Lima-based trio Tourista are one of the most important independent bands in Latin America right now.
The official story tell us that Rui Pereira, the lead singer, guitar player and composer of the band, quit his day job in an add agency and moved to Punta Hermosa, a beach town in the south of Lima. Then the drummer of Plug Plug, Sandro Labenita, had a dream where they played together and toured a lot. And indeed, they started the project.
A little time later, they found the multi-instrumentalist they were looking for: Ricardo Gutierrez, a DJ and musical producer known as I am Genko. Their first EP called “Deficit de atención” (ADD) came out in 2012 and was full of hits – uptempo love songs – that put them in the spotlight in the local scene.
They toured for about two years with that material, while working on new songs. Through experiments they tried to find the right sound for what was to become their first full-length record, “Colores Paganos“.
Ok, this is the official history, and you can find it almost anywhere in the web. But it wouldn´t make sense to review this album without letting you know what really lies behind.
Tourista is the journey to emancipation, to independent adulthood, to live your dreams without being attached to a day job you hate. But it’s also about being good with yourself, and the universe, even if you have lost the ones you love.
Tourista’s first EP was a mourning ritual, a requiem, a testimony of a child who was becoming a young adult, realizing that in life and death – there is no return. Rui’s dad passed away. (He was – with his band El Polen – one of the pioneers of Latin American fusion music.) Tourista’s songs from their EP to the new LP let us join Rui’s personal effort to end the requiem, and stand up to life.
The new album was developed during two years. The band not only looked for the proper sound or the best new songs, but they searched their musical identity. Something that would let them stand for and say: “This is who we are, we are still here”, like José María Arguedas would say in quechua Kachkaniraqmi.
But nobody said that this process would be easy. First they worked with Chilean producer Cristián Heyne. With his team, the band learned a lot about technical process of recording… but he couldn´t get the sound the band was looking for. He was too electronic. After lots of traveling between Lima and Santiago, Tourista looked up the map and got in touch with Colombian producer Javier Rodríguez, who gave their material the color they were looking for. Electronic and organic finally seemed balanced.
The single “Select y Start”, as all the songs on “Colores Paganos”, are like flowers in a music field, where international seeds are rooted in the local land. If you listen carefully, you’ll find a slow huayno in this song. Elsewhere, Afro Peruvian elements will reveal themselves. They even count on Paloma Pereira or Maluki Santa Cruz, on cajón and percussions, for the live shows now.
They have played at SXSW, in Colombia, Chile and toured a lot in Perú. Recently they performed at the Marvin Festival in México, and soon they’ll be adding more gigs to their calendar. They called themselves Tourista for a good reason.
And “Select y Start”, the video you can watch above, was the beginning of a new game. The clip was released as a special feature in the yard of Sr Z productions, and features the well-known actress and dancer Alessandra Denegri. With almost 100k views at the moment, it seems to be the start of a new era for the band.
Stream “Colores Paganos” LP here.
Photo: Daniela Sánchez