Weekly Mezcolanza: Oliver Conan

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A mixtape can be many things, but one thing is for sure, a mixtape is more than just random songs put in a particular order. It’s about recontextualizing sounds, giving them a new meaning (sometimes very different from the original) by setting them side by side, or juxtaposed in ingenious ways with others. Best thing about mixtapes, most of them are FREE (!), and they’re a great way to discover new music. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: Oliver Conan

MIXTAPE: Barbès Chicha Mix

Back in 2006, right before the whole ñu-cumbia became a worldwide hip phenomenon, this guy Oliver Conan started a record label in Brooklyn, NY, mainly to release Peruvian psychedelic cumbias from the ’60s and ’70s, a genre also known as Chicha.

Chicha was a very obscure genre outside of Peru, and even in its homeland it was looked down on for being originated in very poor areas of the country. But since Conan and his label Barbès Records released that first Roots Of Chicha compilation over five years ago a chicha fever of sorts has been unleashed and many prominent DJ’s, both sides of the Atlantic, have picked up this characteristic guitar-driven rhythm and added it to their sets.

Now to celebrate the release of Roots Of Chicha (Volumes I & II combined) on vinyl LPs for the first time, Oliver made this 30 minute mix of chicha classics, including many of the tracks from their release and also a few secret gems. To smooth out the rough transitions, he added some priceless radio announcements by chicha pioneer and cult figure Ranil. And there you have it, half an hour of chichadelic madness.

Barbes Chicha mix tape by Barbes Records