Jungle Cumbia for your soul: Chancha Via Circuito

Chancha Via Circuito will perform April 22 as part of the Gozamos 1-Year Anniversary celebration.

“The sense that I get is that of going towards the source, searching for the origin of the river´s flow”, says Pedro Canales about ‘Rio Arriba’, the title of his second recently-released album. The DJ producer known by his artistic alias ‘Chancha via Circuito’, is a member of  ZZK Records, an Argentinean collective that has practically single-handedly created the digital cumbia genre – mashed-up, remixed dance-club reinterpretations of melodies and rhythms originally born of African slaves  in Colombia. Canales continues to describe that the title is also a poetic symbol: “It´s wonderful to walk against the river’s current – it gets wilder and wilder and you go up the mountain.”

Speaking by phone from Argentina, he is actually also talking about the the sonic landscapes that inform his music, a collection of sounds gathered on travels from northeastern Argentina all the way to Bolivia and Peru (a trip he has repeated five times). An avid collector of wonderful and exotic sounds, he tapes material from urban landscapes as well as jungle paths – insects, animals, people talking, street vendors, even the calls of criers who hang from the buses of Bolivia yelling out the places they are going. “I am always listening for palettes of timbres that are unfamiliar”, he muses, “ I do love sounds that are surprising”. Every year he creates a new sound library, because once he´s used a sound, he does not like to repeat it. To the mix he adds afro-andean percussion, cumbias and even Patagonian folk music from the 60’s. The result is a powerful, nearly surreal rhythmic and electronic landscape that pulses with magical life forms and a touch of both the jungle and the Andes.

It’s always about the journey, says Canales, and even his artistic name is about getting from one place to another. Having always lived in José Marmol, a suburb of Buenos Aires, he has for years ridden the commuter train known as “Chancha Via Circuito¨ to get downtown to the clubs.  I wonder why it is called “the pig on a round track” and Chancha explains that the train was previously driven by a fat diesel engine, so it was nicknamed  “chancha”. And the route it takes is circular, hence the “Via Circuito.”

Chancha Via Circuito hopes the auditory journey he facilitates will live on in the listener, so that it’s more than music for dancing and entertainment: “I am always on the search for those perfect, special sounds that move something within me…and I like feeling that making music with those sounds I can generate something that feeds the soul.”

Chancha Via Circuito – Rio Arriba 2010 by zzkrecords

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