Various Cumbia Beat Volume 1

Is this a new wrinkle in the eternal struggle of licensing vintage music or just a rip off? In Vampisoul's excellent new collection, Cumbia Beat, they state: "despite our best efforts, we have been unable to locate the copyright owners of some of the recordingsā€¦ if you have any information, please get in touch." If you can get past that caveat, the double disc's music is fabulous stuff. Equal parts tropical roll and tumble, and guitar twang, in the great Rawhide tradition, this Peruvian spin on cumbia (called Chicha) has the power to unite Latinophiles and country and western fans on the dance floor. This isn't the first internationally released Chicha compilation, but it expands the number of groups from the '60s and '70s that have received reconsideration. More familiar names like Los Mirlos, Juaneco Y Su Combo and Los Destellos remain the most virtuosic of the pop culture phenomenon that played out from 1966 to 76, but gems abound. You'll never listen to your local pan-flute buskers in the same way once you've heard their Indian melodies transposed to these blazing guitar arrangements. (Vampisoul)