Let's talk Latin America

Music focus: Perotá Chingó

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BristoLatino editor Becca Wilson on the Argentinian group Perotá Chingó and their ongoing musical journey.

In 2011, Julia Ortiz and Dolores Aguirre decided to travel the Uruguayan coast, hitchhiking with a guitar and their fearless voices. Friends for 20 years, Juli and Lola both come from the porteño northern coast of Rio de la Plata. Perotá Chingó began by chance one evening in Cabo Polonio, when musician Pocho Álvarez, who had heard them singing a few hours prior, invited them to sing on his doorstep. As the sun set, they performed Ríe chinito. A video of the performance was uploaded to YouTube months afterwards and it garnered a huge and positive response, particularly in Argentina and Chile. Their fans were begging for more music, despite the fact that the band did not yet officially exist. In December 2011, Martin Dacosta and Diego Cotelo joined the project on percussion and guitar respectively, marking the official formation of the group.

Perotá Chingó’s music is inspired by travel, discovery and an ongoing exchange of music and culture. Their repertoire employs a wide variety of rhythms, styles and artists: from traditional folkloric songs from across Latin America, to their own adventurous compositions, to those of friends and family. Their crossing of geographical and social boundaries has allowed them to encounter new experiences and sounds, which they then invite into their music. The music revolves around the voice, mirroring the oral tradition central to Latin American folklore. Their voices are resilient; straying from one another only occasionally, but largely fusing together to create the illusion of one voice of conviction. Indeed, much of their charm comes from the way they blend naturally with one another. Similarly, the instruments are used as a means for steering the song, rather than demanding individual attention.

The band members each have their own particular musical interests which impact not only their song choices, but also the colouring of the group’s sound. The influence of Argentinian sambas and chacareras, Uruguayan candombes, Venezuelan joropos, Brazilian sambas and Chilean popular music can all be heard. Their covers include Ando lejos, a song by the beloved Argentinian rock band Los Piojos, and the world famous Mexican bolero: Bésame mucho.

Watching the band play together is key to appreciating their sound and their message. So in tune with one another and so calm, yet on an adventure far greater than most popular artists.

Listen to Ríe Chinito here