In its isolated cities, cut off from the fashions of the capital, a unique style of
music began to develop, inspired equally by the sounds of the surrounding
forests, the roll of the mighty Amazon and Ucayali Rivers, and the rhythms of
cumbia picked up from distant stations on transistor radios. With the arrival of
electricity, a new generation of young musicians started plugging in their guitars
and trading in their accordions for synthesizers: Amazonian cumbia was born.
Powered by fast-paced timbale rhythms, driven by spidery, treble-damaged guitar
lines, and drenched in bright splashes of organ, Amazonian cumbia was like a
hyperactive distant cousin of surf music crossed with an all-night dance party in
the heart of the forest. While many of the genre's greatest tracks were
instrumental, and others were simple celebrations of life in the jungle, the goal of
every song was to keep the party going.
Radio stations in Lima remained unaware of the new electric sounds emanating
from the jungle, but a handful of pioneering record producers ventured over the
mountain passes to the cities of Tarapoto, Moyobamba, Pucallpa – even Iquitos,
a city reachable only by boat or plane – and lured dozens of bands to the
recording studios of the capital to lay down their best tracks. Although many
became local hits, few were ever heard outside the Amazonian region … until now.
With eighteen tracks from some of the greatest names in Amazonian cumbia,
Perú Selvatico is both the improbable soundtrack to a beach party on a banks of
the Amazon and a psychedelic safari into the sylvan mysteries of the Peruvian