‘Psychedelic cumbias from Peru’

Dick Dale meets Andean flute band meets Grateful Dead. That’s about the best description I can muster of Chicha, easily the most interesting of the musical genres I’ve encountered in my ongoing study of all things Peru.


Named after the corn-based beer favored by the Incas, Chicha grew out of the Peruvian amazon during the Beatlemania of the 60’s and quickly spread among the migrant indigenous communities of Lima. The sound is all fuzzy psychedelia, the words are about love and the pain of living in a highly stratified society, and the whole thing is based in the pentatonic scale typical of Andean music. I think I’m in love.

I have images of sitting on the beach, sipping on a Pisco Sour, and playing Chicha on a portable stereo. Why can’t my flight leave tomorrow?