The authentic and legendary musicians creators of Peruvian Chicha and Amazonian Cumbia are back on stage!
LOS WEMBLER'S de Iquitos/ Peru (live)
Los Wembler’s were responsible for some of the first hits of the psychedelic cumbia genre - including the iconic “Sonido Amazonico” and “Danza del Petrolero”, two titles later covered by Los Mirlos.
Los Wember's were an essential part of both volumes of The Roots of Chicha and there couldn’t be a more appropriate band to celebrate the revival of chicha and psychedelic cumbia.
In 1968, in Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon, a shoemaker named Solomon Sanchez decided to form a band with his five sons. They were the first band in the Amazon to play popular local rhythms with electric guitars. The new hybrid they were creating would go on to have an enormous impact on South American popular music. Some of their songs, such as Sonido Amazonico or Danza del Petrolero became the most emblematic of this new cumbia amazonica movement.
The brothers were born and raised in Iquitos - the largest isolated city in the world. Iquitos boasts close to half a million inhabitants, but its nearest road is six days away by boat. The river and the forest are a big part of the culture, but the city remains a large urban center. Indigenous folklore and urban living have created a singular culture with the river dolphin and the moto-taxi as its primary symbols.
The brothers’ main link to the outside world was the radio. In addition to their daily diets of Tahuampa, Pandillas and Criollo waltzes, long wave radio broadcasts would expose them to Colombian Cumbia, Brazilian Carimbo, Ecuadorian SanJuanitos, Venezuelan joropos – and psychedelic rock.
Curious to a fault, and willing to experiment, Los Wembler’s managed to incorporate all these styles in their playing. They loved Pinduca’s Brazilian Carimbó and covered some of his songs. Same with Ecuador’s Polibio Mayorga, who was also mixing local rhythms with tropical imports. Most of all, they loved the sound of electric guitars – especially with a wah pedal.
Cumbia proved to be the most popular and most adaptable rhythm and it became the key element in their music. Their very first tune was called Cumbia Amazonica, which became the name of the music itself. The band’s name itself reflected both their traditional roots and their foreign influences.
For the past thirty years, Los Wembler’s had mostly remained in the Amazonian city of Iquitos, playing local functions, but there has been a revival of interest for the band, both in and out of Peru. They have collaborated with Peruvian electro cumbia group Dengue Dengue Dengue, have been covered by Los Mirlos, Chicha Libre, Firewater and others, and inspired countless new bands across the Americas and Europe.