Rica Chicha de Bareto

One of my musical highlights of last year was catching Bareto at Tropical Pressure festival in Cornwall last year. Chicha music has been experiencing something of a renaissance over recent years. Originally from the oil towns of the Peruvian amazon it fused surf rock psychedelia sounds with Andean huayno melodies and latin percussion. It quickly spread to the coastal cities where most of the population of Peru live. Pure huayno of the Andean Quechua/ Aymara speaking highlands tends to be a slower tempo with a shuffling dance step that’s quite hard to master if you haven’t been brought up with it. The additional of rock elements and latin percussion turned Chicha into a more accessible dancefloor orientated version of Andean music. I don’t think I appreciated this fully till seeing Bareto live last summer. It was a joy to see a whole festival crowd of several hundred people who had probably for the most part never heard Chicha before, instantly getting it. Full respect to whoever organised the tour as well. We get to see a lot of african music in this country relatively speaking, but not enough contemporary latin music. It’s shocking for instance that Chilean veteran rockers Chico Trujillo recently played their first ever London gig. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more like this in future.

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