When friends form a band, an adventure begins. Nobody knows what’s about to happen. Everyone has their hopes and dreams. It used to be being signed to a record company, and releasing their debut album. Maybe, after a couple of albums, commercial success and critical acclaim will have come their way?
If that’s the case, their lives will have been transformed. They’ll have turned their back on the tedium and drudgery of everyday life. Replacing it, will be life split between recording studios and playing some of the most prestigious venues in planet music. That’s the dream. Hoping to live that dream are one of the rising stars of the Peruvian music scene, Bareto, whose new album Impredecible, will be released on the World Village label on November 27th 2015. Impredecible will be the fourth album Bareto have released since 2003.
The Bareto story began in Lima, Peru, back in 2003. That’s when four friends decided to form their own Cumbia band. Before long, this talented septet made tentative steps into the Peruvian musical scene.
Bareto began playing small venues in Lima. Soon, word was out. Here was a band that could, follow in the footsteps of two of the greatest Peruvian bands of the seventies, Black Sugar and Los Belkings. Already it seemed, Bareto’s star was in the ascendancy.
So in 2005, Bareto released their debut E.P. Ombligo. It featured three songs penned by Bareto, plus covers of Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloop Island and Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey. Quickly, the 500 copies of the Ombligo E.P. sold out, and nowadays, are prized items among collectors. After the success of their Ombligo E.P., Bareto’s thoughts turned to their debut album, Boleto.
Recording of Boleto took place at Lempsa Studios by Tato del Campo. By now, the Boleto had added a wind section and percussionist. The expanded lineup of Bareto recorded ten tracks. Most of these tracks were new song. That was apart from a cover of La del Brazo, which Peruvian rock band Fragil had made famous. However, Bareto’s version was quite different from the original.
That was the case with Boleto. Although Bareto were described as a Cumbia band, there’s much more to their music than that. Bareto flitted between and fused funk, punk, reggae, ska with tropical influences and Latin beats. This eclectic mixture of genres and influences became Boleto, Bareto’s debut album. Boleto was the first chapter in the Bareto story.
Just over two years later, and Bareto returned with their sophomore album Cumbia. Bareto it seemed, had returned to their musical roots. They had covered eleven popular Cumbia and Latin songs. There were Amazonian and Andean Cumbia songs on Bareto’s eagerly awaited sophomore album. It featured vocalists Wilindoro Cacique. With a new addition to their ranks, and songs that had commercial appeal, things were looking good for Bareto.
That proved to be the case. When Cumbia was released, it sold well. Within three months, Cumbia was certified gold. That was just the start of Cumbia’s success. Eventually, Cumbia was certified platinum. Bareto had arrived. After just two albums, Bareto had achieved what many bands never achieve…commercial success and critical acclaim. Despite this Bareto weren’t going to stand still.
Sodoma Y Gamarra.
As 2009 drew to a close, Bareto returned with a new E.P., Sodoma Y Gamarra. Although Cumbia, with its commercial sound had brought commercial success and critical acclaim Bareto’s way, the band had changed direction.
Rather than remake Cumbi, Bareto, like true musical chameleons, decided that their music should continue to evolve. Previously, Bareto had incorporated everything from funk, punk, reggae, ska with tropical influences and Latin beats to the various strains of Cumbia. This time around, Bareto decided to combine the various types of Peruvian music with world music. Sodoma y Gamarra proved a delicious musical cocktail from Cumbia pioneers Bareto.
Especially, when record buyers discovered that Dina Paucar had featured on La Distancia Bareto. It was one of the six songs on the Sodoma Y Gamarra E.P. It was released in late-2009.
On its release the Sodoma y Gamarra E.P. was well received by critics. It sold well, and the single No juegue con el diablo became part of the soundtrack to Los Exitosos Gomes. Bareto were well on their way to becoming one of the stars of Peruvian music. Now was the perfect time for Bareto to get their music heard further afield.
Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver.
Three years passed between the released of the Sodoma Y Gamarra E.P., and their third album Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver. Bareto’s fans were hungry for a new album. It had been four years since Bareto released Cumbia. However, Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver was well worth the wait.
For Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver, Bareto revisited ideas and sound from the past. They became the building blocks for Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver. These ideas were taken much further. That wasn’t surprising. Bareto were innovators. With producer Manuel Garrido-Leccca, Bareto fused Cumbia, reggae, psychedelia and dub with a variety of Latin influences with social comment. Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver was a groundbreaking, landmark album.
This became apparent when Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver was released. Before that, the lead single Camaleon, gave record buyers a tantalising taste of what to expect on Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver.
What record buyers discovered, was an album that critics and cultural commentators called Bareto’s finest hour. Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver was released to commercial success and widespread critical acclaim in Peru. However, Bareto were looking further afield.
While Bareto would never forget the Peruvian people, they wanted their music heard in other countries. The only way to do this was by touring. It’s what bands have been doing since the birth of modern music.
So Bareto headed off on tours of Japan, America and Brazil. During these tours, Bareto promoted their landmark album Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver. It was the album that saw Bareto make a breakthrough into foreign markets.
After Bareto toured Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver in Japan, America and Brazil, people started talking about Bareto. After nine long years, the talented septet from Lima were finding a wider audience. For many in the audience, they had never even heard Cumbia. This was a new experience. However, they like what they heard. Those who knew and loved Cumbia, realised that Bareto were unlike any other Cumbia band they had come across. Bareto’s music was ambitious, innovative and genre-melting. That’s why Bareto were nominated for one of the most prestigious prizes in music.
It wasn’t just critics, cultural commentators and record buyers who had been impressed by Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver. So were the judges of the Latin Grammy Awards. Bareto’s third album Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver had been nominated for a Latin Grammy Award. This was a huge honour. However, 2013 would be just as good for Bareto.
During 2013, Bareto played sold out shows across America. From Washington D.C. to New York, Connecticut, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. To round off 2013, Bareto were named Group of the Year in El Comercio’s end of year poll. Bareto were proud of this. El Comercio is regarded as Peru’s most important and influential newspaper. This showed how far Bareto had come in just nine years. They were now one of Peru’s biggest and most successful bands
Two years after releasing Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver, Bareto return with another album of ambitious, innovative and genre-hopping music. That’s the perfect way to describe Impredecible, the latest album from Bareto.
Recording of Impredecible took place in Lima, at Bareto’s own studio during April 2014. The seven members of Bareto, Joaquín Mariátegui, Bambam Giraldo, Rolo Gallardo, Sergio Sarria, Mauricio Mesones, Jorge Olazo and Miguel Ginocchio recorded eleven tracks with producer Felipe Álvarez. The sessions were laid-back affairs. Given the studio was Bareto’s, they didn’t need to hurry. They took their time, ensuring that Impredecible recorded a fitting followup to Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver. Once the album was complete, a friend of Bareto’s mixed it.
That friend was producer, engineer and musician Richard Blair, a.k.a. Sidestepper. He was based in Bogotá, Columbia. Richard began mixing what’s a typically eclectic selection of songs from Bareto.
It’s fair to say that no two songs on Impredecible are the same. Bareto combine disparate and eclectic musical genres and influences. This includes what Bareto describe as: “tropical indie, electronica, Cumbia and Afro-Peruvian” influences. That’s not all. Reggae and psychedelia can be heard on Impredecible. It’s delicious musical stew that should be tasted often. DJs and critics realised this when they heard the lead single.
La Voz del Sinchi had been chosen as the lead single. It was released just over a year ago, and found favour with DJs on both sides of the Atlantic. British DJ Gilles Peterson and Vice, Ransom Note and Remezcla stateside were all won over by La Voz del Sinchi. They eagerly awaited the release of Impredecible.
Now the release of Impredecible is only two weeks away. Impredecible sees Bareto joined by some of their firnds. This includes one of Peru’s top singers Susana Baca, and Novalima’s cajon player Cotito. They play their part in what’s a career defining album from Bareto, Impredecible.
Impredecible is the perfect title for Bareto’s new album. In English, it means unpredictable. That’s a perfect description of Bareto’s music. It’s a like a Magical Mystery Tour through disparate and eclectic musical genres and influences, with Bareto as your tour guide. It’s a case of sit back and enjoy the journey, as the Magical Mystery Tour begins.
Fittingly, Impredecible begins with Bareto paying homage to Cumbia music on La Voz del Sinchi. Being Bareto, it’s a Cumbia instrumental with a twist. Otherworldly and dubby describes this heady brew. Big bold beats, a bounding bass and a myriad of percussive delights are combined. Later a searing guitar cuts through the arrangement. Meanwhile, Bareto skank their way through La Voz del Sinchi, and in the process, whet your appetite for the rest of Impredecible.
La Pantalla (The Screen) literally explodes into life, and grabs your attention. Bareto’s rhythm section are at the heart of the action. The bass anchors the arrangement, and joins the percussion and space-age synths. Meanwhile, lyrics full of social comment are delivered with feeling. This isn’t new. On Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver, Bareto didn’t shy away from facing up to the problems of modern life. This time, Bareto have set their sites on protest against dumbed down television programs on this joyous, hook heavy songs
A lone strummed guitar is joined by a bass, percussion and guitar on El Impredecible. They accompany an impassioned vocal on The Unpredictable. It has a much more traditional folk-tinged sound. Mostly, the arrangement has an understated sound. This allows the heartfelt vocal to take centre-stage. Meanwhile, the guitar playing is intricate and considered. Later, the vocal grows in power and the tempo rises, and allows Bareto to showcase their considerable skills.
Two of Bareto’s “secret weapons” are the guitar and bass. Both play an important part in the tender ballad No Es Para Mí. As the guitar is strummed, the bass is considered. Every note is chosen with the utmost care. The vocal is heartfelt, with harmonies responding to the call. Meanwhile, an electric guitar wah-wahs, before some of the most intricate guitar motifs are played. They drop out, to be replaced by the vocal. It’s then replaced by feedback, which shrieks before being tamed and adding an experimental hue to this beautiful ballad.
Moody and cinematic describes the introduction to La Negra y el Fantasma. That has the listener hooked. Bareto then throw a curveball, when a reggae influence making its presence felt. As the arrangement skanks along, an impassioned, pleading vocal vocal is delivered. An accordion joins a crystalline guitar, percussion and a bass that’s at the heart of the arrangement. It provides the heartbeat during this genre-melting ballad.
Haunting. That’s a good way to describe Bombo Baile. It’s another track where numerous genres melt into one. Elements of Afro-Peruvian, country, electronica and dub melt into one as this captivating and haunting track gallops along. A myriad of effects are added, including a vocoder. The result is a lysergic sounding track that Lee “Scratch” Perry might well have produced.
Viejita Guarachera pays homage to The Specials’ Ghost Town. A rumbling bass, ratty drums and stabs of blazing horns play their part in this tribute. Then the tempo drops, and Bareto add Afro-Peruvian festejo rhythms. Later, the track becomes an adventure in the trippy, cinematic dub. Just like so many songs on Impredecible, it’s a musical adventure par excellence.
Mamá Motelo is reminiscent of the opening track, La Voz del Sinchi. Both are Cumbia instrumental with a vaguely futuristic sound. Again, it’s Cumbia with a twist. Here, Bareto add a surf influence. This comes courtesy of the guitar, which adds to the cinematic sound. The result is a track that sounds as if it belongs on the next Quentin Tarintino soundtrack.
El Loco sees Bareto joined by one of Peruvian music’s greatest vocalists Susana Baca. She’s accompanied by a chirping guitar and subtle percussion. When Susan’s vocals are multi-tracked at thirty-seven seconds, she sounds like Stevie Nicks. Surely, Bareto aren’t going to transform themselves into Fleetwood Mac? Anything it seems, is possible. That proves not to be the case. When the vocal drops out, effects are added and the the arrangement shimmers, becoming dubby. Then when Susana’s tender vocal returns, the bass and guitars accompany her. They’re a perfect foil for her, on what’s one of the highlights of Impredecible.
La Semilla (The Seed) has a noticeable Hawaiian influence. It comes courtesy of the rhythm section and guitars. This is apparent from the opening bars. Instantly, the listener is transported from Lima, Peru to Hawaii. They don’t even to buy a ticket. Another tender, impassioned vocal sits amidst the pounding rhythm section and deliberate guitars. It’s a potent and exotic brew, from Bareto.
País de las Maravillas closes Impredecible. A combination of futuristic sounds reach a frenzied crescendo. That’s the signal for dub, surf and Cumbia to melt into one. Later, there’s even a hint of reggae. It’s an unlikely combination, but one that works. There’s even a hint of reggae as musical shaman Bareto finish their fourth album on a eclectic, cinematic high.
That’s the story of Bareto’s fourth album Impredecible. It’s the much anticipated and eagerly followup to Ves Lo Que Quieres Ver. It was recorded in Bareto’s Lima studio in April 2014.
Bareto took their time, and didn’t hurry the recording of Impredecible. That shows. Impredecible is a carefully crafted album of eclectic songs. They draw inspiration from “tropical indie, electronica, Cumbia and Afro-Peruvian” influences. That’s not all. Reggae, psychedelia and dub can be heard. So can the Hawaiian and Latin influences. The result is a captivating and intriguing album, Impredecible will be released on the World Village label on November 27th 2015.
Impredecible is captivating and intriguing because you never know which direction the album is heading. Bareto throw curveballs aplenty. Each track is eagerly awaited. What genre will Bareto reference next? Sometimes that’s obvious. Other times, surprises are store. The music veers between cinematic, haunting and moody to joyous, irresistible and hook-laden. However, each track on this musical magical mystery tour has one thing in common. They ooze quality. That’s why Impredecible, this career defining album, should introduce Bareto’s genre-melting music to a much wider audience.