Saturday, 6 December 2008

Ayahuasca and Cumbia Amazónica

Perhaps one of the most peculiar Ayahuasca songs is Vacilando con Ayahuasca, by Peruvian Cumbia pioneers Juaneco y su Combo. The Peruvian cumbia sound sprung as a distinct style in the early 60´s, when Henry (Los Destellos) Delgado took the accordion -which was the staple sound of the original Colombian Cumbia- and substituted it with the electric guitar, creating a sound that, by our standards, is reminiscing of surf music.

Soon there were regional variations of the Peruvian sound. Juaneco y Combo, together with the fantastic Los Mirlos were the major originators of the Cumbia Amazónica, also known as Cumbia de Oriente or Poder Verde, a style which appeared in the 70´s together with the first oil boom of the Peruvian Amazon. It was characterized by the incorporation of traditional dresses, as well as mythical characters and figures of amazonian lore.

Juaneco y su Combo was founded in Pucallpa in the 60s by Juan Wong Paredes. Their first LP El Gran Cacique (1970), contains the classic Vacilando con ayahuasca. A very groovy tune that would not be out of place in a Tarantino movie.... though to this day I fail to see what the sensual female moaning has to do with Ayahuasca.

juaneco y su combo - vacilando con ayahuasca by INFOPESA

Now for something truly bizarre here´s a recent video of the song. Although the original was recorded in the 70s, the band is still going strong even after 40 years and the death of some of its original members. Check out the Shipibo shirts. That´s some amazonian funkiness right there.

Yikes! I just never thought I'd see curanderos and go-go dancers in the same shot!
Via Grandes de la cumbia peruana

If you'd like to hear more of that Peruvian cumbia sound Barbes Records out of Brooklyn is putting out compilations re-issuing the classics.

4 coments:

siftingthroughthemadness said...

Yes, truly disturbing... Have you seen this one?

jeronimo m.m. said...

Yes of course, I decided not to post it because I though it would steal all the attention away from the Juaneco song. But the world of Peruvian popular music is full of bizarre and surreal characters. Check out La Tigresa de Oriente

...don´t miss the ethical lyrics!

...or Wendy Sulka the child star of the Cumbia Andina

..or Los Conquitadores (I would think that would be avery unpopular name in Ecuador, but apparently not)

Fukuro said...


you "fail to see what the sensual female moaning has to do with Ayahuasca"? you really need help. The sensual moaning represents the "ayahuasca", come on!

and as far as your characterization of peruvian music, it's very short minded. I'd expect a blogger, a one interested in AYAHUASCA at that, would be able to embrace the good with the bad, but, alas I guess that's too much to ask.

It's like saying fruity Bose, and the "ketchup sisters" are the best Spain can offer...hardly.

Take the good with bad, pal, the good with the bad...

jeronimo m.m. said...


Yes, I understood the female moaning represnts ayahuasca, I just don´t understand *why*

It´s just that if I had to pick a female sound for Ayahuasca it wouln´t be that, that´s what I falied to see, but that might be just me.

And I never said, or implied, or thought, that la Tigresa is the best Perú can offer. Please read the post again. I think you are taking offense when none was meant.

...lo dije sin pizca de sorna, de hecho a mi me encanta la música peruana, la buena y la mala... también, incluso las vertientes más tremebundas. Pero mi bizarreo es cero ironía cool, siempre es desde el respeto.

Me encanta tu blog, BTW