"Beach, fun, drinks, girls, and a good time": Chico Trujillo is your Memorial hangover cure

Follow Chico Trujillo (Fri/4) to a cumbia good time
Photo by Antonio Parada

Thank you holiday weekend, you have memorialized whatever brain cells and desire to integrate into the everyday world of not being drunk by 2 p.m. I still had left. I suppose it was a fair trade for all the lovely memories that I of course won't remember. Shall we turn then, to something fun that's happening this upcoming weekend (Fri/4 La Peña Cultural Center) to keep us going? A lovely South American cumbia party that goes by the name of Chico Trujillo? Hurry, before sobriety catches you, cue the mp3 and hold on for the interview! 

Click here, then proceed.

Now that the tunes are swirling through those alcohol and sunshine wasted synapses -- a note of historical significance. For those who have never ratcheted their hips to a sensual beat on a cobblestone colonial street, cumbia originated in the wilds of Colombia. It was originally played for courtship rituals by the area's enslaved African population. Throughout the years, cumbia's rolling stone gathered snippets of the culture around it, rhythms from the indigenous Colombians, the use of European instruments, etc, etc. Let's just say it was adept at bringing people together to party.

Chico Trujillo (who are good old chicos from Chile), inherited this mish-mash legacy, and saw it the addition of ska -- a fact which imparts an evident swagger to their most recent release, Chico de Oro. Although on the whole, Chilean cumbia's been ceding its popularity to the ear drum exploding beats of reggaeton, Chico Trujillo's gigs still get crazy and light roofs on fire, I guess symbolically speaking. 

Heartened by how cool it's proven itself to be in the homeland, Chico's now taking its show to Gringolandia -- they'll be rocking the stage at La Peña Cultural Center as part of that East Bay progressive organization's 35th anniversary party. I chatted with the band recently via email, and their responses, I guarantee, will make that first day back on your grind a little smoother to jibe with.


San Francisco Bay Guardian: I've heard that most of your shows in Chile sell out. They sound like amazing parties. What makes a good party, in your opinion? 

Chico Trujillo: In Chile, a good party means the best loud music, best drinks, nicest women (and men, I guess), and everybody dancing and singing. But I think that is a good party anywhere. And yes, all of our shows sell out.


SFBG: Oh my. What makes cumbia so awesome?

CT: Its simplicity, and its hypnotizing effect on the people. Once we start, the people just can't stop, and neither can we.


SFBG: Tell us about the social issues you touch on in your music. Do you consider yourselves activists?

CT: As human beings, we consider ourselves activists, and are very concerned with social issues happening in Chile. Although we may not always agree with the "left" all the time (and almost never with the “right”), we do actively participate in events that we feel are important. [There's] a lot of things concerning the environment in Chile, the native people's rights there, etc. We just arrived in the US, and have seen non-stop on the TV things about the oil spill.  We would love to do something, anything to help that out. But as for our lyrics, and the music of Chico Trujillo, well, they speak more to the utopian ideals that we have of beach, fun, drinks, girls, and a good time, a break from the real world – [which is] the only things people should think about when we hit the stage. If everyone lived by the lyrics of Chico Trujillo, the world would be a better place...

Chico Trujillo feat. Tokezon

8-10 p.m., $15-18

La Peña Cultural Center

3105 Shattuck, Berkl. 

(510) 849-2568


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