Chicha Libre is a Brooklyn collective made up of French, American,
Venezuelan and Mexican musicians who play a mixture of Latin rhythms and psychedelia inspired, in part, by Peruvian vintage cumbia.
Chicha refers to Peru’s particular brand of electric cumbia first made popular in the late ’60s in Lima and the Amazon. While loosely inspired by Colombian cumbia, chicha incorporated Peruvian melodies, psychedelic effects, British Rock, Californian surf music, some Cuban son and everything in between—an oddly post-modern combination that was close in spirit to the Congolese rumba of Franco or the pop syncretism of Os Mutantes.
Chicha Libre started out in 2006 as a tribute to Peruvian pioneers but quickly evolved into an original project which MTV cited as one of the world’s preeminent Tropical Psychedelic band. Indeed, while they remain true to their Chicha roots, Chicha Libre’s music has taken a definitely more psychedelic turn drawing more and more from its members’ alternative background.
Chicha Libre’s music has been featured on various TV shows and
independent movies including Homeland, Weeds and The Michael J Fox show as well as an appearance on a Simpsons 20th anniversary special in which they were asked to play the Simpsons theme “chicha” style alongside the likes of Red Hot Chili Pepper and ZZ Top.