Under the direction of lead guitarist Enrique Delgado, Los Destellos (the sparkles, like a star) are pretty much known as the founders of Cumbia Peruana circa 1966. Now I am pretty sceptical about using the word chicha to define their genre of music. I feel that chicha is more associated with 70’s and 80’s transient Andean cumbia, a music that is probably rooted more in Amerindian sounds, beliefs and the harshness of the Amerindian experience (hardship, displacement, lament). Whether they influenced the chicha movement later on or became part of it by default, I’m not 100% sure. However, Los Destellos appear to be more part of the Lima Mestizo culture (mixture of Indian/Spanish blood). And can be reflected in the way which their sounds fuse Latin boogaloo, psychedelic rock, soul, Colombian cumbia, tropical and indigenous music in a whole host of ways.
Charangos(Andean mandolins), requintos, and guitars are a huge part of Peruvian musical culture. Tavern life is filled with them supposedly. So any transition to a modern sound would probably have been seem-less for a group like the guitar laden Destellos. And Peruvian music at this time seems to really embrace the electric guitar. The Cumbia Morenais a great example of them playing a traditional Colombian cumbia with this more electric sound. Whereas, the Boogaloo De Los Destellos almost sounds like a Latin version of the American psychedelic rock band The Byrds. With an electric 12 string and the highly melodic guitar playing, it reminded me instantly of Roger Mcguinn’s style.
The albums I’m posting are in order by catalogue number. I have a few other LP’s that should be in this group, but I have seemed to have misplaced them. Maybe I’ll amend this post if I ever find them. But for the most part this is pretty good discography and I am trying to run the entire gamut of sounds Los Detellos produced. On a side note I know that from looking at some of the musicians in the band that they show up in other groups on the Odeon/Iempsa label. The dude playing the bongos is in Los Orientales De Paramonga. Perhaps they were session musicians at the time.
Arequipa is a the second largest city in Peru and is way up in the Andean Mountains. This song is a pretty traditional number. You’re probably more likely to hear this tune being played by Andean pan-pipe and poncho musicians. Definitely on the chicha tip this one.
Garuais the dry winds that hit the lower western slopes of the Andes creating a low-level of cloud. Within the Andes Mountains the garua blocks out the sun for the cooler six months of the year, and there is almost no rainfall during this period. With the title, this instrumental song sounds almost like something the Ventures would do. Surf/garage music was pretty big in Peru in the early 60’s. Groups like Los Saicos, Los Shains, Los Yorks, Los Doltons are to name a few.
Hands down my all time favorite record of Los Destellos. In fact, I like it so much I began to eat to lower right hand corner of the album cover. Peep the break beat ballad Tu Donde Estas (where are you?), it’s a hip-hop track waiting to be copped.
I probably have 3 more Los Destellos records, but like always, their later stuff just isn’t as good. Apparently Los Destellos had a resurgence of popularity in the 80’s that lasted until Enrique Delgado died in the early 90’s. The band still performs today, but I believe it’s the widowed wife of Enrique who runs the band now. If I find any more records of theirs, I’ll amend the post. Also, thanks to all the Japanese viewers as of late who have been vibing this site. Word!