The German label Analog Africa reiterates curiosity for Amazonian culture after the recent release of a compilation focused on the city of Belém in northern Brazil. The label’s renowned treasure hunter Samy Ben Redjeb crosses the border, this time in the direction of Iquitos, to introduce us to Ranil’s chicha from the heart of the Peruvian jungle.
A little-known variation on Colombian cumbia, born in Peru at the end of the 1960s, chicha has resurfaced in recent years thanks to quality reissues. This unusual genre can be found at the crossroads of surf rock, psych rock and traditional Andean music. Percussion, electric guitar and effect pedals play central roles.
A larger-than-life personality, Ranil, whose real name is Raúl Llerena Vásquez, developed a personal approach in the early 1970s, marked by the influence of Lima, perfecting his signature with the many musical sources from the Amazon region. There are hints of huayño, criollo waltz, Brazilian carimbó and Colombian cumbia. The tracks, mostly instrumental, and lulled by ageless melodies, follow one another with remarkable efficiency.
Ranil and his group recorded around 15 albums on their own label, Producciones Llerena, and enjoyed local success without, however, tasting the glory reserved for artists from the capital. His records are now extremely rare and sought after by collectors all over the world. The 14 tracks on this compilation were chosen directly by Ranil himself. An exceptional release that should not be overlooked, one where tropical melancholy and electric sunshine come together.