Wilindoro Cacique, left, and La Tigresa del Oriente

The photograph on the right shows Wilindoro Cacique, original vocalist with the famed Juaneco y su Combo, masters of cumbia amazónica, whom I discussed here, and Judith Bustos, La Tigresa del Oriente, whom I discussed here, “making click click,” as one music blog put it — “kissing each other on the mouth like teenagers” and posing very affectionately for the photographers. “Hot-blooded,” said another, enthusiastically.

“We are great friends with each other,” said La Tigresa, who is now 63 years old, about the same age as Wilindoro. “My children support me and do not care what I do at this stage of my life.” The performers say that they plan to appear together — romantically — in a video on the subject Felina, Cat Woman.

According to the Orbita news agency, this historic meeting took place in Lima on February 23 at the first Festival de la Selva Peruana. “This is the first time that the most important groups of our jungle will share the same stage,” said the organizers of the event. “The idea is that the charapas living in Lima will be able to enjoy the pure style of our birthplace and thus recreate in the capital a true Amazonian carnival. Nothing will be missing.”

The term charapa, literally turtle, has traditionally been used to refer, often pejoratively, to the indigenous and mestizo inhabitants of the Peruvian Amazon, with the implication that they are slow, like turtles. Like many pejorative terms, this one has been adopted by its targets as a mark of pride, who see themselves — especially those far from home in Lima — as hard-shelled, thick-skinned, and invulnerable.

The festival included a number of new Amazonian music groups — Kaliente, El Lobo y su Sociedad, Los Caribeños, Los Patos, and Ilusión — as well as regional dishes, exotic drinks, and the election of Miss Jungle Fashion 2009.

Miss Jungle Fashion! Damn, I can’t believe I missed this.

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