Money Chicha, the Austin based band featuring members of the GRAMMY-award winning Latin orchestra Grupo Fantasma and its offshoot funk outfit Brownout, are proud to announce their new album Chicha Summit (out October 15 on Vampisoul). The 12-track album consists of two thematic sides. Side A represents Money Chicha’s expression and interpretation of traditional Chicha music alongside one of its architects Jose Carballo, while Side B showcases all original compositions recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios. The album also features some of the band’s close knit Austin collaborators including Colombian American musician and vocalist Kiko Villamizar and Colombian percussionist Victor Cruz (Nemegata).
The album title Chicha Summit is very fitting. As Greg Gonzalez of the band details, “Chicha Summit is a reference to the various tours and SXSW day party events we put together which featured a wide variety of Cumbia/Chicha influenced music groups. We felt that the two sides of the album represented the two sides of our music repertoire, interpretations of the classics of the genre from bands such as Chacalon, Los Destellos, Los Mirlos, and Manzanita and our own music which is deeply informed and inspired by these songs. In many ways the phrase is a great metaphor, the summit being the place where these two faces meet at an apex of expression.”
A 2018 Chicha Summit in Los Angeles was also the first meeting between Money Chicha and Jose Luis Carballo. Carballo is one of the most influential Chicha guitarists in Peru. Starting in 1973, he played lead guitar for Angel Anibal’s group Los Hijos del Sol, whose hit, “Cariñito” was one of the earliest successful attempts at fusing Andean music and cumbia. He also led his own band La Mermelada. In the late 70’s, Jose Carballo went on to form La Nueva Crema (named after the band Cream) with back up singer Chacalon and they became the most beloved and most successful chicha band in Peru, before Chacalon passed away. During that Chicha Summit event, Gonzalez exchanged info with Carballo and was able to secure grant funding from the City of Austin to bring him over for a show, workshop, and recording session. The recording session at Beto Martinez’s Lechehouse Music Studio was just the beginning between the two, but unfortunately due to COVID-19, the collaboration opportunities were cut short.
Gonzalez explains, “The goal was to release two albums. One in mid 2020 of Jose Carballo/Money Chicha and another in early 2021 of Money Chicha originals from the Sonic Ranch Sessions. I secured another grant to bring Jose back in 2020 with the goal of doing another session as well as a video/audio recorded live performance that could be used to supplement the original content. As we all know, everyone’s plans changed in 2020. Not wanting to wait forever to put out a new album and unsure when we would be able to get back together with Jose, we decided to record videos of the band performing the studio songs with Jose recording his parts remotely. The results are a group of four videos filmed and edited by me. Because of the different phones/cameras/lighting involved in all of the different shots, the videos were rendered using cartoon like filters to create a visual continuity between all of the angles/shots.”
Side B was recorded at the iconic Sonic Ranch Studios in April 2019 after a gig at Marfa Myths in West Texas posed the perfect opportunity to lay down original tracks. Fuelled by mezcal and mescaline, the sessions produced an album’s worth of tracks. Some were the results of extended experimental jamming, while others were sketches that they fleshed out over 3 intense days of work. Rounding out the project was vocal tracking with Kiko Villamizar at his WEPA Studios to overdubs and Victor Cruz’s percussion at The Electric Basecamp Studio, and final mixing, making both sides sound cohesive, at Lechehouse Music.
As Money Chicha approaches its tenth year as a band, they continue to push the Chicha sound, paying homage to the pioneers, while evolving their own style that sounds modern and vintage at the same time. Gonzalez concludes “As a group we are super cohesive with our current band lineup and everyone now contributes to songwriting and each member’s unique voice really complements one another. We have a lot of fun pushing the boundaries of the genre while also diving deeper into the source and inspiration of the first ‘chicheros.’ It was also a pleasure to collaborate and learn from Jose, Kiko, and Victor. Each of whom are true masters of their craft and bring a depth of knowledge and understanding of Amazonian/Andean music that we have been honored to experience. Their experience and expression truly informed the music as much as our own South/Central Texas heritage and years of playing and studying this music.” He adds, “As a result we humbly offer this record as a tribute to our influences and ancestors and also a vision of their music which encompasses an even wider scope to include our own expressions and story.”
Watch Pacifico ft. Jose Luis Carballo: https://youtu.be/2XKaon2W9Xs
11/13 @ Bowlski’s Lakewood – Dallas, TX
11/20 @ Meanwhile Brewery – Austin, TX
12/11 @ Axelrad Beer Garden – Houston, TX