Juaneco y su Combo
The Birth of Jungle Cumbia (The Vital Record, 2013)
The music of pioneering Peruvian band Juaneco y su Combo sees the light again with the recent release of their album The Birth of Jungle Cumbia. The band from Pucallpa in Peru’s jungle area was active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, performing psychedelic tropical music known as chicha that featured twangy electric guitars, Farfisa organ and cumbia rhythms, also known as jungle cumbia.
A catastrophic 1977 airplane crash killed more than half of the band. Juaneco y su Combo’s early recordings were made for the Lima-based IEMPSA label in 1970 and 1972. These early recordings, never before released internationally, were the foundation of The Birth of Jungle Cumbia.
The Birth of Jungle Cumbia contains 18 tracks extracted from a full-length LP and several singles all recorded in the early 1970s. “This album was never really heard by most Peruvians,” says Vital Record label manager David Aglow. “This is, more than anything, a lost album. It was probably too raw for people outside the jungle at that time. In our opinion, that’s what makes it sound so good to us now.”
The Birth of Jungle Cumbia is a noteworthy historical record that will appeal to chicha fans.