Unless you’re from Iquitos, a small town in the middle of nowhere in the Peruvian Amazon, you’ve probably never heard of Ranil. Yet. Thing is, this guy Ranil was a chicha pioneer (that’s psychedelic Peruvian cumbia for you) in the ’70s and later turned into an urban legend of sorts, going from music industry exec, to pirate radio journalist, to politician and beyond.
Recently the legend transcended to international notoriety thanks to a handful of gringos who caught on to chicha fever, brought it over to the States and unleashed a worldwide revival boom of chicha music. Last month a Massachusetts blogger released a limited edition compilation of Ranil’s career in vinyl only, Ranil’s Jungle Party on Masstropicas Records. Now Olivier Conan, the New York chicha aficionado behind Barbés Records and their highly influential Roots of Chicha compilations (plus, the leader of the band Chicha Libre), has set out to make a documentary about Ranil and is going all the way down to Peru to track him down.
Our Man In Iquitos will be the title of the doc, currently in the works, where director Conan will explore the connections between this popular musician’s past career and his current political activism on social issues concerning his fellow Amazonians.
You can watch the trailer for Our Man In Iquitos here and pledge a donation to help the documentary get produced. Also listen to a Ranil track below!