Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
Best Jogging Trail

Best Jogging Trail

Best of 2013: 4/24/2013
Veg Out with Earth Burger

Veg Out with Earth Burger

Food & Drink: “Do you want cheese on that?” “Yeah, sure.” “Vegan or organic?” “Um, what? Where am I?” By Jessica Elizarraras 7/23/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Chicha Libre: psychedelic cumbia at the International Accordion Festival

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo



Related stories


The International Accordion Festival has never been this psychedelic: Chicha Libre, a Brooklyn-based band of musicians from France, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico, will debut in San Antonio on Sunday and could be the highlight of the festival.

“Chicha Libre is a lot of fun,” said Cathy Ragland, the festival’s curator. “They’re a great group but they’re really kind of ethnographers, music researchers who have discovered a tradition by listening to records that were popular in the ’60s and ’70s.”

That tradition is chicha (pronounced CHEE-cha), a form of forgotten psychedelic Peruvian cumbia from the ’60s and ’70s. My advice: get The Roots of Chicha 1 and 2 (historic compilations released in 2007 and 2012, respectively, by Barbès Records) and Chicha Libre’s own Canibalismo (2012). While you’re at it, check their 2013 cover of “The Guns of Brixton” on the Cuatro Tigres EP. If you’re not immediately hooked, there’s no hope for you.

“It’s chicha, but most importantly, it’s free, liberating music,” said Olivier Conan, who sings and plays the Venezuelan cuatro, a small, guitar-like instrument. A Parisian who fell in love with chicha in 2004 while vacationing in Lima, Peru, he decided to release The Roots of Chicha compilations on his label, and the albums’ success inspired him to form the band, which goes beyond the genre and has elements of Brazil’s tropicália and Afrobeat. “Chicha literally changed my life in a very surprising way, I had no idea all this was going to happen,” Conan said.

For their first SA performance ever, Chicha Libre’s keyboardist Joshua Campbell will play a MIDI accordion and percussionist Karina Colis (teaching in India) will be replaced by Venezuelan Pablo Bencid on timbales. Expect plenty of solos and a practical demonstration of why chicha is suddenly cool after being dismissed as “low-class” music during in its heyday, as was the case with so many Afro-Latin rhythms in the past. Ironically, the band’s distinctive sound (a mix of electric guitar picking and Farfisa-sounding keyboards) mimics that of a Hohner Electravox, an instrument originally manufactured for accordionists who couldn’t get gigs anymore and needed a groovier sound.

“The accordion was considered to be the most uncool instrument, and the same thing happened with chicha, but 50 years later the music’s suddenly cool,” said Conan. “And the reason it is cool is because the music is inherently cool. It has that vintage vibe from the ’70s that people really like, but in a live setting we really stretch it.”

Chicha Libre performs 8:30pm Sun at the Maverick Stage of La Villita

Recently in Music
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus