How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Peru Maravilloso: Vintage Latin, Tropical and Cumbia demonstrates what's best about the digital media revolution: It resurrects 15 singles released by homegrown Peruvian labels across the 1960s and '70s, two of the most vibrant musical decades in the history of Peru (and just about everywhere else). Compiled by label managers Duncan Ballantyne, Andres Tapia and Martin Morales, it presents the lively South American styles of cumbia and guaracha and more electric sounds of chicha with strains of music from the Caribbean and Cuba leaking through like radio static.
As you'd expect, this robust and hearty musical stew of Peruvian, Cuban, African, Spanish and Andean influences bounces all over the map to radiate a quirky and colorful charm. Several Maravilloso tracks open windows into not just the music but the mood of a different culture and time: "Salsa 73" (by Chango y su Conjunto), dynamic if not perfect salsa spiced with tongue-tingling trumpet; and "La Cumbia Del Pacurro" (Juaneco y su Combo), "Para Chachita" (Los Zheros) and the psychedelic and percussive tropical chicha "Bailando en la Campiña" (Los Orientales), each built upon the dominant instrument, all around the world, of 1960s and '70s popthe electric guitar.
"Piraña" (Pedro Miguel y sus Maracaibos) swirls together classic Cuban son montuno and tropical cumbia with trumpet so hot it snaps against the Afro-Cuban percussion and jangling electric guitar. Pop about the throes of mescaline, "Meshkalina" (Paco Zambrano y su Combo) is impossibly, irresistibly psychedelic '60s go-go in execution and production (with the chorus, "Let me die, meshkalina..."). Like The Adventures in Jazz Orchestra
swimming through an epic tequila bender, "El Chacarero" (Los Gatos Blancos) pours out more psychedelic 60s instrumental guitar pop.
In "Sueño de Amor" (Zulu), Miguel Orbegozo's theatrical lead vocal rolls like waves in and out of the piano's strong groove, and when acoustic guitars and horns jump in for its closing verse, the sound clearly changes to reflect Sergio Mendes
' Brasil '66, 1600 miles away in geography but close to its heart in spirit.
Each track was remastered from its original 7"/12" vinyl for Peru Maravilloso and is herewith presented for the first time since that single was originally issued in Peru.
Track Listing: Mambo de Machaguay; Salsa 73; La Cumbia Del Pacurro; Para Chachita; Piraña; Meshkalina; El Chacarero; Sueño de Amor; Bailando en la Campiña; Trinan las Golondrinas; Me Siento Felíz; Toro Mata; El Zambito Rumbero; La Gallina; Los Fabulosos en Onda.
Personnel: Lucho Neves y su Orchestra; Chango y su Conjunto; Juaneco y su Combo; Los Zheros; Pedro Miguel y sus Maracaibos; Paco Zambrano y su Combo; Los Gatos Blancos; Zulu; Los Orientales; John Benny y Los Ribereños; Los Ecos; Lucia de la Cruz; Manzanita y su Conjunto; Félix Martinez y sus Chavales; Aniceto y sus Fabulosos.