Los Mirlos add rock flavors to Peruvian cumbia | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Los Mirlos add rock flavors to Peruvian cumbia


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Many an artist claims to have psychedelic or surf influences, whether you can hear them or not. But in the case of Los Mirlos those flavors are immediately obvious. The septet, formed in Lima, Peru, in 1971, play cumbia amazónica, a tropical subgenre of Peruvian cumbia that reflects the life and customs of the region. They’re all excellent musicians, but their secret weapon is lead guitarist Danny López, who plays with a slight tremolo that calls to mind instrumental-rock greats such as Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, and the Ventures. The electric guitar dominates Los Mirlos’ sound in a way seldom heard in traditional cumbia, but the rock influence enhances the stew instead of watering it down. The band call their sound “party music,” and though it may not be as ebullient as you’d expect from that description, its languid rhythms have a way of catching up with you on the dance floor.   v

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