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Bands We Like: Peru’s Indie-Folk Fave Kanaku & El Tigre

Bands We Like: Peru’s Indie-Folk Fave Kanaku & El Tigre
Kanaku y El Tigre

Not All Sunshine and Bike Rides

By farahj
May 6, 2011

Peruvian cuties, yes! One is a bespectacled hipster, the other looks like a telenovela ingenue. But when they come together, they make beautiful music as Kanaku & El Tigre.

Soft without being nostalgic, their debut album Caracoles comes over you like a warm afternoon, or a looser version of Jose Gonzalez’ Junip. Kanaku & El Tigre love offbeat acoustic instruments, from slightly out-of-tune pianos to ukeleles. Yet the combinations are seamless, anchored behind Sabas’ lazy drawl and Bellatin’s warm acoustic guitar. In particular, “Caracoles” (“Snails”), the title track, and “Bicicleta” (complete with the click of spinning bike gears) are intimate and sweet.

But they’re not all sunny days and bike rides. In “Exorcist Love Song,” their English-language track, Sabas complains about a bad girlfriend, and thinks up ways to get rid of her — including mutilation: “In your head, I’ll burn cigarettes.” Really? That’s kind of serious, Nico. Still, the song has a bouncy rhythm guitar that keeps you feeling good. The message is: even when you’re dying for love, isn’t it good to be alive?

The band’s new video for “Caracoles” has just come out, and it’s food for thought. By that we mean that it’s about a girl who goes crazy at a dinner party and instigates a food fight. Bruno and Nico are well-dressed dinner guests who raise their eyebrows and watch the fun, mirroring the final lyrics, “There’s nothing to do but laugh.”

Life has taken strange turns for Bellatin. Before he was half of the group, he was a cult hit at his university’s local acoustic club in West Yorkshire, England. He left the fog and fried foods behind in 2007 when he returned to his native Peru, but he kept the music. Now, along with Saba, he’s one of Peru’s hottest internationalizing duos. So folks studying abroad listen up – forget school, just hang out in bars! A music career awaits you.

Check out Kanaku & El Tigre’s debut album and if you dig the Peruvian cuties, vote for them later today in our Artist of the Week competition!

Caracoles, Kanaku & El Tigre


Photo Courtesy of Kanaku & El Tigre

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