Tag Archives: Peruvian music

Chicha, The Psychedelic cumbia of Peru

Chicha pioneers Los Mirlos

In 1960s Peru, a new style of music was born: Peruvian cumbia, also known as “chicha”. Tropical genres such as Dominican merengue, Cuban guaracha and rumba, and Colombian cumbia mixed with 1960s psychedelic rock, while electric guitars reinterpreted folk melodies and traditions from the Andes and the Amazonian jungle, in a musical representation of the exodus from rural areas to Lima and other big cities in Peru.

La Sonora de Lucho Macedo

The roots of chicha go back to mid-1950s Peru. Mambo was gradually replaced by preferences for other rhythms like merengue, guaguancó, cha cha cha, joropo, guaracha, rumba and cumbia, which timidly started to sound during these years. In Lima, it was the golden age of great orchestras and music ensembles which were capable of playing swing and jazz, but especially the diverse tropical variants flooding the market. The most successful of all, La Sonora de Lucho Macedo, released in 1965 an LP consisting exclusively of cumbia.

Los Pacharacos

Around this time, the successful folklore group Los Pacharacos released the album “Los ídolos del pueblo”, which included a cumbia song in the middle of the medley of huaynos, waltzes and polkas. The marriage between folklore and cumbia had taken place.

Peruvian groups preserved the fusion of foxtrot and mambo rhythms along with huayno and cumbia in their music. That feeling would be the basis for the success of such unorthodox and unclassifiable songs as ‘La chichera’ or ‘Petipan’. The recording in 1965 of these two songs by Los Demonios del Mantaro on a seminal 45 rpm for the Sono Radio label was the jumping off point for the birth of cumbia andina, also called “chicha” precisely for this song, which is dedicated to a vendor of the well-known Andean beverage.

Los Shapis holding glasses of chicha

The electric shock of rock guitars entered the world of cumbia in 1968. The cause of such hybridization was Enrique Delgado Montes, regarded as the genre’s godfather. He did it, as part of his band Los Destellos, on a 45 r.p.m. (‘El avispón’ / ‘La malvada’) and an eponymous LP. His songs constituted the most surprising musical fusions and amalgams of the time: whether they merged Cuban music and psychedelia, explored the sounds of the Andes or Amazonian music, combined the amplified Creole guitar with huayno melodies or abused fuzz tones and distortion pedals with enormous strength.

Los Destellos

The metamorphosis of cumbia turned it into a genre that seemed to voraciously cannibalize acoustic traditions and modern technologies. There wasn’t an innovation that tropical guitarists didn’t add to their sound: delay, fuzz tone, overdrive, wah-wah, reverb, modulating effects typical of rock bands were assimilated into a stunning sonic cocktail.

In this context, cumbia reached the top of the charts in popularity. Cumbia replaced rock as the urban sound. The groups would slowly develop an ethnic sensibility inspired by native Shipibo (indigenous Amazonian tribe) motifs and an astonishing and bewitching sound that seemed to drink from all the mysteries, secrets and myths of the jungle.

Groups such as Los Hijos del Sol, Los Shapis, Los Mirlos and Los Destellos popularized chicha during the 1970s and 1980s. Although Colombian cumbia had a revival during the 1990s, chicha faded away until recently, when record collectors found Peruvian LPs that featured the familiar chicha formula, a mix of surf, psychedelia, Andean music and Afro-Caribbean beats.

Sonido Amazónico – Amazonian Chicha

In 2007, American record label Barbès Records released a 17-song compilation of psychedelic cumbia from Peru. That album, The Roots of Chicha, re-introduced chicha music to international audiences.

Los Wembler’s de Iquitos

Peruvian band Los Wembler’s de Iquitos, who formed in 1968 in the Amazonian city of Iquitos, was responsible for some of the first hits of the psychedelic cumbia genre – including “Sonido Amazonico” and “Danza del Petrolero.” Los Wembler’s became extensively popular in the Peruvian Amazon and for a dozen years they toured the region, with ventures into neighboring Brazil and Colombia. In the mid-1980’s, however, touring mostly came to a stop and the band remained in Iquitos, playing mostly parties and local events.

Los Wembler’s De Iquitos discography includes Al Ritmo De Los Wembler’s ‎(Odeon Del Peru, 1971); La Danza del Petrolero (Decibel, 1975), La Amenaza Verde ‎(Decibel, 1975), El Encanto de la Selva ‎(Decibel, 1976), Carapira ‎(Decibel, 1976), Fiesta en la Selva ‎(Sono Radio, 1977), Bailando Hasta el Amanecer ‎(Sono Radio, 1978), Fiebre en la Selva ‎(Sono Radio, 1978), El Sabor Tropical ‎(Sono Radio, 1979), Estos Son…Los Famosos Wembler’s de Iquitos ‎(Sono Radio, 1980), and Ikaro del Amor (Barbes Records, 2017).

With the rediscovery of chicha, there was renewed interest in Los Wembler’s, both in and outside of Peru. Los Wembler’s collaborated with Peruvian electro cumbia group Dengue Dengue Dengue, have been covered by Chicha Libre, La Chamba, Xixa and Firewater, been part of a number of documentaries and TV shows and inspired new bands across the Americas and Europe.

In 2010, The Roots of Chicha 2 was released, highlighting 11 bands and 16 tracks recorded from 1968 to 1981. It focuses on some lesser-known bands, and broadened its view to include some of the early Cuban-influenced groups that would play such a crucial role in the elaboration of the chicha sound. It introduced some of the later bands, such as Los Shapis, who played in the more Andean style that would eventually define chicha.

The Roots of Chicha 2 included essential chicha acts such as Grupo Celeste, which had a tremendous influence on the emergence of Mexican cumbia; Chacalon, the legendary “bad boy” of chicha; Ranil, the independent folk hero from Iquito; Manzanita; and Los Destellos, whose had a seminal role in the evolution of chicha.

Secret Stash Records reissued Los Destellos’ album Constelación in 2011.

Chicha Spinoffs

Chicha Libre

In the United States, a band called Chicha Libre, gained notoriety with its mix of chicha, Latin rhythms and surf.

La Inédita

Peruvian band La Inédita, formed in 2010, created a new genre called chichamuffin, a mix of chicha with Jamaican beats, rock and electronica.


American band Xixa, from Tucson (Arizona), combined chicha with psychedelic rock and border music. Xixa’s debut EP, Shift and Shadow , came out in 2015 on Barbès Records.

Members of Austin’s Grupo Fantasma and Brownout formed
Money Chicha. Their debut album, Echo En Mexico , came out in the United States in 2016 on the Vampisoul label.

Los Wembler’s returned in 2019 with Visión del Ayahuasca (Barbes Records).

Chicha Recordings

The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru ( Barbès Records, 2007)
Masters of Chicha 1 – Juaneco y Su Combo ( Barbès Records, 2007)
Chicha Libre – Sonido Amazonico! ( Barbès Records, 2008)
Cumbia Beat Vol. 1, Experimental Guitar-driven Tropical Sounds from Peru 1966-1976 (Vampisoul, 2010)
Chicha Libre – Canibalismo ( Barbès Records, 2012)
Xixa – Shift and Shadow ( Barbès Records, 2015)
Money Chicha – Echo En Mexico (Vampisoul, 2016)
Los Wembler’s De Iquitos – Visión del Ayahuasca (Barbès Records, 2019)

Sources: Vampisoul, Angel Romero (World Music Central), Manuel Carrasco and Barbes Records.


Chicha and Ayahuasca Visions

Los Wembler’s de Iquitos – Visión del Ayahuasca

Los Wembler’s de Iquitos – Visión del Ayahuasca (Barbès Records, 2019)

Veteran Peruvian band Los Wembler’s de Iquitos is still active 50 years after its creation. Los Wembler’s is an iconic chicha band that makes slow-paced Peruvian Amazonian (sonido amazónico) psychedelic cumbia full of creative electric guitar melodies, effects and surf influences.

The album’s title connects with the psychedelic nature of Los Wembler’s: Ayahuasca is an indigenous Amazonian hallucinogenic brew used in traditional medicine that is becoming popular in the United States and other countries because of its alleged healing benefits and psychoactive properties.

Los Wembler’s de Iquitos will be touring North America in 2019:

09/10 Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA
09/11 Zebulon, Los Angeles, CA
09/14 Chicago World Music Festival, Millenium Park, Chicago, IL
09/15 Pandemic Dance Party, Pittsburgh, PA
09/16 Songbyrd, Washington, DC
09/17 Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA
09/18 World Music Collider, Northampton, MA
09/19 Nuits d’Afrique Festival. Théâtre Fairmount, Montreal, QC
09/20 BSP, Kingstson, NY
09/21 The State House, New Haven, CT
09/23 Le Poisson Rouge, NYC


Artist profiles: Miryam Quiñones

Miryam Quiñones

Miryam Quiñones is a committed transmitter of contemporary Peruvian songwriting and is today one of the most recognized new voices in Peruvian music. She has traveled to 21 countries with her songs.

Her album Con el Alma en Vilo (Argentina, 2013) features special guests Silvio Rodríguez, Vicente Feliú, Augusto Blanca, Teresa Parodi, Alberto Rojo and Jorge Fandermole.

In 2015 she received the Ibermúsicas Award, and in 2016 the Argentine Cultural Development Fund Award.

The album Las flores buenas de Javier, a duo with Vicente Feliú is a tribute to Peruvian poet Javier Heraud.

In 2017, Miryam received a distinction for her ‘Excellent Cultural Work’, awarded by the Congress of the Republic of Peru.

Miryam currently lives in Madrid, Spain.


Miryam Quiñones canta a Silvio Rodríguez (2001)
Miryam Quiñones en vivo I (2002)
Miryam Quiñones en vivo II (2004)
Eternamente Chabuca (2012)
Con el Alma en Vilo (2013)
De Amor y Trova… (2013)
Las flores buenas de Javier, with Vicente Feliú (2015)


Artist profiles: Chabuca Granda

Chabuca Granda

María Isabel Granda Larco, better known as Chabuca Granda, was born in Apurímac (Peru), on September 3, 1920. She was the daughter of Mr. Eduardo Granda San Bartolomé, a Lima mining engineer, and Mrs. Isabel Larco de Granda. At 3, Chabuca moved to Lima. From an early age, she showed her musical talent.

Chabuca broke the conventional rhythmic structure of the Peruvian waltz, and her melodies alternated the new language she proposed with that of the old saloon waltzes. Her productions also revealed a close relationship between lyrics and melody, which varied over time towards an increasingly synthetic poetic tendency.

Her fame as a composer reached national level in 1953, with her song ‘La flor de la canela’ (The Cinnamon Flower), inspired by Victoria Angulo, an Afro-Peruvian lady whose grace she praised. This composition became the representative song of Peruvian music.

Chabuca Granda

Chabuca’s voice and her extensive work went beyond the borders of her country. Her lyrics have been sung by performers from all over the world, who have seen in her compositions a fine and sensitive expression of Peruvian music.

Chabuca died on March 8, 1983 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Selected discography:

Dialogando, with Oscar Avilés (Odeon del Perú, 1967)
Voz y vena de Chabuca Granda (Sono Radio, 1968)
Grande De América (RCA International, 1973)
Paso de Vencedores ‎(Sono Radio, 1974)
Tarimba Negra, with Nicómedes Santa Cruz (Movieplay, 1978)
Cada Canción con su Razón (EMI, 1981)
La Voz del Peru (Pampa, 1990)
Señora y dueña (Nuevos Medios, 2002)
Platinum Collection (2013)


Memorable Concert by Peruvian Legend Susana Baca at Carolina Theater

Susana Baca

Acclaimed Peruvian singer Susana Baca gave a remarkable concert at the Carolina Theater in Durham, North Carolina. The show was presented jointly by the Carolina Theater and Duke Performances.

Susana Baca was introduced as a living legend by Eric Oberstein, interim director at Duke Performances. Indeed, Susana Baca is one of the most significant and influential artists in recent Peruvian roots music history: famed singer-songwriter, ethnomusicologist, educator, and winner of two Latin Grammy Awards. 

The world music star performed a set of Afro-Peruvian classics, poetic songs by well-known Peruvian poets, and two songs celebrating the music of Argentina and Puerto Rico. At 74, she still charms audiences with her charisma and graceful dances on stage.

The band was an outstanding acoustic trio: piano maestro Hector Enrique Purizaga Aguirre; virtuoso bassist Alvin Oscar Huaranga Huaranga; and the versatile Hugo Rolando Bravo Sanchez on cajon, drums and other percussion instruments. Susana invited an excellent Juilliard-trained violinist and Duke University educator named Jennifer Curtis to collaborate on one song. To find out more about Susana Baca, read her biography.

Special thanks to Jeff Doyle at Maria Matias Music and Greg Landau for their assistance to World Music Central.


Artist Profiles: Tania Libertad

Tania Libertad

Tania Libertad de Souza Zuñiga was born in the small coastal town town of Zana in northern Peru, of a Portuguese father and a Peruvian mother of indigenous and Spanish descent. Her musical travels have taken her to Cuba and to Mexico, which she now calls home. She made her first public appearance as a singer at the age of 5 in Chiclayo, Peru, cheered on by her nurse mother and policeman father, performing the beautiful bolero “La Historia de un Amor.” “I started to sing to at the age of five, performing songs in the vals (Peruvian waltz) style and boleros – Latin ballads – both accompanied by the cajon (a Peruvian percussion instrument that was developed from fish boxes).”

African influence was present along Peru’s Costa Negra (Black Coast), among the descendants of slaves brought there four centuries ago, through other Peruvians and the rest of the world paid little attention to it. Though she’s not black herself, Tania was raised there. “I was nurtured in the coastal area, so my contact with Afro-Peruvian music started right at the beginning of my life,” she recalls. Tania remembers that, “All the music of that area had very strong elements of African instrumentation and melodies, and I always had contact with the black musicians from the towns.”

Young Tania also came under the influence of boleros, romantic ballads with creators in Cuba, Mexico, Panama and across Hispanic America. Tania copied lyrics from the radio at home, with the cooperation of her mother, who phoned in multiple requests (using different family names) from her workplace. By the age of eight, Tania had 300 boleros in her repertoire. “There were two important kinds of music to me, bolero and rock,” she says, “because they’ll both be with us forever. The bolero is an excellent genre to express all bad and good situations of love. Even when I was eight I would sing dramatic stories, a funny thing in a child, but I was always interested to sow deep emotions.”

When she moved to the capital city of Lima as a teenager, to pursue a career in music, Tania began to cultivate friendships with a strong community of composers and performers who were deeply involved with Black music. “At that time,” she recalls of the 1970s, “the nationalistic government encouraged the growth of Peruvian culture, and even established an Afro-Peruvian Ballet company.”

Her father, who had impelled his daughter to serenade his mistresses, became her manager when she was in her early teens, and accompanied her through her first contract with RCA Victor and her first national hit, but then insisted that she get an engineering degree. As soon as possible, Tania began acquainting herself with urban pe?as (nightclubs), but she felt uncomfortable with the racism and sexism she encountered there.

She moved on to the sort of protest music germinating out of the casas de trova of Chile and Cuba, and sang in universities and union halls alongside such legends as Victor Jara and Omar Portuondo. In 1978, Tania decided to seek out the fabled musical opportunities of Mexico. Penniless on her arrival, she eventually landed a contract with Polygram from whom she mixed sessions of trova, black Peruvian music, salsa and bolero.

Over the next couple of decades, Tania established her place as a titan of bolero from her adopted Mexican homeland, sharing stage with the likes of Rub?n Blades and Mercedes Sosa. She recorded an amazing variety of duets with Hispanic and Brazilian greats Miguel Bose, Willie Colon, Djavan, Vicente Fernandez, Ivan Lins and Cesar Camargo Mariano. But she also toured extensively in Europe and the Americas, recording a rock-bolero album with Phil Manzanera in London and a live album at the Blue Note jazz club in New York City. In New York, encouraged by a producer friend Joseph Papp, she performed in Central Park. And in 1997, she was declared an Artist for Peace by UNESCO.

Always eager for exploration, Tania surprised her fans recently with an album of operatic arias, whose subtitle translates as, And Why Not? But her heart kept turning towards an important source of her identity in the variety of black musical style of Peru. In the music of Cesaria Evora, from the islands off the west coast of Africa, Tania heard hints of the roots of black Peru. It was with Jose da Silva, Evora’s producer, that Tania finally found a guide back to the Costa Negra.

I could compare what happened with black music after 500 years with my Peruvian roots,” Tania reported about her experience in making Costa Negra. “And when I showed songs to African musicians from Cameroon, Senegal, Madagascar, Cape Verde and Paris, all of them felt the Peruvian rhythms in a very natural way. It was an easy connection for me.” Much easier than when Tania’s repertoire had stumped a pickup band of jazz luminaries at the Festival Miami Beach.

I’ve learned in all the countries I traveled through that Latin America is one, that we all have the same parents, so it’s easy to adapt other kinds of songs to Peruvian rhythms,” Tania pointed out.

On Costa Negra, there’s the Argentine song “Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazon” and the Cuban “Ay vida mia,” reborn as landos, with a highly sensual rhythm traceable to Angola. The signature “Historia de un amore,” Panamanian in origin, is changed to a lamento peruano, darker and slower, while “Poderoso rey de copas” is a more light-hearted marinera. Richly arranged, instrumental and choral textures place these folk-based form in a sophisticated array. The heartfelt bolero “Historia de un amor,” on the album Costa Negra, resonates across the four-decade scope of singer Tania Libertad’s career.

On Costa Negra, Tania was joined in another rendition of “Historia de un amore” by Cape Verdean diva Cesaria Evora. Thiss recording, made in Paris and Senegal, incorporates African musicians from Madagascar to Cape Verde, as well as musicians from Peru, Mexico and Cuba. Tania feels she had reunited with “the roots onto only of black music but of all Latin American music.”

There is, Tania pointed out, a very special kind of dialogue between musicians, singers, and those who dance to the rhythms. “There are only about 15,000 Afro-Peruvian families in the country, but their cultural influence is very strong,” she added. “Not only the music of these coastal people is special; many of their customs are also distinct.”

For many years,” Tania explains, “the music was performed mostly out of sight, behind closed doors in close-knit Afro-Peruvian communities. Peruvian high society considered the music profane. But then, about 70 years ago, the rhythms began to emerge, style by style, and eventually grew into the popular form it is today. Now it is widely embraced as a music that’s emblematic of the best of Peruvian culture.”

In 2004 she released another Afro-Peruvian recording, the eclectic Negro Color. “I am not a folklorist,” she said without apology. “Negro Color is my latest experiment. Costa Negra saw the return of an acoustic style. But I don’t like to record an album that sounds like something else I’ve done. All of my albums are different. In Negro Color, we didn’t use any samples or synthesizers. But as all the world sings boleros, so I decided to do boleros, but with other rhythms, not the standard form. For instance, on the Armando Manzanero song “Por debajo de la mesa,” we used the lando rhythm. It’s a beautiful song, and it gains a lot by being performed to the lando style.”

Negro Color is a collaboration among my music director, my guitarist, and myself,” Tania explained of the special synthesis of talent that came together to produce this album. The guitarist, Felix Casaverde, performed with Chabuca Granda in Peru years ago, but arrived to Mexico with Libertad in 1980. With Cuban-born pianist and music director Sonia Cornuchet, Tania had a special collaborator. “We’re searching,” she said, “for the point that links Cuban and Peruvian music.”

But it is the Afro-Peruvian sound that dominates Negro Color, even when Tania sings in Portuguese with Brazilian vocalist Eder da Rosa the poignant Chico Buarque song “Funeral del Labrador” (Funeral of the Laborer). “Afro-Peruvian music is more sensual than the African-derived music of other countries,” Tania explains. “Rhythms like lando create a very special air – a unique quality – that doesn’t exist in the Black styles of Colombia, Central America, Puerto Rico or Cuba.”


Con La Orquesta De Andres De Colbert ‎(RCA, 1968
Mejor Que Nunca ‎(RCA Victor, 1969
Soy Peruana ‎(RCA Victor, 1970
Despertar ‎(Virrey, 1971
En Primer Plano ‎(Virrey, 1972
La Contamanina ‎(Virrey, 1973
Concierto En La Voz De Tania Libertad ‎(Virrey, 1974
La Dulce Voz De: ‎(Virrey, 1974
Alguien Cantando Philips, 1982
Como Una Campana (De Cristal) ‎(Philips, 1984
Me Voy Pa’la Pachanga ‎(Philips, 1986
Nuevamente… Boleros Mercurio, 1987
TrovaTrovadiccion ‎(NGS, 1987
Alfonsina y El Mar (CBS, 1989)
Mexico Lindo y Querido (Columbia, 1989)
Razón De Vivir (CBS, 1989)
Mucho Corazón (CBS, 1989)
Canta A José Alfredo Jiménez (CBS, 1990)
Boleros de Hoy (Columbia, 1991)
Africa En America ‎(Sony Music, 1995)
Amar Amando ‎(Sony Music, 1995)
Himno Al Amor ‎(Dende Records, 1997)
Armando La Libertad ‎(Azteca Music, 1998)
La Libertad De Manzareno ‎(Columbia, 1998)
Costa Negra (Lusafrica, 2001)
Negro Color (Lusafrica, 2004)
Arias De Opera – ¿Y… Por Qué No? ‎(Telmex, 2010)


Artist Profiles: Eva Ayllón

Eva Ayllon – Photo by Milena Carranza

One of the most important interpreters of Peruvian music, Eva Ayllón began singing at the age of three, under her grandmother’s tutelage. Within a few years she was singing at youth competitions and on television and radio. During that time, she also developed herself as a leading exponent of “musica criolla.”

Her Peruvian discography counts more than 20 albums, and she has received more than 8 awards in Peru.

In 1989 she formed, Los Hijos del Sol, together with Alex Acuña. The group represents an all-star cast of Peruvian musicians, reunited with the purpose of refreshing and promoting Peruvian music for the world. The musicians came together in 1989 to record a project that draws on traditional Peruvian genres – known popularly as “m?sica criolla” – developing them in a context of more sophisticated arrangements and unconventional instrumentation. The project lasted for several years, as Peruvian musicians from all corners of the world returned to Peru periodically to perform and record, and created tremendous influence on the music scene in Peru. The original recordings and the subsequent live performances of Los Hijos del Sol established a landmark in the history of Peruvian music.

As a solo artists, Ayllón focuses on the elegant and lively genres of the coastal plains of Lima in particular. She is known for singing the land?o the festejo, and the vals; all mestizo blends of Peru’s indigenous, African, and Spanish musical heritage. Call-and-response, complex syncopation, and polyrhythms combine with sweet, melancholic melodies to create a sound unique to Peru’s diverse ancestry.

Eva Ayllon moved to the United States in December. She started a new life in New Jersey with her husband and two children. Peru South America


Los Kipus Con Eva Ayllón (Odeon Del Peru, 1977)
Esta Noche… (Sono Radio, 1979)
Al Ritmo De… (Sono Radio, 1980)
Señoras Y Señores… (Sono Radio, 1981)
Cuando Hacemos El Amor (Sono Radio, 1982)
Eva Ayllon (CBS Discos Del Peru, 1983)
Ritmo Negroide Al Estilo De… (Sono Radio, 1984)
Eva Ayllón en Escena (CBS Discos, 1984)
Para Mi Gente (CBS Discos Del Peru, 1985)
Para Todos (CBS Discos Del Peru, 1986)
Huellas (CBS Discos Del Peru, 1987)
Gracias A La Vida (Discos Independientes, 1993)
Para Tenerte (Discos Independientes, 1994)
Ritmo Color y Sabor (Discos Independientes, 1996)
To My Country – Contemporary Peruvian Music (Nido, 2002)
Eva! Leyenda Peruana (Times Square Records, 2004)
Kimba, Fa, Malambo, Neque (Play Music & Video, 2009)
40 Years Of Afro Peruvian Classics (2010)
Celebra 40 Años Enamorada Del Perú (11y6 Discos, 2010)
Eva Ayllón + Inti Illimani Histórico (SURA, 2012)
Mujeres Con Cajones – Live At Miami-Dade County Auditorium (Angels’ Dawn Records, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Alex Acuña

Alex Acuña at the 2015 Folklife Festival. Photo by Josh Weilepp, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

Born in Pativilca, Peru, 100 miles north of Lima, Alejandro Neciosup Acuña, better known as Alex Acuña was born into a musical family that inspired him and helped shape him as a musician. His father and five brothers were all musicians. Alex taught himself how to play the drums from the age of four. By the time Alex turned ten, he was already playing in local bands. As a teenager, he moved to Lima and became one of Peru’s most accomplished session drummers, performing on many recording projects for artists, as well as film and television productions. At 18, he joined the great Perez Prado’s big band. He later played with such diverse greats as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, until he joined Weather Report in the ’70s.

Since moving to Los Angeles in 1978, he has recorded with countless artists, including Joni Mitchell, Whitney Houston and Chick Corea.

In 2000, Alex Acuña was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Traditional Tropical Latin” category for his album, “Alex Acuña y Su Acuarela de Tambores – Rhythms for a New Millenium.” His South American roots, long-time association with Caribbean genres, and his deep understanding of all genres of contemporary music have made him one of the most accomplished and well-rounded musicians on the scene today.

In 1989 she formed, Los Hijos del Sol, together with Eva Ayllón. The group represents an all-star cast of Peruvian musicians, reunited with the purpose of refreshing and promoting Peruvian music for the world. The musicians came together in 1989 to record a project that draws on traditional Peruvian genres – known popularly as “musica criolla” – developing them in a context of more sophisticated arrangements and unconventional instrumentation. The project lasted for several years, as Peruvian musicians from all corners of the world returned to Peru periodically to perform and record, and created tremendous impact on the music scene in Peru. The original recordings and the subsequent live performances of Los Hijos del Sol established a landmark in the history of Peruvian music.

In 2002, Acuña released Los Hijos del Sol’s debut CD, To My Country. It explores the entire spectrum of genres and sounds from Peru. The work includes traditional Peruvian rhythms such as festejos, valses, landos, huaynos, and even such popular styles as salsa and Latin jazz.


Straight Ahead (Pa’lante) ‎(Discovery Records, 1980)
Another Time, Another Place (Pausa Records, 1984)
Thinking Of You (Invitation, 1990)
The Juggler ‎(Swinging Banana Records, 1995)
Rumbero’s Poetry ‎(Elephant, 1999)
Acuarela De Tambores – Top Percussion (Rhythms For A New Millennium) (DCC Compact Classics, 2000)
Isla Negra ‎(Crecycle Music, 2000)
To My Country (Contemporary Peruvian Music) ‎(Nido, 2002)
Bongó De Van Gogh ‎(Tonga Productions, 2002)
No accent (Nido, 2005)
Brown Street (Intuition Records, 2006)
Jungle City ‎(Alessa Records, 2009)
¡Ritmo! ‎(Clavo Records, 2011)
Barxeta ‎(Losen Records, 2012)


Artist Profiles: Cesar Peredo

Cesar Peredo
Peruvian flutist and composer Cesar Peredo studied flute at the National Conservatory of Lima. Peredo continued his studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany, under the tutelage of Michael Achilles, who was a student of Hans Peter Schmitz (principal soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). He later studied privately in Los Angeles, California, with Arthur Hobermann, one of the most popular flutists in the Hollywood area.

At the same time he was studying in Europe, he attended master classes and courses with renowned soloists such as Paul Meisen, Hans Peter Schmitz, Maxence Larrieu, Andreas Blau, William Bennett,and others.

After returning to Peru, he studied composition with Celso Garrido Lecca and Enrique Iturriaga. In 2001, he won an honorable mention in a composition contest organized by the American Flute Association.

He has performed and/or recorded popular music with renowned Peruvian and international artists such as Placido Domingo, Zamphir, Joan Manuel Serrat, Juan Diego Florez, Pedro Aznar, Fito Paez, Tania Libertad, Gian Marco, Alex Acuña, Eva Ayll?n, Cecilia Barraza, Pepe Vasquez, Dave Valentin, Nestor Torres, Orlando “Maraca” Valle and others.

He participated on the Jolgorio CD of Peru Negro, which was nominated for a Grammy award in 2004 and 2005.

As a classical music soloist, he has performed with all Peruvian orchestras, interpreting concerts for flute and orchestra, some of which had never been performed before in Peru.

As a jazz and world music flutist he has recorded with the most important Peruvian artists.

For 10 years, he was principal soloist with the Lima Philharmonic Orchestra.

Currently, he is principal soloist with the Prolirica Symphony Orchestra (Peru) and conductor of the group “Los de adentro” (jazz & world music with Peruvian roots).


Despertando (Adagio, 1999)
Pensamento (Adagio, 2000)
Cosas de Negros (Adagio, 2004)
A Felicidade en Vivo (Adagio, 2007)


Artist Profiles: Ciro Hurtado

Ciro Hurtado

Ciro Hurtado is a guitarist-composer from Peru who has been actively performing since the early 1970s. His early musical career started during his high school years in Lima, performing in music festivals, theater recitals, weddings, birthdays and even funerals. At this time, Lima was experiencing a revival of traditional music, while the radio air waves were saturated with rock music. These two forces are the major influences in his musical style.

He arrived to the USA in 1975 where he studied guitar with private teachers and at the Guitar Institute of Technology. Later he joined Strunz & Farah for a few years performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Vancouver Folk Festival in Canada, Havana Classical Guitar Festival in Cuba, Kennedy Center and a tour of Peru. His participation with them was documented in the audiophile album Misterio for the label Water Lily Acoustics.

Ciro is one of the founding members and currently the musical director of the group Huayucaltia. He has toured extensively in the United States and Peru with them, sharing the stage with artists such as Jackson Browne, Sting, Holly Near and Carlos Vives. He has recorded and co-produced six albums with Huayucaltia: Despertar, Caminos, Horizontes, Amazonas, Or?genes and Destinos.

As a solo artist he has produced and recorded five albums where he leads a Latin jazz band comprised of top Los Angeles musicians featuring notable players such as Justo Almario and Pedro Eustache, among many others. His solo effort includes In My Mind, Tales From Home, on Rom Records, The Magic Hour (collaborative effort with his wife Cindy Harding), Guitarra, under his own label, and Echoes of the Andes on the Canadian label Metacom. In addition, he has produced and recorded albums for LA Law’s Michele Greene, Conjunto Jard?n, and many other talented artists. Most recently he was awarded the prestigious 2001/2002 Durfee Master Musician Fellowship.

Ciro has scored and participated musically in various feature films and documentaries such as Baraka, Dead Women in Lingerie, Max is Missing, Hope Street, Monsters and at the request of Ry Cooder did a short appearance in Walter Hill’s Extreme Prejudice.

Ciro’s guitar work ranges from the very traditional Latin American genres to the more sophisticated fusion Latin-Jazz idioms. His fine command of the instrument borrows from the classical techniques as well as alternate plectrum picking for high intensity solos. Pieces written by Ciro evoke motifs, landscapes and exciting elements of South American styles and rhythms, placing him among a select generation of Latin American composers.


In My Mind (Rom Records, 1989)
The Magic Hour (Rom Records, 1991)
Tales From Home (Rom Records, 1993)
Guitarra (Hurtado, 1995)
Echoes Of The Andes (CMC Home Entertainment, 1996)
Los Angeles Blues (Inti Productions, 2012)
Ayahuasca Dreams
Selva (2016)