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