linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


headed home

not to cambridge. to wayneandwax.com.

so, my dear dear readers'n'referrers, plz update your links and follow me over this-a-way >>

let's keep the conversation going. shit, let's take it up a notch.

see you after the jump.


ps -- new feeds, too: rdf rss rss2 atom -- but do poke around.


ni chicha ni limonada

in pursuing the chacalonero thread further, i've been in conversation with joshua tucker, an ethnomusicologist at UT-austin (and the guy previously in my shoes), who knows a thing or two about music in peru.

clearing up some of my questions about sr. chacalon jr. -- that link, btw, dates "perreo chacalonero" to at least feb/05! -- as well as about chicha more generally (the music, that is), joshua has helped me to hear the phenomenon in better context:
First, I can't help but notice that the song itself is remarkably similar in form and tone to "Mesa que mas aplauda," which was huge in Peru a couple of years ago, when it was huge all over Latin America. (If you don't know it, it's here. And I'm sure the story behind it's floating around on the internet as well.) Rooted in chicha sounds instead of merengue, but still, the procedure, such as it is, seems to be the same, and the themes of over-the-top sexuality fit pretty well.

As for the whole Chacalon link, I can't help but think that the popularity of this Chacalon Jr. (who I have never otherwise heard of) has surged since the (really good) telenovela about his father aired last year. I can't help but wonder of he was making chicha music until pretty recently, when reggaeton arrived in Peru (in c. 2003-4), and that any success he's got is piggybacking on his ability to market himself in his father's name.

Which is interesting, because this thing, and the whole reggaeton phenomenon in Peru generally, fits very obviously and perfectly with chicha's earlier position. Despite the whole academic fuss over chicha being a kind of hybrid fusion of the Andes and the international sphere, it's important to remember that the actual listeners didn't, and don't, hear it that way: they hear it as a local variant of cumbia, nothing more. That is, it was a very deliberate identification with (tropical) pan-Latin (working-class) musical currents instead of any locally available identities, on the part of Lima's poorest sectors. This video, of the kids onstage, looks EXACTLY like a chichodrome: I mean it is one, or it probably becomes one on another night of the week, and this music is catering to exactly the same audience that chicha catered to a generation beforehand.

And what's FURTHER interesting, actually, is looking at that in light of the debate that you link to - look at post number 280, where a woman upbraids Chacalon Jr. for not making music like his father, saying "esa si fue musica," when in fact, until say, ONE YEAR AGO, the general reaction to Chacalon's chicha was pretty similar to the rejection of perreo you see on that list - in class/intellectual (the same thing in Peru) terms that is: the erotic element wasn't there in chicha's dismissal, but the overtones of moral panic were (linked to generic gang violence and hoodlumism instead).

Only other thing I can really think to say is that I'm pretty sure this came from a DVD being sold on the street in Peru - they all start with that same film-reel thing.

muy interesante, no? (not to mention generous, joshua, thx again.) after señor tucker asked if i had any additional, more specific questions, i shot him the following:
I do have one specific question. Not knowing much about chicha, I wonder if you could point me to the particular features of "Perreo Chacalonero" that signify chicha. Is it a pretty typical example? Save for the vocals? I'm assuming that the "perreo" thing comes from reggaeton, but there's little about the track that points to reggaeton other than those references. Is there anything particularly atypical about the musical backing?

to which, he graciously replied:
...the sound of a wah-wah guitar like that, especially with the light, nominally "tropical" percussion underneath, in a Peruvian context instantly signifies "chicha" to the (this) listener. Chicha was a local version of cumbia, made by and for Lima's expanding "popular" sector (in the Latin American sense of the word - working-class), almost 100% composed of Andean migrants, beginning in the late sixties, becoming stylistically consolidated through the seventies, and dominating the Peruvian "popular" music scene in the eighties. It basically took some key elements of pan-Latin cumbia as it existed at that time - light "tropical" percussion, the basic eighth-and-two-sixteenths rhythmic pattern - and substituted electric guitars, later keyboards as well, for the melodic instruments typical of cumbia. According to most academic analyses, performers also took some of the elements of Andean melodies, and it's true that they occasionally arranged (folk-pop) huaynos, and also that many chicha melodies use the same waffling between relative major/minor modes that's used in huayno music. However, it was perceived, like I say, more as a link to an international, pan-Latin musical stream, a local variant of cumbia, than anything else. And it was reviled by Peruvian elites: today, the word "chicha" has expanded to be somewhat equivalent to the English term "white trash," it denotes everything
esthetically and socially unacceptable about the lowbrow masses among the plebe, from the perspective of Peru's (self-)perceived economic/intellectual creme.

Oh, performers also adopted the stage presence, coordinated moves, and outlandish matching costumes of cumbia stars:

You can see and hear the greatest of chicha bands, Los Shapis, looking older and more rotund than in their heyday but sounding exactly the same, here - and check it out, before the clip begins, you get a little promo for the production company with a number of musical figures and the words "supporting what's ours," and that your guy, Chacalon Jr appears there alongside Los Shapis:

So, in that example, you hear the classic chicha guitar sound, and the classic percussion: clean and stripped-down, respectively (btw, as with Mexican cumbia et al, salseros and other aficionados of esthetically/politically "engaged" musica tropical loathe this stuff for its simplicity/childishness, depending on how you perceive it). Later bands did use a wah-wah kind of sound, but I think it might also have become more prominent in chicha's nineties-era reincarnation, as tecnocumbia. Tecno- here has nothing to do with Detroit: in Peru, it's appended to any musical tradition that's traded acoustic for electric instrumentation, especially if it uses a drum machine to replicate "tropical" percussion (hence, tecno-huayno and tecno-huaylas). Tecnocumbia came around in the mid-nineties, and like Raul Romero notes in his article in the collection From tejano to tango, it was kind of extraordinary to the extent that it bridged the gap between what had been fairly strictly demarcated ethnic/racal listening communities. That is, for a while: up until about 2001, it was listened to by people of all kinds in Peru, at all places on the race/class spectrum: however, between the time that I lived Ayacucho from June-August of 2000, and when I returned in August of 2001, it had pretty much faded back to radio aimed at the "popular" sector.

But what's funny is, tecnocumbia was just repackaged/re-marketed chicha! Like Raul says in that article, it was basically chicha that had been de-Andeanized, had the key signifiers of Andean migrant-ness removed from it. The music was presented as being from the Amazon (a place just recently developing in the Peruvian consciousness as a peopled part of the nation), or alternatively the north coast, and many tecnocumbia bands were simply chicha groups that had traded in their (highly chicha-connotative) electric guitars for keyboards (I think that's a direct quote from Raul).

This didn't fool everybody, and a lot of people just kept calling it all chicha. Also, I should note that some people will almost certainly insist that some of these bands that converted into tecnocumbia groups were never "chicha" groups, but rather "cumbia norteña" groups, such as Agua Marina. Again, whatever interest people on the north coast might have in dissociating themselves from the "chicha" label, the music was pretty much the same stuff - you tell me:

Anyway, this is based on half-remembered impressions, but it seems to me that many tecnocumbia bands have made more liberal use of the wah-wah sound than happened in chicha per se: but the line bleeds pretty thin here.

I'm glad you also find nothing here that points to reggaeton - I couldn't see it either, but I figured you're the expert as far as that goes! About what's atypical - I've never seen this approach in any Peruvian music, to have one repeated musical figure (sample?), over which the (frankly, lazy) vocalist does nothing but exhort the dancers/listeners and repeat the name of the song. Both of those things - the (highly "performed") laziness of the vocalist (DJ?) and the repetition of the actual track title - are what made me think of "Mesa que mas aplauda." Oh, and the sex. I just can't believe it's coincidental: it's true that Peruvian tecno- bands (of whatever ilk) always have "animadores," guys who encourage the audience to dance and drink and such, but they're always supporting a vocalist that actually sings.

Anyway, I hope that's interesting/helpful to you as well - feel free to put any of it up, noting the caveat that I don't know anything about this track and am out on a limb a bit...

i can't say that i have much to add to joshua's thoughtful, thorough comments. i suppose the features he identifies at the end -- heavy repetition, a DJ exhorting dancers, explicit sexual content (and called "perreo" at that) -- are the most likely to have been borrowed from or inspired by reggaeton (if not reggae -- weh yuh seh, fire links?). i've been wondering about reggaeton in peru for a minute now, both b/c i'm curious about the genre's spread beyond the caribbean and the US and b/c afro-peruvian singer susana baca (who sells her music digitally via calabash, btw) is here in chicago this week. one thing i happened upon not long ago which confirmed, if somewhat implicitly, the popularity of reggaeton in peru is this piece, in which daddy yankee endorses music piracy and we're told that his hotel in lima is mobbed by fans.

but how clearly can we connect the "perreo chacalonero" to reggaeton? i'm not sure. little if any of the discourse i've seen on any of these video comments, message boards, etc., seem to figure reggaeton in the debate. instead people focus on the (im)morality of the dance, the "lowness" of such cultural practices, and the attendant inferiority of this or that national or social or cultural group. considering how reggaeton animates similar debates in PR, DR, cuba, and the US, it's interesting that it hasn't been more implicated -- as a corrupting outside agent, sin duda -- in all the chatter 'bout the chacalonero.


¡pooh bear, yo le conozco apenas!

as some attentive, clicky readers might have noticed in my last post about the exploding latin american youtubosphere, i finished by asking how to say "omg!" in spanish, pointing to yet another video that leads to dozens of videos. that one, however, goes well beyond the "yasuri yamileths" out there, demonstrating -- with well-known cartoon and kids-show characters no less (para niños!?!) -- the latest dance craze to sweep latin america, or at least peru: the "perreo chacalonero"!

now, many of you are probably familiar with the perreo, the aptly-named doggy-style dance that goes hand-in-hand (torso-in-torso?) with reggaeton. scandalizing older generations and bucking middle-class mores, the dance was apparently banned for a short time by the PR govt, a move which seems only to have popularized it further. plenty of clubbers will recognize the dance as simply the sort of grinding or freaking that has been a staple of (american, if not global) club culture for some time now.

at any rate, the perreo chacalonero is a variation on the perreo which features far more explicit moves, if that can be imagined. it's about as public an example of simulated sex as one can get. according to this news clip (whose exxxplicit footage requires one to be registered on youtube to see it -- tho this one doesn't), the perreo chacalonero has become an "escandalo" in peru and, if one goes with the sensationalist rhetoric, is provoking moral panic in chile and argentina. (as one can see from the comments on that vid, it has also offered an opening for a class-tinted, historically-fraught flame war between chileans and peruanos, among others -- and there's more along those lines in various other comment threads. [thx to galeb numa for the navigation and explication!])

interestingly, like so many other viral video dance crazes, the perreo chacalonero appears to be tied to a specific track (by papa chacalon and/or his son, chacalon jr -- still tryna track that down), though there seems to be a wider genre of recordings which seem to inspire this sort of drrty drrty dancing. the phenomenon thus represents yet another localization of the reggaeton template, bringing in andean/cumbia elements and making connections to other local pop (though, admittedly, i need to listen and learn a lot more before i make any more grand musical-analytical statements -- any especialistas out there want to offer an opinion?).

videos of the latest forbidden dance have also, as with yasuri yamileth and chacarron, elicited no small number of parodies and DIY take-offs, including versions featuring legos and plenty of gleeful homoeroticism.

but the pooh bear footage takes the cake. ¡aydiosmio!


we are all yasuri yamileth

^^that's the latest latin american viral video (or the latest that i'm hopelessly late to). actually, it's but the tip of the iceberg. raquel sent me the link, which i took at first to be some sort of underground reggaeton video (which it sort of is). despite its cartoonishness, the production was low-fi enough and the performance serious enough -- and the location oh-so ghetto credful -- that it pulled off a kind of verisimilitude. but then i saw the "related videos," one after another, none of which kept as straight a face as the above.

getting into the act are lil kids (yasuritos!), and moms (in the kitchen, no less), plenty of teens (from venzuela to canada), groucho marx, and some apparently rather popular cross-dressing pals (brace yourself for that one). there's even already a highlight reel, containing clips from most of those i've mentioned:

removing much of the mystery, raquel also sent a link to a page on wikipedia, fwiw (which, yes, should go w/o saying), offering a persuasive account of the song's origins, a surprisingly (suspiciously?) detailed story about its digital distribution (naming specific bloggers and message boards), as well as a complete transcription of the lyrics. As the entry tellingly tells it:
In Venezuela, Yasuri Yamileth is a huge success because people identify that name as someone from low class with bad manners. The song is played even in the most exlcusive nightclubs
everyone can identify with a good stereotype about poor people then, no? que bueno. i don't mean to be glib. clearly there are diverse modes of reception/reproduction being expressed across these videos, ranging from the celebratory and sympathetic to the exploitative and derisive (with plenty in between and beyond). but the song appears to have been invented as a distancing gesture, and the gilette razor, chorizo, and bachata references keep yasmuri yamileth squarely, even as she shimmies, in the realm of the other -- a paradoxical outcome of such a self-identified song. mi nombre es, mi nombre es, mi nombre es...

it reminds me a bit of the reaction i got from an ethno colleague who works on brazil when i asked him about the popularity of funk in broader brazilian society. "it became this slumming thing," he said...
In 2000 or so, when funk took over Carnaval and threatened to replace the usual marchinhas and other trad musics, it was not popular with [upper class kids], but aspiring thugs, trouble-makers and malandros (and maybe the real ones, too). Then, like 5 years later, it returned, pretty much sounding the same, and found a new demographic. Parents got a wee bit nervous that little Patty and Maurice were going to get into trouble via the new music, especially how they were dancing!
not to see this as equivalent exactly, but there's something unnerving in the classface minstrelsy, if you will, parading around on youtube in second-hand short-shorts. at the end of the downloading day, is this just a bunch of kids (and adults) dancing to the equivalent of a kevin federline / paris hilton song?

at any rate, i'm grateful for that wiki entry b/c i'm afraid i just don't have time right now to hunt down, a la chacarron, the various strands swirling around yasuri yamileth. i find it pretty remarkable all the same.

performance and representation of class, race, gender, and sexuality aside, this latest musically-propelled meme ricocheting around the youtubosphere calls attn yet again to what sure seems like a sea change in the media environment. (indeed, i'm tempted to call it the media "ecology" based on the way these things seem to sustain each other, grow in unpredictable ways, cross-fertilize, etc.) from local dance crazes to DIY dramas, vlogs and lonelygirls, and "home movies" of all sorts, the age of peer2peer television is upon us.

let's hope the world keeps getting wired so the real yasuri yamileths will find a way to get out, get free, get even.


ps -- unrelated (sorta), pero como se dice omg! en espanol?


the bolívar doctrine

check out chavez, who's got another book for ya, speaking to time:

TIME: Do your feelings about Bush reflect your feelings toward America in general?

CHAVEZ: No. I revere America as the nation of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Mark Twain--who was a great anti-imperialist, who opposed U.S. adventurism in the Spanish-American War.

TIME: You often speak of the link between U.S. foreign policy and its appetite for oil.

CHAVEZ: Bush wanted Iraq's oil, and I believe he wants Venezuela's oil. The blame for high oil prices lies in the consumer model of the U.S. Its reckless oil consumption is a form of suicide.

TIME: You said recently that you believe the "Bolívar Doctrine is finally replacing the Monroe Doctrine" on your watch. Why?

CHAVEZ: For two centuries in this hemisphere we've experienced a confrontation between two theses--America's Monroe Doctrine, which says the U.S. should exercise hegemony over all the other republics, and the doctrine of Simón Bolívar, which envisioned a great South American republic as a counterbalance. Bush has spread the Monroe thesis globally, to make the U.S. the police of the world--if you're not with us, he says, you're against us. We're simply doing the same now with the Bolívar thesis--a doctrine of more equality and autonomy among nations, more equilibrium of power.


por ejemplo, dale correa!:

and see, and, and,