This is an album we've wanted to reissue for years... at long last—together with our friends Repsychled Records from Peru—we can present this masterpiece to you wonderful people out there!
The fusion of native folk instruments and trippy psychedelic rock elements produced some of the finest music to emerge from South America in the early 1970s-Congregacion (and Los Jaivas) from Chile, Arco Iris from Argentina, Wara from Bolivia, and Genesis from Colombia.
To this list of excellent bands should be added that of El Polen, a Hippie commune from Peru. El Polen was an artistic group, a group of hippies living in a community and expressing themselves in all levels of art, exchanging ideas, experiences and influences. In late 1969, Juan Luis Pereira, founder of El Polen, had the inspiration to integrate elements of European folk music with Peruvian indigenous music and environmental sounds, such as the sea and the wind. There were six musicians in the loose El Polen ensemble; they were friends with terrific commitment to social causes, both intellectual and revolutionary; they were all for romantic life, living in opposition to the established system, with all these ideals reflected in the music and lyrics. El Polen used mandolin (Beto Martinez) and violin (Fernando Siva) in place of electric guitars; cello (John Sebastian Montesinos) instead of bass; and percussion (Ernesto Pinto) instead of drums.
The result was a unique style where violins sounded like fuzz guitars. The year of El Polen was 1972, for that was the year that their debut album, "Cholo" (Virrey, DVS 793)—recorded as the original soundtrack music for a film about soccer player Hugo "Cholo" Sotil developing his career in Europe—was released. The outstanding 11-minute opening track, ‘La Flor’ (the main theme of the film) is a psychedelic acoustic improvisation akin to the music of Brazilian legend Lula Cortez—alone and together with Lailson in Satwa. Other tracks (‘Sitting Dreaming’ and ‘Tondero’ spring to mind), start with Andean folk elements and evolve into long psychedelic excursions. And if you can understand Spanish, lyrics like those in ‘Cholito, pantaloon blanco’ (Cholito, white pants) show the great beauty that can occur from transforming the everyday and the commonplace in something of exquisite beauty. A very strange record with a trancey feel throughout. For many years it was thought that the original reel-to-reel tapes were missing, but luckily it was not true. After a laborious research, our friends at Repsychled found the master tapes, and with them an important discovery: an unreleased track by El Polen featuring vocals by Grammy Award winner, and current Peruvian Minister of Culture, Susana Baca.
This special mini-LP sleeve edition comes with a replica ticket for the first El Polen concert (2 April 1971); a replica poster from the 2nd El Polen concert (12 June 1971); and a black and white photo of the band taken in Barranco. A limited, numbered edition of 400 copies, remastered from the original master tapes, available exclusively from Lion Productions.