One of my favorite Peruvian cumbia bands, the Ecos were founded and led by Edilberto “Beto” Cuestas Chacon (b: 1951). In 1970, heavily influenced by the Beatles, Beto, along with Warren Suarez, his brother Core formed the band “The Brians.” This pre-cursor band’s name was a tribute to the Beatles manager Brian Epstein. This initial formation of the band that would later become Los Ecos played covers in the nueva ola genre, which included bands like Los Doltons.
At some point “Los Brians” had an interview with the label FTA, the label suggested they should change their name to something more “latin” and that the nueva ola sound was coming to its end, and as such the label didn’t sign the band as “Los Brians.” Not to be defeated Beto contacted the Canevello brothers, the founding members of Los Beta 5 (los beta cinco – my gringo friends) who had a label “CANPARD” (for Canevello Pardo the paternal/maternal last name of the brothers). It was on CANPARD that Los Ecos would release their first single “La Brujita” (the little witch) in 1971.
Possibly recognizing that the band had followed the labels advice, FTA picked the band up going forward to release singles under the label. The first was “Jungla” y “Callejon de Huayllas.” The band would release a few more singles before recording their debut LP. On Ven Y Goza Esta Cumbia, their first LP for the FTA label, the Ecos also added their first vocal numbers, with vocalist Coco Martinez.
Later, Coco, was replaced by Kiki Balarezo, shown singing below on Peru’s channel 7 program “Salsa Pura.” Around this time the band was also featured in the radio program “Show De Los Ecos” that aired at 7PM in Lima, further enhancing their growing popularity.
Disenfranchised by FTAs failure to press sufficient quantities of their singles, which led to a lack of royalties for the band, Beto and his brother Core would go on to form the label Caracol (spanish for snail) in the late 70s. This new label provided them complete autonomy over the artistic and business directions of their groups and the groups they would later sign. Los Ecos are still active in 2016.