Rocoto Blues Band is a multicultural musical melting pot centred around a blues core. The band covers three continents with it’s music and personnel and is based in Lima, Peru.
Diego Vargas Guitars & Vocals
Gerd Hemeryth Drums & Percussion
Jose Meneses Bass & Vocals
Andy Brotherton Guitars
Julio Gallardo Live Sound & Recording
Mixing the sounds of traditional blues with Peruvian instruments like the Charango & Zampoña, brings a set of colours that expand the blues palette to allow an expansion of the blues oeuvre. The inimitable Johnny Perez added Charango, Zampoña, Flute & Conch to tracks for the E.P. Further South, bringing to life band leader Diego Vargas’ dream of Blues mixed with Peruvian musical cultural influences.
After some gigs together over a couple of years with several of Peru’s top blues musicians joining the band, the line up solidified in Summer 2016 around Diego’s vocals and Andy’s guitar playing, with the excellent rhythm section of Gerd & Jose & the multi-instrumental force & character that is the larger than life Johnny Perez. A conscious decision to include Julio Gallardo as a permanent member, allowed the band to explore getting the delicate instruments in balance, alongside the power instruments used in blues.
Recording began in earnest that same Summer at the wonderful Elias Ponce Studios in Lima, overseen by Peru’s exemplary Jose Carlos Ponce, who engineered, mixed & mastered the band recording a cover of Willie Dixon’s Hoochie Coochie Man, melding the blues with traditional Peruvian energy through the use of the Conch & Zampoña, fighting for space with Harmonica & Guitars, notably slide electric guitar.
That powerful statement gave birth to the song writing that in turn culminated in the 5 track E.P Further South, released on the band’s own Munire Music label, with the remaining 4 tracks recorded at the new boutique Munire Studios in the heart of the artistic quarter of Lima, Barranco. The 4 originals, 3 songs & one instrumental, were recorded by the whole band & mixed & mastered as a collaborative effort between Julio, Diego & Andy.
An expansion of the music of Rocoto Blues Band coupled with the conviction that the band had set out it’s musical path with a true aim, has now led Diego & Andy to begin looking further ahead, with the aim of bringing the Rocoto Blues Band to the attention of the wider world. In the Fall of 2017 the band scaled down to a tight 4 piece, allowing a more flowing and jamming nature to their music. This has given the trio of Diego, Gerd & Jose a new level of musical inspiration and, when playing also with Andy, the band has a new depth of communication in their music.
The Rocoto Blues Band have an energy that is intoxicating, like the woven spell of the Shaman, or the simple musical charm and raw power of the blues. Wherever you are listen to the tracks that make up Further South & make a note to catch The Rocoto Blues Band live. Their music will expand your tastes and enrich your soul, while shaking your world, with the sound of the blues from Peru.