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Los Wemblers from Peru at Tropicalia with Leon City Sounds
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Los Wemblers from Peru at Tropicalia with Leon City Sounds
Los Wembler's, the legendary band from Iquitos, Peru, will be traveling to the US for the first time. The five Sanchez Brothers who make up the band are Amazonian Cumbia pioneers who helped launch the Chicha explosion of the 1970's. Los Wembler's have only rarely left the Amazon and this is a unique opportunity to see them. The brothers are still faithful to their original sound, and haven't lost a bit of their passion and enthusiasm. They will be performing an original repertoire that spans forty years and includes some of their hits, including Sonidio Amazonico and Danza del Petrolero, which were featured on the Roots of Chicha compilations.

* * *

In 1968, in Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon, a certain Solomon Sanchez decided to form a band that would play an electric version of the music popular in the Amazon at the time - pandilla, carimbó, and of course, cumbia. Solomon enlisted his five sons and named the band Los Wembler's. Using electric instruments came with a certain Anglo exoticism and in the middle of the Amazon, the name Los Wembler's sounded exotic enough. It still does.

Los Wembler's were started the same year as Los Destellos and Juaneco y su Combo, two other Peruvian cumbia pioneers who laid the foundation for what would become known as chicha.

Iquitos is the largest isolated city in the world. It boasts five hundred thousand inhabitants, but its closest road is six days away by boat. Still, the city has been the scene of a few invasions, among them the rubber boom of the turn of the 20th century and the oil boom of the 1960's. Despite its geographical isolation, Iquitos has always been open to the outside world. The Sanchez clan got its inspiration from AM radio broadcasts which would play music from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, as well as America. All those influences found their ways into their music.

Iquitos had always been a party town and the new Petroleros needed to spend their petro-dollars. The band's reputation grew quickly and they found themselves touring around the Amazon region, spreading their sound.

Los Wembler's penned two of the early hits of the genre Sonido Amazonico, which has become the unofficial anthem of Amazonian Cumbia, and La Danza del Petrolero. Both tunes were made famous by Los Mirlos, a band that took many of its clues from Los Wembler's but being based in Lima, had much easier access to tastemakers and audiences and became the better known of the Amazonian bands.

From 1973 to 1979, Lo Wembler's recorded two to three albums a year but by the late 1970's, the band started slowing down. Their style was getting outdated; younger bands were using more synthesizers and processed guitar sounds. After Solomon died, the Sanchez brothers mostly stopped touring and recording  but they would still get together to play local functions and parties. In the past few years, there has been a regain of interest in their music and the band performed in Lima after a twenty-five year absence from the national scene.

And now, Los Wembler's are bringing their Amazonian funk to the US. The Smithsonian institute has invited to perform in DC as part of their Folklife festival. Their Pioneer Works show will be their only performance outside of their DC appearance.

Leon City Sounds: Two Selectors from Washington DC and Lima, Peru with a lot of love for Roots Reggae, Dub, Ska, Cumbia, Chicha and Fusion. Juaneco y su Combo and King Tubby at The Controls! All Vinyl


2001 14th St NW
United States


Music > World

Minimum Age: 21
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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