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Words By Julie Espinosa, Photos By Armando Gallardo

This past Friday, in advance of the Smithsonian Folk Festival kicking off this week, the folks at Smithsonian at 8 hosted a night of Peruvian art, music, food and drink to tease us for the upcoming ten-day celebration of Peruvian culture.

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Held at Blind Whino, a  recently converted church-turned colorful artistic funhouse near the Skyline Hotel in Southeast, the event was bursting at the seams with all things Chicha. For those unfamiliar with the term, Chicha is an Andean flavor of psychedelic rock that blends keyboards and electric guitars with Colombian percussion and colorful undertones of the folk music from the highlands. Perhaps the most inspired Chicha song heard all evening was a fast-paced cumbia-like version of “Fur Elise” lead by a colorful palette of guitar solos.

DJs Sabroso and Kristy la rAt kept the hips moving on the dance floor upstairs, Peruvian Chicha poster artist MONKY sold original versions of his silk screens downstairs, while attendees sipped pisco-based drinks and Peruvian beer. Chicha posters are nearly as central to the genre as the twangy beats themselves. These neon-bright posters are complete with catchy Peruvian phrases like, “Su envidia es mi progreso,” (Your envy is my progress) and “Vale un Peru,”( You’re worth as much as Peru, i.e. highly valuable), and had attendees waiting in line to take their next profile photo in front of the large collection.

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The event also allowed for those unfamiliar with Peruvian food to get a taste the hype with Foodtruck El Fuego offering Lomo Saltado, Ceviche, Pan con Chicharron and other staples of Peruvian cuisine.

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Tickets for the events were on sale online for $25 general admission and $55 for VIP, which included early access from 7 to 8, small bites, open bar and drink samples throughout the night. Based on the smiles that people left with and positive chatter after the night was over it, was obvious that attendants enjoyed themselves and partied as if they were in Lima on a breezy summer evening.

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