Archive for the Interviews Category

BOB MARLEY interview by Rock & Folk (Paris, FRANCE 78)

Posted in Interviews, photography, Rare, Reggae Archives on June 19, 2011 by Listen Recovery

Rock & Folk: Don’t you think the fact that you have spent a lot of time away from Jamaica has changed your music?
Bob Marley: We are the ones who play it. It’s not Jamaica that plays music for us (he bursts out laughing)

RF: But you play for very different audiences, like the Paris one.
Bob: Yes but all these people want the music from Jamaica. Even in Paris we can’t change the music we play. Do you see what I mean?

RF: What about the presence of Junior (Marvin, the Wailers’ guitar player)? Didn’t it strengthen the group?
Bob: Yes, Junior strengthened the group, Junior is easy…

RF: Do you mean as a man or as a musician?
Bob: Both. He is cool. We understand each other.

RF: Do you think the Wailers line-up won’t change anymore?
Bob: Maybe that it will stay the same, maybe that it will change… I think any change will be additional.

RF: Horns?
Bob: (He suddenly laughs and gets excited) yeah mon! that’s it!

RF: Would you like to have a horns rhythm section again, like in the days of ska?
Bob: Yeah! Yeah mon! That would be great. Like in the days of ska. At the time being, and since quite a long time, we have concentrated on the rhythm. But now that everyone feels they are at the place in the rhythm, we could use horns again… yeah.

RF: The way your records are produced is rather different from most of the Jamaican production. You have never really been into dub in particular.
Bob: Me? No, I have never really liked this dub stuff you know. Dub is something else. We couldn’t follow the dub way because we prefer a music that is like a message, you know. But dub is nice. I only start enjoying it now.

RF: Why are you recording again old songs like Kaya?
Bob: Umm, Kaya, that’s a nice tune… the night we wrote it, Kaya, we were in a remote part of the countryside. It was raining during the night and we were in a very small house and… we didn’t have herb. That’s why we sang : “gotta have Kaya now for the rain is falling…”.
(“Kaya” is one of the many names Jamaicans use for marijuana).

RF: When was it?
Bob: Around … 1970. Yes, 1970.

RF: You have also recut much older songs, that date way back from the ska days such as One Love. How does it feel to do a rendition of a tune you wrote 10 or 15 years ago?
Bob: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. it’s a matter
of vibrations. I couldn’t even know for One Love. Musically, I had never felt it as good.

RF: What about the lyrics?
Bob: It’s as if I understood them better now than the first time. The first time is raw inspiration. The second time is comprehension… songs evolve. I don’t know how or why. There are songs I don’t really understand until I see the reactions they lead to in the street. Someone else finds out their meaning, and I understand it in turn.

RF: Do you consider the Wailers as now being Bob Marley’s band, or will the other members contribute in a more active way?
Bob: Everybody is writing songs. Junior is writing an album. Tyrone (Downie, the organ player) too…

RF: Yes, but would they compose for the Wailers?
Bob: Yes, if they want to. Everyone has to be free.

RF: But the band’s line-up is different from the time when Bunny and Peter were part of the Wailers, isn’t it?
Bob: Yeah mon, you can stay all your life in the same place you know. Even trees grow (laughter)

RF: Do you think you could work with them again one day?
Bob: Sure man, at any time…

RF: Have you seen Peter (Tosh) since the problems he has experienced in Jamaica (he was arrested and beaten by the police)?
Bob: Yes, it’s allright, cool.

RF: What do you think when things like that happen?
Bob: What happened to Peter? I think it’s nothing but ignorance… ignorance on the police side.

RF: You live again in Jamaica now, but you have been away for a long time (after the shooting by the end of 1976)…
Bob: Yes…

RF: For too long?
Bob: No, just the right time.

RF: The last time we met, you were about to go to Africa for the first time. Did you finally go there?
Bob: No, not yet. But this time I will go (laughter)! No, this time it’s true… I want to go to Nigeria, to Ghana, and one or two other places.

RF: Here is again an old question: do you really think european
audiences understand all the Rasta stuff?
Bob: I don’t know if they understand, but they have pretty good reactions you know (he is laughing like a kid). That’s a reality, not a joke or a dream. It may seem strange, but it’s not as strange as a religion because Rasta is a reality. It’s difficult for people who have undergone and accepted brainwashing to understand what I and I, the Rastas, say. We are going beyond what we have taught you (…) To be Rasta is to live a life in which you are always happy. But Rasta know
the whole world will fight them…

RF: The last time we met, you told me that if reggae singers now sing Rasta songs, that’s because everybody loves Rastas.
Bob: Yes, but not EVERYbody. As far as I am concerned, the more people talk about it, the better it is… people know there is a lot of fights in the world, but they can’t explain why. Everybody fights, but at the same time nobody wants to acknowledge any explanation. There is something bad in it, psychologically. If we fight, we should be able to explain why. Otherwise… (he has a little smile that concludes his speech)

RF: Do you think people who like your songs understand all of this in them?
Bob: Many people can appreciate what we are trying to say. I never give up believing in the people, because that’s all we have you know… when I was born, I have been taught the same thing that everybody, until I found by myself that there was something else. It happens at a different time for each one of us.

RF: Do you think Jamaican musicians who have been raised in London, like Steel Pulse, have a different approach of reggae?
Bob: They try… because reggae, out of any analysis or interview, is a feeling. And anybody has that feeling you know, that timing… that’s reggae: a very special feeling and timing. All reggae musicians have it. It’s something very deep. When we (the Wailers) started to record songs like Duppy Conqueror, we did it in a clean and professional way. The feeling is there, but is professional. It couldn’t be accepted on the worldwide record market without becoming professional. One or two of us had to do it so that the world could appreciate it, do you see what I mean?

RF: Do you mean reggae musicians have become more professional?
Bob: Yes, they didn’t have the choice.

RF: But didn’t they lose something in that process?
Bob: I don’t see what they have lost in it (laughter). But I can see what they have won!

(this interview was carried out by Hervé Muller for Rock and Folk )

FANIA in LIMA, Perù. Interview by Renz de Madrugada, words by MIGUEL ANGEL MATHEUS (en Castellano)

Posted in Interviews, Peru on March 29, 2011 by Listen Recovery

1. ¿Cuentame como comenso tu dia antes de llegar al concierto de La FANIA en la Universidad de San Marcos?
Empece el dia dudando un poco de que si iban a venir en realidad los mounstros que se estaban anunciado, porque, quien sabe derrepente venian los nietos de ellos, jajajajaaj; pero con el transcurrir de las horas esas dudas empezaron a despejarse, puse un disco de la Fania en el equipo de sonido y me puse a escuchar y a cantar algunas canciones. Ya por la tarde me heche a descansar unas horitas para estar a punto para la noche. Me fui con miguelito, debes acordarte de el al que le dicen gaston acurio y con lali el hermano de omar.

2. Cual fue tu cancion favorita de la noche
Bueno en realidad todas las canciones estuvieron buenazas pero las que me gustaron fueron: No me digas que es muy tarde ya, cantada por el gran Ismael Miranda, el nino bonito de la salsa, Quitate la mascara de Adalberto Santiago y los entierros y el raton de Cheo Feliciano

3. Ubo algun artista homenajeado?
Si hubo homenaje a los artistas que ya se encuentran en el cielo como Celia Cruz, Pete el Conde Rodriguez, Rey Barreto el gran hector lavoe y otros que no recuerdo.

4. A que artista te hubiera gustado ver, que no pudo asistir?
Me hubiera gustado ver a Hector lavoe con la fania, pero bueno ya conocemos la historia.

5. Cuantas horas fue el concierto y a que hora termino?
El concierto pues habra durado 2 horas, termino pasadas la 1 de la madrugada, es que cuando estas bien concentrado, conectado uno se olvida de las horas.
Fue innolvidable esa noche, lastima que no hubo fotos pero el recuerdo queda pregnado.

Mr. TAMBA, Interview w/ HELCIO MILITO by Debora Pill for MAISSOMA BR (English version)

Posted in Bossa Nova, Brasil music, Debora Pill Interviews, Helcio Milito, Interviews on January 5, 2011 by Listen Recovery

ENTREVISTA . Helcio Milito, por Debora Pill

(A entrevista foi publicada na +Soma 16/Mar-Abr 2010. Baixe aqui ou descubra aqui onde conseguir uma.)

 Por Debora Pill . Retratos Fotonauta e divulgação.

Original interview in Portuguese ^ link
MR TAMBA by Debora Pill (English version)

Hélcio Pascoal Milito is a living legend. Percussionist, drummer and music producer of the highest level, he was also the inventor of the “tamba”, a percussion instrument made of four frying-pans, one “caixa-clara”, three drums and two bamboos.

Self-taught musician, he started his professional career in São Paulo back in 1948, playing percussion in Conjunto Robledo. He was part of the Maestro Peruzzi Orchestra, of Sexteto Mario Casali, of the great Orchestra of Luis César and also of Izio Gross Trio. In 1957, he moved to Rio and started playing in Djalma Ferreiras group. A year later, he went on tour to Venezuela with Ary Barroso’s Orchestra.

Towards the finals of 1950, during the early start of Bossa Nova, he created the Bossa Nova group (Conjunto Bossa Nova), with Roberto Menescal, Luiz Carlos Vinhas, Bebeto Castilho, Luiz Paulo and Bill Horn, with whom he has recorded the compact “Bossa é Bossa”, put out by Odeon in 1959.

In 1960, he played for the first time his own invention, the tamba, during a concert of singer Sammy Davis Jr., in Record Theater, in São Paulo. In 62, he created the legendary group Tamba Trio, together with Luiz Eça and Otavio Bailly, who was soon replaced by Bebeto Castilho. Two years later, he left the band and went to the United States to play with cats like João Gilberto, Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto, Michell-Ruff, Luiz Bonfá, Don Costa, Gil Evans, Tony Bennett, Wes Montgomery and Duke Ellington, just to mention some.

Back to Brazil, besides working as a musician, he also became a music producer in record labels CBS and Tapecar. He has promoted a true creative revolution by building a list of artist which the labels didn’t care much about to promote.

He studied music with American percussionist Henry Miller, with maestro Moacir Santos and also with Ester Scliar. He also took part of the soundtrack of Brazilian films such as “Cinco Vezes Favela” (Episode A Pedreira de São Diogo, directed by Leon Hirszman), “Os Cafajestes”, by Ruy Guerra, and “Garrincha, Alegria do Povo”, by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

Throughout his career, he has played with artists like Nara Leão, Eumir Deodato, Maysa, Carlos Lyra, Clementina de Jesus, Quarteto em Cy, Joyce, João Bosco, Tom e Dito, Sivuca, Dom Romão, Carmen Costa, Milton Nascimento e Nana Caymmi, Leny Andrade, among others.


When did the music invade your life?
Look, I was six years old, it was 1937. My mother had those big wood stoves, a huge one. And I decided to hang a lot of potlids to play. It came out of the blue – I hadn’t seen this anywhere! I don’t have the slightest idea where I took that from. Maybe it is a genetic thing really. The truth is that I hung the pots, hit on them and made hell out of mothers life. (laughs)

And where did inspiration come from?
Ah, from the family. Everybody was an artist there. My grandparents, from my mother’s side, were painters and sculptures. My mother was a fashion designer, from Milan. My father was an iron road engineer of São Paulo Rail Company. All italians that arrived here went to study and I came out of this. My mother already was established in downtown with her own work, her dresses and hats. The great figures of Paulista society hired my mother to make their family hats. Besides that, my mother used to sing opera and sing very in-tune, acapella and she had no idea she was that good.

And what about your father?
My father was not a professional artist, but he ended showing up like an amateur. He was good-looking, “Calabrezian” style. People thought he was more handsome than Clark Gable! He was a real hit. Yes, my old man was a good person. He wrote poems, he didn’t chew gun. Because down there, in the South of Italy, it was a crazy western thing and there I was, in the middle of all that… They tried to influence me, to catechize me in their art. You see how much culture around me! And there I was, hitting my little pots…

When did you leave your pots behind and started playing for real?
In my neighborhood there was a ballroom. I used to go there and carry the drum for the musician, and he was the “official” drummer of the little orchestra of Orlando Ferre. I used to do that because back in the days there was no music school. Today you have university, but not in those days. Brazilian drummers had to go to Buenos Aires to study.

And then you started studying?
A friend of mine, who was a professor at Zimbo Trio’s school. I used to go to his house to practice with a little book of percussion. But it was no good, because we didn’t know the system, I would only start knowing the system with the Russian professor I had, for eight months. A Russian that was American, in fact. He was a true master of percussion of Cleveland Sinfonic. I left knowing how to work even as a regent! This is very important for a musician. When I went to the USA, I understood how this was important, because I went to record with an orchestra and each time I had a different regent. And an insecure regent, makes you feel insecure as well.

Where else have you played in São Paulo?
Ah, I have played a lot with Orlando Ferre, he used to hire a lot of groups around here. I played in Trianon, with a pianist, Ted, who played a lot of American music. I played in Camuzinho, which was a ballroom behind Caetano de Campos School, there at Praça da Republica. But my premiere was in a taxi-danças

What were the taxi danças?
Ah, you young people don’t know. It was a big hit around here! It was a copy of the USA. They were called “taxi dances” because the girls used to be sitting inside the ballroom in little chairs and when you entered, you were given a card with many numbers. They had to dance with you. They couldn’t  say no. This was rude… too much macho attitude. When you ended dancing, she marked how many minutes you danced and gave the official mark, who had a small pliers to make a hole in the card.

Then you sat, drank your beer and when you left there would be a box, you showed your card, he made the calculation and you paid your bill. But many girls went crazy…. They couldn’t give up earning money, but at the same time they had to go with a lot of rascals, they did all bad things… I had a girlfriend there and she used to tell me. “Helcio, I will stop because I can’t take it anymore…” Yes, the first time I played in a taxi-dance was in a taxi-dance that stayed in the square of Ipiranga with São João, called Dancing Maravilhoso. There was also Cuba, which was next to Duque de Caxias, which was marvelous. There was also Olido

And then?
Then I started evolving, even without school, playing in all those places. Then in 1952, I ended up playing with group that was considered the best in those days, Maestro Peruzzi’s. It was a band of only black people. They used that suit with shoulders up to here, you know? (he shows a bigger size than his shoulder). Again copying the American bands, you must have seen the old movies. Not to talk about the trousers, tight down in the feet… There was a police officer in Rio that used to throw a whole orange  inside the guys pants, and if it didn’t go through, he was arrested. Yes, if you wore the end of the trousers tight it was a sign that you were a malandro. Well, back in those days, some ten years before, if you played samba, you were a malandro and could be arrested.

Did you suffer prejudice for being white and for playing samba?
My family was racist. “Are you gonna play this instrument of drunk and black people?”I was very young. I couldn’t take that anymore that’s why I have leave home.

When came the first recording?
In 1954 I recorded a “dobrado” celebrating 400 years of São Paulo. Dobrado because the Brazilian music is 2 by 4, its martial. Its military, it came out of a militar mentality.

How did you end up in Rio?
We used to work here in Teatro Praça Julio Mesquita with José Vasconcelos. And I was dating a girl who was a model in his piece. She was very beautiful and sweet. We were super in love, that young thing… And so we went to Bahia with Ze’s piece. We spent a month there. And to be in love in Bahia is a wonderful thing! I miss those days. Well, then we went back to Rio with him. And there, we weren’t able to pay the hotel, so I had to do something. I called my dad, after Dom Romão helped me too. Indeed, he was one of the greatest friends I had. Adorable.

Where did you play in Rio?
There I used to play at Drink‘s, which was a club of Djalma Ferreira. Marlene and I used to live there at Drink’s second floor. I used to go down from inside the house to play! And she used to model with Carlos Machado back in those days, so she went downtown and came back and I remember lots of stories at Drink’s… For example: practically every night, I took Ary Barroso home in Leme. You know why? Because he would get drunk! But I mean really drunk, with a soft mouth. He used to call me: “Hey boy! Do you want to drive me home?”He had a Chevrolet 55, and I used to drive for him without having a license or anything. I used to drive him home and heard a “Thank you kid!” (laughs)

Then you went to radio.
Then I got a job in National Radio. It was good, it paid my rent. I was the sixth drummer of the radio. Because back in those days it was all live – The 14, Marlene, Emilinha, Angela Maria, I played with them all. It was orchestra, and I did it. I was the youngest. One day with Angela Maria I was so full of energy, breaking it all… The orchestra played the opening for the song and I had a little drum break of 2 compasses. Uau, when I saw that part – I was already studying and all – when I saw that, I don’t know why, but I did a thing that she couldn’t understand! It was a disaster! The orchestra felled, she felled…. The maestro wanted to kill me! Suspend me! Boy, I had two, three bombings in the break (laughs) and from all of them she was the best in rhythms.  I was inexperienced… I noticed I screwed up bad… after that, much older, we talked about that, laughing like crazy.

When did you decide to create the tamba?
Our generation was very proud to say we were Brazilians. You can’t imagine! All that stuff – new capital, “Cinema Novo”, first World Cup… Juscelino was the president of bossa nova. It wasn’t only Bossa Nova music, everything was Bossa Nova! You understand? All of us thought of creating something! And all were innocently nationalists. So I thought of creating an instrument! I thought: “Why do I have to play an American instrument? Brazilian rhythm has to be played on your foot, with movement!” I used to play sitting, but I felt much better playing on my foot. So I made the instrument, with my own hands, with a friend. I made it very simple. The first time I have played with the tamba was at Sammy Davis concert.

And where did your inspiration to draw the tamba come from?
Russia had just sent Sputnik. So I started philosophize about the thing of the man getting out of himself. As if it was an abortion, or a new birth, you know? Everything was going to change. All that really impressed me and I thought: “I have to do something about this!”. I looked at Sputnik there, with its three antennas, and I decided to turn it upside down, and make them three little legs. Then I drilled the ball with a thread, put the legs on and the tamba was ready!

And Tamba Trio?
Tamba was not bossa nova only. It had this thing… We got a traditional song, created a new arrangement and this song was cheered wherever we played it! At the concerts, I used to put the tamba in the corner of the stage and in the middle of the show, we did some vocals, Bebeto stopped the bass, did the bridge with the flute and came back with an acapella… Then the three of us went next to the tamba, Luiz took the tambourine, Bebeto the agogo and we made a “batucadinha”!

And how was CBS when you started?
The only thing that worked was ieieie with Roberto Carlos. I created some things, for example: I started recording the Black samba-school composers. This was my work – to listen to those guys. If you want to record, you have to listen to the guys!  The source is there, it’s them!

They used to stay there at company’s front door. And I used to leave for lunch, come back, and there they were. And where else would they be? They had to be there indeed! So I got some good equipment, a recorder and started to attend them. People didn’t believe it, this was never done before.  And I shut everybody’s mouth there! In the end, I put five, six names in the list of the artists that were mostly sold: Wilson Moreira, Zuzuca, José Pegador, Velho da Portela (I ended up becoming a member of the samba school because of him), Candeia… You know, I don’t drink, but I used to go up the favela hill and have some cachaça with him to listen. It is like that, when you want to listen, you have to do it, and don’t stay just talking about it!

And why did I keep Jackson do Pandeiro at CBS? Because this guy is of such great importance… People cannot imagine what he has done for Brazilian music! All swing he was… A simple pandeiro player! He and Almira! It’s a shame that before he died they split…

Another person that made me very proud was Jacob do Bandolim. I took him out of RCA. Both his last albums, he recorded at CBS. This was a great victory for me.

And Capim Gordura?
This was another victory. Laercio de Freitas composition. I gave it to Vinhas so that he became the leader of the story, so that he could earn some money. He was a problem for everybody, but me… I loved him. And this record sold 900 thousand copies…

Another great thing in that album is that on its B side I put “Chovendo na Roseira” of Tom (Jobim). Imagine! On one side, “Capim Gordura”, São Paulo interior, with a vocal full of heavy accent and everything… Another world!!!! (laughs) And it sold a lot! “Imagem Barroca” was also like that. I feel happy to know that still today, 42 years later, this record is still being sold in Japan. It was harpsichord, string quartet, lots of other instruments… And I did the drum myself because it was a very light thing… Bailly in one side and in the other Luiz Eça, two opposite things! Luiz was always complaining… In reality every arranger of value complains that he doesn’t have a chance to make a great work. So I told Luiz to write it down and he did. But I told him, “Don’t come with all that improvisation, otherwise it won’t sell!”. I have always chosen other ways, but that did sell. You have to shut their mouths by doing it, that’s all.

Among so many successes, was there any mistake?
Dom Salvador. He used to wear that black power hair and all. And I did the record cover like that, he with his hand closed on the table, all in black and white, he wearing a kind of Black Panther jacket. But he was no tiger, he was a little cat! I wasted my time. And so did he. And the company lost money.

But that one was not the only record that did not sell but had an unquestionable value. At that time I thought: “I will make a record that will sell less, but that has to be done. Something will happen.” It did not sell and I did not bother because I knew. It was the same with Orquestra Afro-Brasileira, with Pedro (Santos, of the enigmatic record Krishnanda).

Tell me about Pedro.
He was a drummer at Severino Araújo’s Orchestra. I had already heard about him and he told me the ideas he had, some mystical things, but that in the end were not mystical at all and that’s why people used to call him “Crazy Pedro”. You know, this ignorant thing.

What were those ideas?
He was deeply against what religions used to preach. He had other ways to explain his preferences and since I am also like that… You can see that the record it’s all himself, the songs he created himself, the drawing at the record cover, its philosophy, the lyrics… Take a look at what’s in there! And as a percussion player he was the best of them all. If he had gone abroad, he would have become a very rich guy. Just because he created. He took a little children toy and transformed it into an instrument. Not everybody can just that makes this…

Tell me about  the Orchestra?
Abigail Moura’s Orchestra was introduced to me by Carlos Negreiros. I saw them rehearsing, I found it so human, so beautiful! But I thought: “this will not sell”. And I cannot change it, it’s their repertory! Then I went home and kept thinking: “I cannot leave these guys without a record! It won’t sell, but something will happen”. And so it did, 40 years later! And I ended up recording, exaclty the way they played, in their style, with the vibrato, all that stuff that the jazz musician does not like. Fuck, I am tired of that stuff, jazz musician has the final word now?

There is another type of music that is cool. For example, there are days when I listen to Miles Davis because I think its out of time. Suddenly I listen to classical music, another day I watch TV and see a country duo with very human lyrics. The same way I love electronic sometimes. Music is the moment, art is the moment.

And, talking about moment, what is the secret of all this energy at the age of 79?
Look, I never did bullshit. I did not do any drugs nor drink. I knew that, if I started, I would not stop. So I started practicing yoga. A friend of mine that used to play violin took me to a yoga school. He noticed that I was also looking for something different. Because New York is very tough and if you are not feeling good with yourself you are in trouble.  And when that 30 degree negative hit you? But there I was… I was in love with that thing!

After that, when I was already back here in Brazil, I learned a relaxation that I still do nowadays if I am stressed… We live a moment of a lot of transformation in this world and since I don’t follow any religion, I do exercises, the Schultz technique, in which you control your own body… This thing is fantastic. I used to work in tours in the US, that craziness… And I don’t take anything, so I sit, do this exercise and it’s all gone.

And what are your plans for the future?
Look, I plan to produce the tamba. And there is also the method that will come out! Besides all this you see here in the tamba, there are two bamboos that Pedro (Santos) gave me back in the 67. Now I have added the tubes that an Italian family made for me in New York and that are beautiful. The sound is celestial… Because you have a lot of noise makers around! Percussion has its romance, the need of dialogue, that’s why I like to record things, because it’s a dialogue. A drawing here, another there. Then they play. They speak! One speak to the other.

RANIL Y SU GRUPO by La Cumbia de mis viejos blog, (tranlated in English)

Posted in Amazon Music, Interviews, Peru Cumbia, RANIL LP on November 26, 2010 by Listen Recovery

From left to right: Riyder Zumba, “Spring”, Betto Gaviria, Ranil, Victor Rivas. Below Holmes Zavaleta.

Raul Llerena, born in the city Belen – Iquitos. Very versatile, is dedicated to journalism, music, politics. Here’s a little history about RANIL:

The attachment for music was inherited from his mother, who was a singer and guitarist. My mother traveled to Lima, where she studied to become a teacher and return to her hometown to practice at events to teach at the Peruvian border. Additionally I’m dedicated to journalism work in which I hold until today as a job.

My first musical experience was the sound and voice of Los Paisanos recordings. Folk music for the label Smith. Since then I realized that the music business beneficiaries weren’t the musicians. During the first half of the seventies the group “The Silvers” Johnny Quinteros appears in Belen, where I asked for advise since they are great experienced musicians… So, Raul helped on some recording to INFOPESA, recording mainly Tropical music, which had great potential for success.

During the mid seventies, I decided to form my own group. I  gather some musicians, mainly some historical ones experienced in  tropical music from Iquitos. The first guitar was held by various musicians, depending on the season. Most important Zumba Limber, which came from The Silvers, and Betto Gaviria. At the time, Luis Peña and Emilio, also served as guitarist Nigro. Among the founding members Were Rider Other Zumba on bass, Paluca Flores on drums and Marco Rivas on the grave.

Raul was aware in the benefits and power of having a record label and having musicians under his wing, so he started his own record label call  “Llerena Recordings”. The label recorded more than a dozen LPs and 45 RPM records. Several under the name”Ranil Y su Conjunto Tropical”  (Ranil is a combination of the names and Nilsa Raul, His Wife).

The musicians Travel to Lima, recorded and pressed records on the premises of MAG, running after the distribution by Ranil itself. With Respect to promotion, Raul had his own radio and television, so neither had to deal with the gangs who charged for promoting musicians.

In the eighties the group disintegrated because of the oil rush. Out in the jungle the people had less money to buy records. In Addition, the force to introduce cumbia began with synthesizer, in which the guitar was  displacing as the main instrument for Tropical Music. As well as Betto Gaviria departs towards “Grupo Pax” (MAG),  while Emilio Piña follows his path towards Criollo music.

Interview & Words by LA CUMBIA DE MIS VIEJOS Blog (Spanish Original Version)  < Link

LA WEEKLY’S DAIANA FEUER Interview w/ Olivier Conan & Renz De Madrugada “THE ROOTS OF CHICHA”

Posted in Interviews on November 11, 2010 by Listen Recovery


w/ OLIVIER CONAN (Barbès Records)

Olivier Conan is a Frenchman from Brooklyn (as well as an avid record collector and label owner) who was trolling tiny markets in Lima, Peru, hoping to discover something new. When he stumbled upon a treasure trove of psychedelic cumbia from the 1960s and 1970s called chicha, he felt as if he’d discovered his own Beatles.

Renz De Madrugada (Listen Recovery)

Here in Los Angeles, he’s enlisted Renz “Renz De Madrugada” Revelli of local DJ collective Listen Recovery, a Peruvian transplant with a full crate of chicha records. They were happy to give L.A. Weekly a history lesson.

^ link to LOS ANGELES Release party

MIKE P of MASSTROPICAS Records Label & RANIL LP interview by Renz De Madrugada

Posted in Chicha Music, Interviews, Masstropicas Records, Peru Cumbia, RANIL LP on August 31, 2010 by Listen Recovery

IN the mist of all this “Cumbia Movement / Latin Explosion of Records” which the last few years have given us from Germany to Tokyo to Los Angeles to Cartagena, there is one obscure corner somewhere in the city of Massachusetts where one brother researches the deepest streets of Peru’s forgotten music.  Chicha is basically Cumbia and a way of life… And Mike P is no stranger to the name nor the way of life experienced in the rural streets of Lima (capital of Perù).  In this 1st interview about the initiation of a label and the ignition to preserve Cumbia culture from Perù, Mike P tells us a bit about his journey in music, his love for Peruvian food and shares with us one of the most amazing sound that came out of the Peruvian Amazon.  I can only imagine the expression on the faces of the musicians when Mike offers them a deal to reissue their work/music from long ago… It must be a unique and humbling experience to revive old tracks and a time capsule that will live on from now on.

Renz De Madrugada

INTERVIEW W Mike P from Masstropicas

1. Tell us a bit about your background, birth place, school.
I’m an Italian/Irish male, 27 and a cancer. I grew up in Western Massachusetts but lived in SOCAL for a stint. Pittsfield is a very small town in MASS with a high heroin user rate. I graduated high school.

2. What is Masstropicas?
MASSTROPICAS is a collective of sorts. It’s not just one gringos view on Cumbia/Chicha but there are actually Peruvian people behind the ideas and concepts on MASSTROPICAS as well.
We are going to focus on vinyl releases in limited runs and not MP3’s or Itunes bullshit.
I think that takes away from the whole music experience and makes music much more disposable to the mass audience.

3. When did you start the label?
I started the label about 3 years ago, my first release was a 45 by the great CHAPILLACS!

4. When did you start to work with music and reissuing records or song?
Well I first started working with music when I 13 or 14 releasing Japanese punk records and music by my band and my friends bands. The first ever re-issues I helped out with were of a label called BCT from San Diego, BCT was a label run a my friend Chris who released international punk and hardcore in the early to late 80s on cassette. My first even experience of hearing music from South America was a BCT tape called TROPICAL VIRUSES which is a compilation of Brazilian punk bands. Ever since then my interest has grown into other styles of Latin music and it all fell into place with Cumbia which I’m mainly going to focus on.

5. When did you discover Perù and its music?

I discovered Perù through my wife and a good friend of mine named Bruno Guerra (who actually introduced me to Cumbia) . My wife (then girlfriend) would always cook something nice that I liked from Perù and Bruno always would send me CD’s or songs through the mail. He is also in a great punk band from Lima called MORBO who just released a cassette.

6. What made you work with Peruvian Music / What type of music?

I don’t know really… Peruvian Cumbia because it amazes me more and more everyday.

7. How long have you been going back and forth to Perù and who are you working with nowadays?
I’ve been going back and forth for 3 years now with this year being my 4th, I’m working with many different people on multiple projects at the moment.

8. Tell us about RANIL and how did you find his music?

Raul Llerena is Ranil. He is a legend amongst musicians and record collectors alike. He released his own music on his own label/production company out of Iqutios which is a city in the heart of the Amazon. I first heard of him about four years ago on my first trip to Perù I was asking someone about very rare Cumbia and the man said “You must hear Ranil, he is the best from the jungle!”. His records are very hard to find, the very first recording I heard by him was a 45 that someone played for me but would not trade or sell to me! This LP was culled from various records owned by the great Victor Zela from who has almost every LP Ranil did. Ranil now has his own radio/television station and is highly involved with local politics.

9. Is there a difference between “Chicha Music and Cumbias Peruanas” or is it just a name?

To a lot of people there is quite a difference. Most of the people I’ve interviewed in Lima tell me that it’s just a name and nothing more. They say all those sounds existed back then, Cumbia was mixed with Huaynos and Andean sounds long before it was called CHICHA. You can see on many 45/LP labels where they say what style the song is in. You’ll see Cumbia-folk, Cumbia-hyuano, Tropical-Andina, Cumbia-Beat and many other variations. Some people even say CHICHA is not just music but a lifestyle. I don’t think it can be explained by me or anyone in any book or CD really. A lot of people miss out on the fact that the musicians who played this music back then are still at it to this day playing concerts every single night to make money and people are “re-issuing” this stuff around the globe and taking credit while these guys are still out there playing.

10. What are the future plans for Masstropicas?
Up next we have a 4 song 7″ with the “El Patron De La Cumbia” Carlos Ramirez Centeno he is famous for singing songs for Los Illuisonistas esp. Colegiala! He formed his own group called Grupo Centeno but before that he sang in a lot of different bands, I’ve seen them perform a few times while I was in Lima. I ran the idea past him about doing an EP with 4 different bands he was in and he said its a great idea, it will hopefully be out by late October 2010.

I also had to ask Mike P since he is been to Perù so many time and we cannot denied the taste of Peruvian cuisine being one of the best in the culinary world.
11. What is your favorite dish from Perù and why?

Aji De Gallina, Chicharron De Calamar, I really like eating a restaurant called El Aguajal which serves food from the jungle. The food in Perù is just as important as the Cumbia for me there. Aji De gallina is a must for me to survive down there!

12. Give us your top favorite 7″ you hold in your collection.
Los Orientales De Paramonga 7″ EP on Sono Radio with the OG sleeve in Mint. Amazing record but my prize possession is a LP signed by Chacalon!

13. Roughly, how many records from Perù do you own including 12″ and 7″?

I own at least 1000 45s and maybe 200 LPs of just Cumbia. I go more for 45s because there are more bands that just released a few of them than vanished. It’s more of a surprise to dig these 45s and find out about the band by asking around instead of looking at the back of an LP cover.

Thanks MIKE P!

w/ Victor Casahuaman Bendezu Director & Composer of GRUPO CELESTE

w/ Carlos Ramirez del Grupo Centeno

Raul Llerena aka RANIL

Ranil LP cover by Tunchi (Limafotolivre) reissue by Masstropicas Record label

Mike P’s Chacalon signed record


logo of MASSTROPICAS design by RENATO “SUCIEDAD” from Los Chapillacs

VICTOR JARA (Chile) BIO, songs for CHE GUEVARA, photos & interview by Nicomedes Santa Cruz

Posted in Chile Music Icon, Interviews, Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Revolutionary/Revolucionario, Victor Jara, vintage posters/fliers/memorabilia on August 28, 2010 by Listen Recovery

Chilean singer Victor Jara is seen in this undated file picture. The life and times of Jara, who was killed in the first few days of the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet which started in September 1973, is set to be reborn. Warner Music is to redistribute his folk songs on a global basis from 2002 and British actress Emma Thompson is working on the script of a film which she hopes to direct about the son of a peasant farmer. Spanish actor-heartthrob Antonio Banderas has reportedly expressed interest in playing the role of Jara.


Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (September 28, 1932 – September 15, 1973) was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, political activist and member of the Communist Party of Chile. A distinguished theatre director, he devoted himself to the development of Chilean theatre, directing a broad array of works from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of Ann Jellicoe. Simultaneously he developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement which led to a revolution in the popular music of his country under the Salvador Allende government. Shortly after the Chilean coup of 11 September 1973, he was arrested, tortured and ultimately shot to death by machine gun fire. His body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town in Santiago.  The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice across Latin America.

Early life
Víctor Jara was born in the locality of Lonquén, near the city of Santiago, to poor peasants Manuel Jara and Amanda Martínez. Jara’s father, Manuel, was illiterate and wanted his children to work as soon as they could rather than get an education, so by the age of 6, Jara was already working on the land. Manuel Jara was unable to extract a livelihood from the earnings as a peasant in the Ruiz-Tagle estate nor was he able to find stable work to support his large family. He took to drinking and became violent. His relationship with his wife deteriorated, and Manuel left the family when Víctor was still a child to look for work elsewhere. Amanda persevered in raising Víctor and his siblings by herself, insisting that all of them should receive a good education. Amanda, a mestiza with deep Araucanian roots in the south of Chile, was not illiterate, she was autodidactic; played the guitar, the piano and was a singer in her town, singing traditional folk songs at local functions like wedding and funerals for the locals.
Jara’s mother died when he was 15, leaving him to make his own way thereafter. He began to study to be an accountant, but soon moved into a seminary instead, studying to become a priest. After a couple of years, however, he became disillusioned with the Church and left the seminary. Subsequently he spent several years in the army before returning to his home town to pursue interests in folk music and theater.

Artistic life
Jara was deeply influenced by the folklore of Chile and other Latin American countries; he was particularly influenced by artists like Violeta Parra, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and the poet Pablo Neruda. Jara began his foray into folklore in the mid-1950s when he began singing with the group Cuncumen. He moved more decisively into music in the 1960s getting the opportunity to sing at Santiago’s La Peña de Los Parra, owned by Ángel Parra. Through them Jara became greatly involved in the Nueva Canción movement of Latin American folk music. He published his first recording in 1966 and, by 1970, had left his theater work in favor of a career in music. His songs were drawn from a combination of traditional folk music and left-wing political activism. From this period, some of his most renowned songs are Plegaria a un Labrador (“Prayer to a Worker”) and Te Recuerdo Amanda (“I Remember You Amanda”). He supported the Unidad Popular (“Popular Unity”) coalition candidate Salvador Allende for the presidency of Chile, taking part in campaigning, volunteer political work, and playing free concerts.

Nicomedes Santa Cruz (Peru) interview on his Radio show w/ VICTOR JARA. June, 30th 1973

Political activism
Allende’s campaign was successful and, in 1970, he was elected president of Chile. However, the Chilean military, who opposed Allende’s socialist politics, staged a coup on September 11, 1973, in the course of which Allende was killed (See Death of Salvador Allende). At the moment of the coup, Jara was on the way to the Technical University (today Universidad de Santiago), where he was a teacher. That night he slept at the university along with other teachers and students, and sang to raise morale.

His Death
On the morning of September 12, Jara was taken, along with thousands of others, as a prisoner to the Chile Stadium (renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara in September 2003). In the hours and days that followed, many of those detained in the stadium were tortured and killed there by the military forces. Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken as were his ribs.  Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground with broken hands. Defiantly, he sang part of “Venceremos” (We Will Win), a song supporting the Popular Unity coalition.  After further beatings, he was machine-gunned on September 16, his body dumped on a road on the outskirts of Santiago and then taken to a city morgue.
Jara’s wife Joan was allowed to come and retrieve his body from the site and was able to confirm the physical damage he had endured. After holding a funeral for her husband, Joan Jara fled the country in secret.
Joan Turner Jara currently lives in Chile and runs the Víctor Jara Foundation. The Chile Stadium, also known as the Víctor Jara Stadium, is often confused with the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium).
Before his death, Jara wrote a poem about the conditions of the prisoners in the stadium, the poem was written on a paper that was hidden inside a shoe of a friend. The poem was never named, but is commonly known as Estadio Chile.
In June 2008, Chilean judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes re-opened the investigation into Jara’s death. Judge Fuentes said he would examine 40 new pieces of evidence provided by the singer’s family.  On May 28, 2009, José Adolfo Paredes Márquez, a 54-year-old former Army conscript arrested the previous week in San Sebastian, Chile, was formally charged with Jara’s murder. Following Paredes’ arrest, on June 1, 2009, the police investigation identified the name of the officer who first shot Víctor Jara in the head. The officer played Russian roulette with Jara, by placing a single round in his revolver, spinning the cylinder, placing the muzzle against Jara’s head and pulling the trigger. The officer repeated this a couple of times, until a shot fired and Víctor fell to the ground. The officer then ordered two conscripts (one of them Paredes) to finish the job, by firing into Jara’s body.  A judge ordered Jara’s body to be exhumed in an effort to determine more information regarding his death.
On December 3, 2009, a massive funeral took place in the “Galpón de Víctor Jara” across from “Plaza Brazil”. Jara’s remains were honoured by thousands. His remains were re-buried in the same place he was buried in 1973.

Víctor Jara’s legacy
Although the military regime managed to burn the vast majority of master recordings of Jara’s music, Joan Jara managed to sneak recordings out of Chile, which were later copied and distributed worldwide. Joan Jara later wrote an account of Víctor Jara’s life and music, titled Víctor: An Unfinished Song.
On September 22, 1973, the Soviet/Russian astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh named a newly found asteroid 2644 Víctor Jara, in honor of Víctor Jara’s life and artistic work.
American folksinger Phil Ochs, who met and performed with Jara during a tour of South America, organized a benefit concert in his memory in New York in 1974. Titled “An Evening With Salvador Allende”, the concert featured Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Ochs.
An East German biographical movie called El Cantor (the Singer) was made in 1978. It was directed by Jara’s friend Dean Reed, who also played the part of Jara.
Dutch-Swedish singer-songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk recorded “Blues för Victor Jara” on his album Bananer – bland annat in 1980.
In the late 1990s British actress Emma Thompson started to work on a screenplay, which she planned to use as the basis for a movie about Víctor Jara. Thompson, a human rights activist and fan of Jara, considered the political murder of the Chilean artist as a symbol of human rights violation in Chile. She believed a movie about Jara’s life and death would make more people aware of the Chilean tragedy.  The movie would feature Antonio Banderas – another fan of Víctor Jara – as Jara himself where he would sing some of his songs and Emma Thompson as Víctor Jara’s British wife Joan Jara.  The project has not yet been made into a film.
The Soviet musician Alexander Gradsky created the rock opera Stadium (Стадион, Stadion) in 1985 based on the events surrounding Jara’s death.  The Southwestern American band Calexico open their 2008 album Carried to Dust with the song “Victor Jara’s Hands”.  Portuguese folk band Brigada Víctor Jara is named after him.