The Downfall of Machismo in Peruvian Garage Rock

lasamigasdenadie2In researching Peruvian music, I’ve recently become aware of a certain unspoken phenomenon. Within the last ten to fifteen years, the female presence in rock, electronic and punk music has just become overwhelming. This doesn’t seem to be one of those intentional and actively-staged rebellions but, rather, a natural progression; one which is very logical when one examines all of the things that already make Peru so spiritedly independent amongst other Latin American countries. Basically, the cosmic beard fest that tends to envelop the bulk of the louder electro, rock, garage, metal and punk music throughout the Americas has a much less fierce pull in this particular area of the world. And that’s really a good thing.

Much like in Japan, the role reversal in music has become very apparent in these recent years. As the popularity of tamer( less angry) indie rock, pop and acoustic music has reared it’s ugly head from up in the States all the way down the mighty Pacific, hordes of young Peruvian lads have jumped up on the bandwagon with shy hopes of becoming the next “Matchbox Viente” or “Los Hermanos Jonas”. And, meanwhile, while these fine young caballeros are busy working on their full-body waxes and G7 chords, las chicas have had to pick up the slack. Now, this isn’t to say that this surge of feminine mystique in Peruvian music is limited to only the loud stuff. But I just happen to find this particular phenomenon to be very interesting.

Area7And the coolest thing about it is that these artists are, for the most part, completely DIY. Moving around between the gamut of heavily supportive Lima music venues such as La Casa del Auxilio and La Noche de Barranco, the ladies of Rock Peruano have largely financed their passions independent of outside support. And that’s indeed the vibe that one picks up on most often when engaging with live music here in Peru.

Take for example the dynamite chica ensemble known as “Las Amigas de Nadie”(“The Friends of No One”). Not only are they an incredibly inventive and stylistic sort of garage rock/synth act. But they are, in themselves, a dynamite cluster of widespread talent; a supergroup of some of Lima’s premiere unsung musical wildcats. Their composite members pull from brilliant solo acts “GALATEA” and “Ale Hop Hop” as well as the brand-new all-girl rock trio “Las Cocots” and ferocious feline heavy metal five-piece “Area 7”. “Las Amigas…” are hard at work right now, being awesome and raising money for their eponymous debut album. Fans of “The Pixies”, “Cap’n Jazz” and “C.S.S.” should definitely take note. I think their song “Quiero Ser Hardcore”(“I Want To Be Hardcore”) really says it all.

sonoradioOn another frontier of the musical spectrum, you have female-fronted electro-punk band “Sonoradio”. Crossing musical boundaries and adding unique production flairs, Sonoradio is sure to do great things as they involve into Peru’s next “Daft Punk”. If you’ve been grooving on “Angelspit”, “Portishead” and “Imogen Heap” lately, I would definitely recommend letting yourself get sucked in by the lurid mysticism of Joi’s breathtaking vocal diatribes in lo-fi. Oh, and did I mention that you can download their entire LP for free?!… No jonesin!!… And if that’s not a shining example of the anti-corporate, DIY spirit, then I don’t know what is.

One should also take note of the curt bubblegum vignettes of “CelesteVioleta”, the dark and moody allure of “Pamela Llosa”, and the multiple electronic, acoustic and gore-grind efforts of the unabashedly charming “Adri Vainilla”. That is, if you like your music how I like my coffee… with girls in it.

Justin Leonard

there are two things that I like. And one of those things is being a cherub with a harp. And the other is making love to YOU. There are TWO things that I like. Justin Leonard is an American record producer currently volunteering as a contributor to the Perupedia project in Lima, peru. He has been in the employ of recording studios, live music venues, radio stations and his family's funeral business since 1999. He also performs music under the alias "Twin Peaks". His main interests include Bruce Springsteen, Anthony Bourdain and push-ups. Sometimes, he feels like a motherless child... a long way from home.

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