There’s a bit in the video for Bareto new single “La Voz del Sinchi” that brings to mind Michael Jackson’s “Black or White.” You remember the part where the audience is treated to a relentlessly beaming palette of feelgood multiculturalism, as the rotund gentleman of oriental appearance becomes the young black woman who morphs into the redhead who sprouts dreadlocks and a beard and so on, all to a soundtrack of “It’s black, it’s white, it’s blah, blah, blah, yeah, yeah, yeah”? The Bareto video takes this concept but replaces the human element with big cats, providing an anatomical lesson in the facial structure of lions, leopards, pumas, and the like. Meanwhile, dragonfish and anacondas interweave with one another, while trees dance gracefully in the background and tribesmen peer through the undergrowth. Oh yeah, and it’s in space. It could only be chicha.
I’ve always thought of chicha as the soundtrack to Tarantino films if Quentin’s stomping ground had been Lima rather than LA. The highly distinctive Peruvian style which merges Afro-cumbia rhythms with Californian surf guitar and no small dose of ayahuasca-tainted hallucinogens has made a storming return in recent times. Taken from a still-untitled album to be released in early 2015, “La Voz del Sinchi” is inspired by a character from the Mario Vargas Llosa novel “Captain Pantoja and the Special Service,” and reconfirms Bareto’s prominence in the modern chicha movement.
Having formed in Lima in 2003, the upcoming album will be Bareto’s third, and again draws inspiration from ’60s and ’70s chicha luminaries such as Juaneco y Su Combo and Teo Laura Amao. The band will no doubt be hoping to repeat the success of 2012’s Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy and gained them a wave of new admirers.
While you wait patiently for the new album to drop, “La Voz de Sinchi” is available as a free download via the group’s website. This is one to get lost in.