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Tonight: Everybody chicha! • Brooklyn Paper

Tonight: Everybody chicha!

Small instruments, big sound: Olivier Conan (left) sings and plays the cuatro in the band Chicha Libre, with Joshua Camp on the keyboard.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Partying on Monday night sounds as inconceivable as shimmying to Wagner — but a six-piece “chicha” band is doing both in Park Slope.

Chicha Libre is providing a groovy antidote to early week banalities in with a Peruvian-influenced dance party that mixes Latin rhythms, surf music, and psychedelic pop — and even goes so far as to play danceable rearrangements of classics like “Flight of the Valkyries.”

“I love hybrid, impure music. In any genre,” said Olivier Conan, vocalist and cuatro player. “Anything that is tinkered with pleases me.”

The Monday-night band is inspired by a style of music called chicha, which flourished in the slums of Lima during the 1960s. It’s a music known for turning classic songs, like “Fur Elise,” on its ear.

Conan first discovered it for himself on a trip to Peru, and its versatility appealed to his sensibilities.

“The only [music] that sticks to one template is music that belongs to a folkloric school, a museum — or a totalitarian state,” said Conan.

The band’s love for fresh tunes is also a result of Conan’s background, having come from the Barbes neighborhood in Paris — where different musical forms mashed into each other and created new sounds.

The Ninth Street performance space Barbes, which Conan co-owns along with Chicha Libre guitarist Vincent Douglas, lives up to its namesake.

“It comes off as very eclectic and diverse, which is great, but it is not a conscious decision,” he said. “It’s just what I like.”

Chicha Libre at Cafe Barbes [376 Ninth Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Park Slope (347) 422–0248]. Mon. at 9:30 p.m. $10 suggested .

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