Boomkat Product Review:
Genius Peruvian cumbia from Berardo Hernández (better known as Manzanita) who led the '70s scene with an electrified personal style that drunk up US psychedelia and crossed it with Cuban guaracha rhythms. Next level!
Manzanita ascended to notoriety as part of Lima's popular cumbia scene, but had grown up in Trujillo, 500 miles further up the coast where he had been surrounded by Spanish, African and indigenous music that was embedded into the city's DNA. His music was informed by this background, and he fused these sounds with the illicit rock 'n roll that had been banned from the radio in 1968 after a military coup.
When foreign music was banned however, there was suddenly an explicit need for local bands - who had been raised on electric guitar music - who mixed Cuban sounds with rock guitar playing. The result was Peruvian cumbia, and Manzanita was at the center of the genre. This collection combines some of his most important work, recorded at a series of sessions in 1973 and '74 before he withdrew from the music industry.
Listening now it sounds surprisingly contemporary. Manzanita's fusion of sounds is prophetic in many ways, and his virtuoso playing is hard to ignore. The disc captures a golden age of Peruvian music that's hard to grasp from the other side of the world: it's an absolute treat. Seriously exceptional summer soundtrax.