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Los Grillos – Mi Destino Es Como El Viento

The sheer amount of non-(North) American records located in the greater Los Angeles area is mind boggling to say the least. One week I’ll come across a grip of Eastern European prog/folk records, the next week some Calypso 78s…just this past week I found a handful of Aboriginal field recordings and a stack of 20 Arabic albums from Abdel Halim Hafez & Mohamed Abdel Wahab within a matter of days…A truly ear-opening experience to say the least.
This posting represents my first (and quite probably last) Bolivian record discovery to come out of a thrift store. It is a 4-song 7″ E.P. released in 1973. Historically I have not had the best luck finding South American records of the “rock” ilk and, based on the cover, I thought it could just as likely be traditional South American folk music (not necessarily a bad thing).

I think I was hoping for heavy rock or psych. There’s fuzz guitar, but more subtle than the insane Bolivian psych jams I imagined. That said, when I got to Song #2 I was hooked. I’m not exactly sure what to call it, Latin Beat Psych or something, all I can say is it’s mellow and hits me just right. I apologize for the surface noise, that’s how the record came. Somehow I don’t think I will be upgrading any time soon!

Of course I had to do some cursory googling to try and get the story on Los Grillos (The Crickets). As it turns out, they were one of the more prolific Bolivian garage/rock/psych bands of the 60s and 70s with several singles / EPs and a now expensive album from the mid 70s. I recall reading a review of a 60s Bolivian garage compilation (the title of which now escapes me) and one mind-boggling anecdote within told the story of a Bolivian garage band who actually had to build all of their own instruments… Bolivia remains the poorest nation in South America, and its inhabitants, many of whom are direct descendents of indigenous tribal cultures, struggled through several tumultuous decades of military dictators and political corruption.

It is in situations like these you really wonder where a record came from and how it ever managed to find its way into your hands. There are few locations in the world more remote. And to make that journey only to be donated to a thrift store…maybe it really doesn’t have the emotional cache I seem to want it to. Whatever the case, it is artefacts like this that make worldwide music so interesting. God knows if a similar band of white guys from Middle America tried to pull off the same music it could never sound authentic, that is, if it could ever exist in the first place

8 Comments

  • Good stuff…wait, this is “gimme some lovin'” en espanol, isn’t it? Even better.

  • Nice! In Latin America they called this style of music “Nueva Ola” or “Beat.” I’m always amused by how they categorize their songs on the labels or back of their albums, from “afro-jerk” to “surf lento.” My Dad went to Bolivia some time ago to visit a friend and I asked him to look out for records for me. He told me he had gotten a Grilos record and I was psyched to hear it! Comes home a few days later and its litterally a cricket record, like Folkways “sounds of insects” type deal. Oh well, someday maybe!

  • Song link doesn’t work…

  • to bad there’s non d/l link… could you kindly fix that?

    thanks a lot

  • Its 11:35 pm, and in 25 minutes it will be 2008. I stumbled on to this posting, by simply reading up on info on Rock en Espanol. So for that reason I remembered the Bolivian rock group Los Grillos. I wasnt suprised to not find much information about them, except that they are mentioned in Wikipedia under at this link http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_boliviano. Either way, it was good to find some info regarding their local succes. I must mention that my uncle use to be in the group as the drummer, and I believe he went by the name of ”
    Dino”, although I am not exactly sure the years he was with the group. I think he may be the one on the far right in the the album you have there. This is pretty exciting for me, and if I do come across further info, I will be sure to post here.

  • On my recent trip to Bolivia I went to discolandia (Warehouse of Bolivia) and found a 3 CD compilation of all their hits. As a Bolivian I was surprised to find such a unique band come out of such a poor country. The only thing Bolivia is known for is capturing Che Guevara and the indigenous people. I also found other traditional folk music bands like Los Chaskas and Los Payas, which are pretty good.

  • Antonio barreiros

    hello,
    If anyone has any contact to a band member please let us know. I would love to release their music on vinyl on my own label (Golden pavilion). I want to find the musicians involved so that they get something from this. Any help is welcome!
    goldenpav@gmail.com

  • This is an old post but I was looking for some pictures of the band. My dad was actually the guitarist of the band! He still lives in Bolivia and continues to make music. He still keeps in touch with old bandmates. And YES he has some recordings on vinyl .

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