Chicha Libre is a bona-fide phenomenon.
Like what L.A.s own Very Be Careful has been doing with vallenato and cumbia, Chicha Libre is mining an awesome and particular sound that existed in a vacuum until fairly recently; Chicha.
A Peruvian psychedelic sound that combines traditional Latin rhythms and melodies with a loping country twang and off-kilter surf vibes, Chicha (the genre) is named after a pre-colombian corn-based liquor that I like to imagine was probably 20x more blinding that moonshine.
A number of years back, Brooklyn-based label Barbés released a mindbending compilation that I LITERALLY never leave home without, “The Roots of Chicha“. And that compilation, put together by one of the members of Chicha Libre is a great primer for what these dudes are doing. And when you listen to their “Sonido Amazonico” alongside jams written by classic Chicha bands like Los Destellos and Manzanita…you realize how brilliant these cats are.
— Mario Cotto