Published on April 6th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
Cecilia Noel’s 4 Hotspots for Live Music in Lima
Peruvian singer Cecilia Noel’s personality is so vibrant and warm that it saturates her telephone calls and e-mail; in my limited interaction with her, Noel’s enthusiastic tones and friendly words like “sweetheart” and “my dear Mark,” made even this lowly writer feel like someone special.
It’s no surprise that this positive force works well in her music and videos. Noel’s interpretation of “Asi Se Compone Un Son” (“This is How You Compose a Son”), written by Puerto Rican salsa legend Ismael Miranda, is featured on Latin Party, an infectious compilation of diverse Latin sounds released in April by global music purveyor Putumayo. It’s an eclectic and lively collection that includes a mix of boogaloo, funk, cumbia, son and salsa, and Noel’s contribution is among the brightest.
Originally from Lima, Peru, Noel is now based in Los Angeles with her husband Colin Hay, lead vocalist for the popular Australian group Men at Work. But Noel has been spending a lot of time in her hometown lately, producing music for Los Chapillacs, a new psychedelic/cumbia band from Arequipa (they are “awesome,” Noel enthuses. “What a killer sound. Please pay attention to them, because this CD will come out next spring, and it’s already causing a stir with the first radio hit single, “He Traicionado Tu Amor,” sung by our guest cumbia Superstar, Pascualillo Coronado.”).
With so many productive, music-filled visits to Lima under her belt, where does Noel go when she wants to hear great music live in Lima? Here are a few of her favorites.
“The music is handled by Julio Chávez-Cabello, drummer of Los Shains. He books great acts, from Afro-Peruvian music to Cuban and Jazz. On Tuesdays, when I am in town, I get to sit in with his Pro-Blues Band. Sometimes Alex Acuña, the famous Peruvian drummer/percussionist, also shows up, as well as Carlos Espinoza, Jorge Donoso, saxophone players Joscha Oetz and Tavo Castillo, or Abel Paez, a great trumpet player from Cuba. [El Cocodrilo Verde] has awesome food, a great stage and very good sound.”
Francisco de Paula Camino 226, Miraflores; tel. +511-242-7583; http://www.cocodriloverde.com
This hotspot is “owned by Eduardo ‘El Mono’ Chaparro. I love this place. It rocks. Younger crowds come almost every night of the week to dance and party hard. La Mente, one of my favorite bands in Lima, play there regularly. Also, I have performed there with El Polen, a legendary rock-folklore fusion band led by my cousins, Juan Luis and Raúl Pereira.”
Av. Bolognesi 757, Barranco; tel. +511-247-3265; http://www.sargentopimienta.net/
After a day spent at Estudio Descabellado, where Noel recorded and produced the first album of Los Chapillacs, Odisea Cumbia 3000, “we usually jump to La Noche de Barranco, another great club in the heart of La Avenida Bolognesi. The atmosphere is funky, full of life and chaos.”
Av. Bolognesi 307, Barranco; tel. +511-477-5829; http://www.lanoche.com.pe
“In the middle of the red district of Chota, is La Casa del Auxilio, an abandoned mental hospital, that on the weekends brings insanity to a different level, and that’s where I started watching Los Chapillacs play last year. Other bands, like Las Amigas de Nadie, Protones and Comestible perform there as well. It’s usually S/. 10 to S/. 20 (soles) to get in (S/. 2.85 soles per $1 USD). You only get beer and, on a good night, a bag of chips…funky and punky.”
Jr. Chota 1475; Downtown Lima; tel. +511-623-6470; http://lacasadelauxilio.blogspot.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lima/La-Casa-del-Auxilio/180917542623?v=info
Cecilia’s CD and MP3 download, A Gozar!, (Compass Records), as well as Putumayo’s Latin Party are available at Amazon.com. And don’t think this is the last you’ll hear from Noel on LatinFlyerBlog.com. Stay tuned for a few of her top picks for dining and drinking in Lima — and her insider tip on what you should never eat!