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Posts from the ‘Peru’ Category

Secret Stash Records’ Quest for Afro-Peruvian Music

by Kim Haas 

Cory Wong and Eric Foss are long-time friends and fellow musicians from small town Fridley, Minnesota. They first met when they were six years old. Cory plays the guitar and Eric enjoys drums and percussion. Growing up, the duo’s musical tastes would not suggest an eventual interest in Afro-Peruvian music. Eric recalled, “We grew up (listening to)….whatever you’d expect white kids from Minnesota to listen to…Metallica, Rage Against The Machine and other hard rock bands.” 

As adults, the two friends formed the Secret Stash Record Label in 2009, releasing funk, jazz, and world music. To some degree, Secret Stash, was formed out of  the many frustrations Eric experienced, working at several large record labels, “….I found myself disgusted with the industry; the way (large) retailers and distributors …. treat artists. ….walk into a retail store and you see a new album advertised (taking up lots of space)…like a whole wall (of the store).  The retailer did not put it there because they love the artist.  It is there because the distributor paid the retailer hundreds of thousands of dollars… It’s called Co-Op Advertising.”

Not only does Secret Stash approach the business of music differently but its sounds and recordings are decidedly unique for the 21st century. Nearly all of Secret Stash’s releases are on vinyl (accompanied by mp3s). Cory said, vinyl records offered the most accurate, recreated sound compared to CDs and other musical recording formats. The two music aficionados are focused and selective about tracks released under their label. “We …operate outside normal record business (models). Anything we put out, (we) are in love with it… I always feel that Secret Stash… offers a service. We are a filter……We can’t let things sift through that filter that don’t fit the criteria…” 

Now that the days of working for large labels and distributors is over for Eric, he finds great satisfaction in Secret Stash’s business model. He described their approach to collaborating with other businesses as an important aspect of the company’s brand, “In Minneapolis, Tree House Records and Electric Fetus will play your record because it’s about loving music (not) how to squeeze money out of labels.” Read more

Afro-Peruvian Jazz & Cuisine Meet at Tutuma Social Club

If you’re ever wandering down Manhattan’s East 56th Street you may have noticed a little sign that reads “Tutuma Social Club.”

Blink and you’ll miss it. But tap down the staircase to what appears to be nothing more than a basement and you’ll be greeted with incredible Jazz music. It’s the Gabriel Alegría Afro-Peruvian Sextet playing jazz music, which transitions smoothly between sweltering and upbeat to slow, calming and intimate. Read more