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Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013

Juaneco y su Combo: The Birth of Jungle Cumbia (Vital Records)

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 Peru’s Juaneco y su Combo began by playing rumbas and polkas to oil workers in the Amazon jungle, but by the late ’60s new influences changed their direction. Dressed up in the feathers and robes of the local Indian tribes, the Combo replaced the accordion with a Farfisa organ and added electric guitar with a fuzztone edge—all the while maintaining the wiry, percussive Latin rhythms favored in the region. The result wasn’t rock and can’t really be called psychedelic (although some writers have tried), but is a delightful eccentricity, a tropical dance band with uniquely ’60s flavors.