Chico Trujillo

On Saturday, July 27 there will be a FREE outdoor summer concert by an all-time Latin American CHILEAN party orchestra, Chico Trujillo. Chico Trujillo will be performing their party mix – presented by Grand Performances at the California Plaza, giving LA an exciting live performance !!

Be sure to make this summer concert of invigorating musical colorful fusions, that are playful at moments lyrical to profound at others but always infused with the spirit of Chile, as the sun sets, the heat subdues and the night begins….An urban dweller’s summer dream.

Chico Trujillo – Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 8pm

Link to map and directions to Grand Performance – California Plaza.

Address of Grand Performances – California Plaza:

300-350 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071


“Who is Chico Trujillo”, you say?

Quoted directly from their website: “Chico Trujillo is one of Chile’s most important orchestras. They are the soundtrack to every party from Arica to Punta Arenas. Their mixture of classic cumbia, bolero, reggae, Latin American and Balcanic music has assured them an audience from every generation and walk of life.” Currently standing, a (party) band journey of more than 14 years, that traces its beginnings to Villa Alemana and Quilpué, Chile.

Fundi2 sees Chico Trujillo as living LINK between past and future: the fuser, the one who fuses, who creates the fusions, blends, mixes –  “El FF” – El Fundido-er Fusioneer. They fuse classical standard of the past with the new rock, ska, punk tempos of the day.. . and then some!  More than often, creating new fusions-creations of their very own source and origins.

This is an interview by Radio Rockola of Spain in which Chico Trujillo representative band members: Rodolfo Fuica “Tio Rodi” (Percusion, Bateri­a), Victor “Tuto” Vargas (Bajo),  Juanito Gronemeyer  (Percusion, Bateri­a) give the public the origins, inspiration and drives of the band.  Meanwhile concurrently, as the interview progresses, their responses expose “current” Chilean socio-cultural phenomena of the last 20 years and reference music traditions that date even further back, to the early 1950’s.   This interview took place in 2010, by then, the band’s 10 year anniversary mark and completion of  their 3rd album “Plato Unico Bailable” which they explain to mean is a type of events that are organized to raise funds. These fundraiser events, usually held in social clubs, neighborhood centers, and/or poblaciones. You pay entrance fee, with includes one preset dish – there is not a menu, hence “plato unico bailable” because later in the evening comes the big bonus: una regia (Chilean slang for excellent) orquesta. A variation of this fundraiser events, is a “bingo bailable” format but always with the same objective and sense of solidarity – the event and one’s participation is to help someone and is always festive.  They also explain that the name Chico Trujillo is a fictitious name, a made up character who loves to party – and how the band formed as a side project from yet another Chilean band of a different genre blend. It was after their original band,  La Floripondio‘s European tour of 1999, that Chico Trujillo was formed as a side project with a more danceable cumbia style.

In October of 2012, Chico Trujillo’s interview-elusive leader and vocalist,  Aldo “Macha” Asenjo finally breaks his silence and is presented in a BBC Latin American Beat series that showcases Latin music. The original interview can be seen with English subtitles at the BBC website. In this interview he speaks of the dark (quiet) period in Chilean “socio-musical” culture – the years of the Pinochet Regime (1973-1990) in which social gatherings or celebrations were restricted – consequently he notes, that it is now, that there has been a re-emergence of this dance, musical tradition of the Chilean people by many new bands, of which Chico Trujillo is one of them. Following is a video that is an interesting contrasts to this idea. The below “mash up” video uses the visual background of a Chile before this era of banned celebrations, images from a Chilean movie made in 1969. Chico Trujillo is a “new wave” of the Cumbia Chilena, a wave that belongs to the time period after the military regime of Pinochet.  This video is of cover by Chico Trujillo of a bolero standard called “Quemame los ojos” composed by Cuban singer/song writer Nelson Navarro (1930-1980). According to Nelson Navarro’s Chilean widow, Maria Cortez, he at 13 years of age, is believed to have written this song when he fell madly in love with an older woman (who was 18 years old). He was to live in Santiago, Chile in the early 1970’s, only to experience the persecution of everything tinted red, which included Cubans.  Eventually, moving to Peru and as a Cuban exile in Ecuador he committed suicide. The lyrics to “Quemame los ojos” are so beautifully written that Fundi2 must include them here: “Deja que tus ojos me vuelvan a mirar, deja que tus labios me vuelvan a besar, deja que tus besos ahuyenten las tristezas que noche tras noche me hacen llorar. Deja que la luz retorne a mi alma para que lo triste se marche de mi dejame sentirme dormido en tus brazos para que mi ser se llene de ti. Deja que mis sueños se aferren a tu pecho para que te cuenten cuan grande es mi dolor dejame estrujarte con este loco amor que me tiene al borde de la desolacion. Dejame que mis manos no sientan el frio, el frio terrible de la soledad, quemame los ojos si es preciso vida, pero nunca digas que no volveras.”

On the surface level, the video/music “mash up” created by Franco Salinas Barraza of “Quemame los ojos” cover by Chico Trujillo and it being superimposed onto clips of Chilean black and white movie from 1969, titled “Valparaiso mi amor” is a perplexing fusion. The film is about poverty, marginalization and the injustices of life….shown through the fate of four children (one dies, one becomes a prostitute and the other two delinquents) -a showing as well, how black and white simplicity at times, allows for a clearer picture. Taken directly from the website, Cine Chileno: “Valparaiso mi amor, de 1969, es una obra clave y fundamental de nuestra historia audiovisual. Fotografiada de manera impecable por Diego Bonacina, argentino radicado en Chile, realiza una lectura de un puerto alejado de la tarjeta postal, sucio, violento y tremendamente injusto. Largas secuencias de camara en mano, planos desde los ascensores, y un Valparai­so laberíntico  hacen de su primera peli­cula un crudo relato nunca antes visto de la ciudad declarada hoy como Patrimonio de la Humanidad. La historia coral de una familia que se ve inmersa en una espiral de decadencia tras la detencion del padre por trafico de carne, es más contemporánea que muchas piezas filmadas hoy.”  Fundi2 translated to English: The first of two feature length films by Aldo Francia, a Chilean doctor,  whose love of children and his hometown lead him to become a pediatrician and feature these two loves in his first film Valparaiso, mi amor. ” ‘Valparaiso My Love,’ 1969, is a key and fundamental work of our visual history. Impeccably photographed by Diego Bonacina, an Argentinean based in Chile, achieving a reading of a port far away from its postcard image: one that is dirty, violent and extremely unfair. Long hand-held camera sequences, views from its elevators/funiculars, and labyrinthine Valparaiso make this first film by Aldo Francia,  a stark story never seen before of a city today known as a World Heritage Site. A choral story of a family – thrown into a spiral of decline after the arrest of the family bread winner, the father for being a meat thief – that is more contemporary than many pieces filmed today.”

This video’s musical content is of interest since it takes Chico Trujillo’s re-interpretation of yet another classic standard that is ingrained into all Chilean musical hearts.  Fusions, infusion, blends and hybrids – this song’s re-interpretation by Chico Trujillo actively demonstrates this in action. A song made popular back in the 1950’s by an AfroCuban Chilean orchestra called Orquesta Huambaly.  For the curiously inclined – there is an interesting footnote within this Chilean group’s musical history. Translated into English, this curiosity was found at a Chilean musical history encyclopedic website called Musica Popular.  In the biography section of la Orquesta Huambaly (lifespan of band 1954-1964), they are described being not only as the most cherished but well remembered of this Chilean tropical sound era. Infusing a “Chilean” blend of Cuban inspired big band sound and jazz which included sons, cha cha chas, boleros and mambos.  The history of this Chilean “tropical” orchestra’s  was first written with the letter “U” at the beginning of it’s early spelling of their name.  Uambalí is the name of a small town in the interior of Chillán that caught the attention of one of its founding members, guitarist and folk singer Caupolicán  Montoya, better known as Jack Brown.  But the name, Uambalí which means “nest of thieves” sounded too Afro to exist in the southern Chilean countryside, and it was he who then proposed to alter the spelling including the addition of the first letter “H” and changing the last letter to a  “Y” to give an even more exotic and definitive distinction to the orchestra’s name.

For a brief taste of this bygone look and sound the below video takes you to the age of vinyl, the early 1970’s. . . and to many Chileans living in foreign lands, these vinyls were the only source of tapping into the music of their homeland, that when they lived in Chile, this “Chilean tropical sound” was within radio’s reach, since it was projected to the Chilean masses from Chilean radio stations …..imagine, this music was made before I was born, by my birth the Orquesta Huambaly had dismantled and yet it is this song that has been requested this year, in 2013 by my father for his upcoming 5oth Wedding Anniversary. . . .

y el lado “B” de Chico Trujillo. . . . and the flip side of Chico Trujillo …..

Chico Trujillo around the world – in this video clip from a show called “Latinos en Holanda”


Lastly, yet another example of Chico Trujillo’s style presented acoustically and uncensored . . . .


One last interview (this time in Spanish and French from the summer 2010),  selected as a final interview for the simple reason that it was conducted after a concert performance in Paris, France and Fundi2 really loved the idea presented: For Chico Trujillo it is a challenge to perform in front of a new audience, especially those who have never heard of them – and it is in this attempt to cultivate this public – a challenge, that is like starting from zero once more, creating a “renacimente” – a rebirth as a band. . . .

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