Music » Rhythm & Views

Chicha Dust: ¡Live at The Dust Ballroom!



This local supergroup embraces the Peruvian style of cumbia known as chicha, which was named for a fermented drink. Chicha music first came to attention in North America with the release of the two-volume compilation, The Roots of Chicha, from which all these songs are culled, and these desert rockers faithfully nail the heady blend of Caribbean and Latin rhythms and psychedelic pop.

If anything, Chicha Dust's covers of tunes by such artists as Grupo Celeste, Los Illusionistas and Juaneco y su Combo are more explosive than the originals, perhaps because this album was recorded live (by veteran producer Jim Waters) in front of family and friends at a party thrown at a Tucson warehouse.

Guitarist-singers Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan often engage in dual guitar leads on the melody, then indulge in trippy, intertwining counterpoint solos. Jason Urman provides the essential and iconic Farfisa organ, while percussionist Efren Cruz Chavez, drummer Winston Watson and bassist Geoff Hidalgo lock down the irrepressible bouncing rhythms of cumbia, sure to inspire frenzied bouts of dancing.

Highlights include the instrumental tracks "Patricia" and "El Milagro Verde," but ultimately this album feels like one long, delicious jam.

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