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«Chicha » culture in Peru

Popular culture in Peru

Chicha culture is the name given to a melting of different styles: products of History and diversity of Peruvian cultures, this is nowadays an influence extremely strong. Although denied for a long time by the Peruvian elite, now, at least chicha music has unanimous support of young people.

First, it is necessary to explain the origin of “chicha”; this is a drink the Incas made with fermented maize, alcoholic, at the heart of festivities before the Spanish arrival in the Andes.

Then, it should be known that this “chicha” culture began in the pueblos jovenes of Lima, those peripheral districts, nasties and disorderly. In fact, after uninterrupted waves, the colonial Lima acquired, gradually, an increasing number of new districts, poor and created by Andean migrants, with everything they could find: cartons, non-edged planks, iron tiles, plastic covers…. First, in the 50’s, searching for a job and a better life (at that time Indians were employed as servants in many haciendas, agricultural property managed by white people). Then, between the 70’s and 2000’s, as a consequence of terrible events linked with terrorism and armed violence between the Army and guerilla movements.  That is how in 20 years, Lima will triple in size: migrants from the rural exodus aren’t minority anymore, but majority in the capital.

Well, talking about the Andean drink term, a whole urban culture is growing up in those new districts; Andeans, definitely, but no rural anymore, and a mix of Andean culture. This is the Chicha culture.
The most representative of this culture is undoubtedly music: a mix of Colombian cumbia and Andean rhythm like huayno, where they added American bigbox rhythm, hip hop and then sonorities had been arranged to be more “modern”. This non-traditional cumbia is extremely popular in slum areas of Lima and quickly expand in all Peru. Placards and posters for those “chicha” groups (like for example Los Shapis, los Hermanos Yaypén) wear many different colors and forms almost psychedelics. Most of modern cumbia listened to in Peru belongs to chicha culture.

Chicha is also said to the press: in those slum areas, inhabited by people from lowest socio-cultural group, even very low, some newspapers appear and promote scandal, pin-ups, sensational statements, public humiliation campaigns and total misinformation. By the way, former president Alberto Fujimori was involved into several corruption cases coming to the attention of the chicha press. He often decided the titles those newspapers would put and voluntary oriented subjects this part of population would read, because she were the base of his electorate. Today, chicha press is any kind of low quality newspaper but amuses relating outrageous behavior of celebrities.

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