Saturday, May 8, 2010

MIki Gonzalez - 80s Music Peruvian Style

Last week as I was trying to find more information about the Peruvian thrash metal band Arsenal I came across a few blogs concerning Peruvian rock music. As I started looking through one of them there was a link for different decades and of course I started looking at the 80s. For me it's interesting to hear what music in other countries sounded like especially in my beloved 80s. The thing is that we Americans (by this I mean from the United States) tend to think that just because an artist or song was popular here that it was popular all over the world and that is just not the case. One thing that listening to the podcast Stuck In The 80s has taught me is that sometimes a top 10 song here never even got released in other countries. Perhaps this is arrogance, perhaps it is just due to people not even thinking how music spreads globally. Whatever the case I came across an artist named Miki Gonzalez and a video for his song Lola. As soon as it started playing I knew that this was what I was looking for. Other than the Spanish vocals the music would have fit anywhere people played the new wave/power pop kind kind of music in the 80s. In a roundabout way I started converting videos to mp3s so that I could give them a good listening to on my ipod.

After my wife came home I started talking to her about Miki and she remembered him quite well. She told me the names of other songs that he had and of course I had already found them. It's funny to see some things in Peruvian music that took a few years to get to them. In this day of instant Internet access where you can find almost any kind of music in even very remote countries it can be hard to understand that it took sometimes years for styles and music to reach other countries. Our three year old has really taken to these songs, especially Lola, as have I.

Miki Gonzalez was born in Spain but moved to Peru at an early age. He started experimenting with Afro-Peruvian music and mixing it with rock, new wave, ska and reggae which led him to a lot of commercial success in the 80s. You can see in the Dimelo Dimelo video things that would have looked common in music videos 5 or more years earlier in the U.S. like the pop locking and Devo-esque robotic movements of the band members.

Chicle, Cigarillo, Caramelos shows a young boy selling gum, cigarettes and caramel candy on the streets of Peru. This is a common thing that happens even today. Unlike in the video some children are not allowed to go to school and instead they must sell candy and other things on the street in order to help their families or themselves as often these children are runaways or homeless.

These days Miki performs electronic music fused with traditional Andean music which is unfortunately not my kind of music. He has continued to experiment with various kinds of music styles and will undoubtedly continue to evolve as a person and musician. Unfortunately I did not see an official website for Miki but I'm sure something is out there if I had more time to dig around but as usual it's late and I need to go to bed so for tonight all I can say is give his music a chance. I did and I like it.

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