Mirtha Guerrero, stage name "La Machete", is an author-composer-performer part of the new generation creating contemporary Afro-Latin music now in Lima (Peru).
Half way between Susana Baca and Novalima, La Machete offers a lively and modern glance at Afro-Peruvian rhythms, interpreting the little-known music of the Pacific coast of Peru, where she grew up. She has lived in France for several years and has just released her latest album "De verdes... y maduras" in collaboration with the Alliance Francaise of Lima (Peru). Polyrhythm and the fusion of melodies where one can hear pop, jazz and the voices, history and music of the sister countries of Latin America - the clarity of her lyrics combine with imagination and an uncompromising derision that uplifts us with joy and passion.
Her music //
Her musical creation takes root in the Afro-Peruvian rhythms from the Pacific Cost of her country and the delicate aesthetic of the “criolla y limeña” tradition.
She comes from Peru, a country that has been restricted to various stereotypes. La Machete’s music is a fusion of a traditional and contemporary image of Peru that opens breaches on unknown cultural aspects.
La Machete offers us a lively and modern glance on the afro-Peruvian rhythms. If the Creole and Black music from Peru are the roots of her music, they are not enough to identify and describe it. With subtlety, she revisits waltzes, landós and festejos from the afro traditional repertory as well as with her own compositions; La Machete paints her music with her own spirit and with the colours of all the other melodies and harmonies which live it. Polyrhythm and fusion of melodies where one can hear pop, jazz and voices of the sister countries of history and music.
Her lyrics : fantastic or banal stories become pretexts to thoughts about the daily life or unexpected events from here and there. Their clearness combines with imagination and a “with-no-kindness” derision that carry us, uplifting joy and passion.
Her path //
Born in Lima - capital of Peru -, Mirtha Guerrero was lulled by el Zambo Cavero’s voice and the sound of his cajón. This giant of the Musica Negra was playing on Sundays in the patio of her parents’ neighbours and since then Mirtha decided she would play music.
"Le dije a papa yo quiero cantar, le dije a papa yo quiero tocar" (P. Vásquez)
First steps on television and already the love of performing…Came the years of studies and the <b>music became engagement (political engagement). Outstanding musical meetings with Andrés Soto, Felix Casaverde and Kiri Escobar followed... and her first concerts in her city, Lima, troubled by the difficult 80’s
In 1989, Mirtha arrived to France and for a while her music remained in brackets… travels, studies, meetings... In 1999, to find and reinvent her way, she chose a machete as a symbol that identifies her way of living the music. Used by the black slaves for both work and fight, the machete is a survival tool and when she performs, Mirtha shares with us this symbol of freedom through her voice balancing in between healthy euphoria and sweet melancholy.
According to Mirtha, “over all, this symbol is a will to release new territories, to take shortcuts, to transcending conditions and destinies, with my music.”
Several musicians will take part of <b>the musical adventure that grew rich along with the various collaborations. Guitars and voices consequently built themselves based on the afro-Peruvian rhythmic roots. Percussions (congas, cajón) and bass lines portray this distant land. Mirtha’s compositions dare and expose themselves, punctuated by reinterpretations of some classics of the Afro-Peruvian repertory.
In 2005, a new “ida y vuelta” brings her back to Peru, in the cradle of the Musica Negra, small village of the pacific coast, El Carmen. There she meets, a living memory of this music, Don Amador Ballumbrosio, who encourages her to keep on working against winds and tides and reminds her that “guitars shouldn’t be lent because instruments also have a soul.”
In 2006, her work grows as a personal project and to mark the revival while keeping the same course, Mirtha chooses be known as and actually to becomes "La Machete". She records her own compositions for the first time in the album "un batir de alas" in Peru. For this, she chooses to be surrounded by Yuri Juarez (guitara), Marcos Mosquera (cajón), Joscha Oetz (contrabjo).
She comes back to Lima in 2007 with a project on the Peruvian and the French vals and meet the director cultural of the Alliance Française, Pierre Losson. Pierre Losson invites her to drive worshops at the Alliance Française of Miraflores and to work deeper on her own music in Lima. this invitation embodies in 2009 with the participation of SPEDIDAM. Mirtha starts working on new compositions with old friends, peruvian musicians Pepe Céspedes (piano) y Felix Casaverde (guitar). Come to join the project Enderson Herencia on bass yand Hugo Bravo on cajón.After various concerts in Lima and at the Alliance Française of Arequipa, they record the album "De verdes... y maduras". The team is invited in Paris in 2010 by the Fondation Aliance Française of Paris to open with big success the Suma Sumaq festival. Peru is the center of attention of the French capital. Alberto Quintanilla, Susana Baca, Javier Echecopar and other guests join the event. She keeps on collaborating with famous peruvians musicians for the promotion of the disc in France and in Peru.
2014-15 : Mirtha is now working between Lima and Lyon - France, recording a new album collaborating with Enderson Herencia - bass, charango, quena, Pepe Céspedes - piano, Coco Vega y Carlos Ayala - acoustic guitars, Pedro Rodriguez electric guitars, Sergio « Checho » Cuadros quena, zampoñas, Abel García - sax, Mario « el Tati » Agüero - cajón, congas, quijada, Arturo Miranda and Louis Torres - cajón, drums, percusions.
The Machete in her hand comes and goes. Smile and fervour shining in her voice.