May 8th).
Chicha Libre offers some of the funkiest chichas ever recorded since the genre’s apogee — adding the current sensibilities of modern cosmopolitan Brooklynites and the sound quality of new recording technology unavailable back then.
Here’s a free sample of the new album’s heavy artillery which you can get for FREE from Remezcla for a limited time, but I strongly suggest you get the rest from iTunes tomorrow.
[audio-player aws_file=”01 La Plata (En Mi Carrito De Lata).mp3″ aws_name=”Chicha Libre – La Plata (en mi carrito de lata)”]