Along came a Peruvian duo with a very long name, Dengue Dengue Dengue!, in 2011, and a project to release a new sonic-selfhood or indigenismo. Read Simon Bolivar’s “Letter From Jamaica” where he denounces the killings of the continents previous landowners but also the limits placed on persons like himself born in the Americas by Spaniards and you will understand how serious indigenismo is: reason for revolution.
They are young but they are proud. They are also cosmopolitans and would like to meld the world into Peruvian sound and song. For the cover of their most recent release Siete Raices, the name of a Peruvian punch beverage that is an aphrodisiac, they wear masks, as many non western cultures, including those of tribes native to the Americas, do. Like their name, dengue is the name of a fever, the album screams “Feverrr!” as La Lupe does so on her recordings spectacularly. It is an album of 9 songs, each a gem of ambient, sultry, electronic, clinical rhythm, layers of instrumentation, and sometimes singing.
The songs are fun but their intent is clear: these are cultural songs that seek to replenish nation and culture. “Guarida” is a plunge of song – there is text and grave singing to the rhythm that we are introduced to slowly but surely. “Dubcharaca” also begins slowly to quickly move into dance-able excitement. Listening to “Amazonia” is a walk through a world somewhat psychedelic but maybe indigenous. “Badman” is a great dance song.
With radio length for each song and through intricate layering on facile rhythm to a time of heightened affordable hedonism but also of public dissent, this duo offers their native culture modernity and complexity and us the ability to feel cosmopolitan Peru.