Artist Profiles: Chichí Peralta

Chichí Peralta

Chichí Peralta is a talented musician from the Dominican Republic He is a master percussionist and brilliant at fusing tropical rhythms. In his recordings, Peralta combines diverse rhythms and styles like jazz, merengue, guaguancó and even Dominican bachata and vallenato.

The tall Caribbean percussionist was born July 9 of 1966 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His birth name is Pedro René Peralta, but everybody calls him Chichí and he likes to emphasize that the last i should be accented because Chichi plainly written doesn’t sound very good in Spanish.

His musical career began at the age of 4, when he built his first instrument, a tambora. Peralta’s main professional work was as percussionist of the renowned group 4-40, led by Juan Luis Guerra. For eight years, Chichí Peralta performed in front of thousand of people throughout the world.

His first solo CD, Pa’ Otro La’o, was released in 1997. Peralta was in charge of most of the production work. Without a doubt Chichí Peralta has proven to be one of the musicians and producers with a better sense of musical globalization, and on his second solo recording, De Vuelta al Barrio, he was able to perfect sounds, maturing, finding himself, evolving and fusing ‘son’ with jazz, merengue with guaguancó, pop music with African rhythms, bachata with Brazilian rhythms, plena with salsa, vallenato, Arabic rhythms with those of Africa and India.

On De Vuelta al Barrio, Chichí Peralta didn’t waste any time nor effort, spending inexhaustible hours of arduous work doing research, compiling and composing. All this led to a recording with the London Symphony at Abbey Road Studios, in Paris with the choirs of Luz Africa Light, with the special participation of Henri Dikongue, in United States to mix and in his own studio, Sterling Audio, in the Dominican Republic. The main vocals are by Cesar Olarte and Rene Geraldino.

When asked the meaning of Vuelta al Barrio, Chichí indicated: “It is a re-encounter with our roots, making reference to our place, to the place that we left, to our barrio (neighborhood), and without wanting to seem too local, how would the barrio of the Dominican Republic be, or Colombia’s, or Puerto Rico’s, it is rather the barrio of the world. To me, there is only one barrio that is divided by several languages and music has the purpose of uniting it, of intertwining it. Who in their own history in the barrio has not fallen in love?. Who hasn’t seen disappointment? A humorous history or those beautiful memories? The return to the barrio for me is something very emotional, it is a nostalgia of mine, very personal. To me it has been one of the places where I’ve had the best time.”

Discography

Pa’ Otro La’o (Caiman Music, 1997)
De Vuelta al Barrio (Caiman Music, 2000)
Más Que Suficiente (Universal Music Latino, 2005)
De Aquel La’o del Río (789 Music, 2009)
De Que Viene, Viene (789 Music, 2012)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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