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About Chakachas

Best known for their near-pornographic funk classic "Jungle Fever," the Chakachas were actually a group of Belgian-based studio musicians. Led by Gaston Boogaerts, who served as the group's arranger, the Chakachas first appeared during the early '60s, recording a playful mixture of Latin music, jazz, and European-style exotica. By the time Polydor released the Jungle Fever album in the U.S. in 1972, they'd updated that foundation with a heavier funk groove. The title cut -- a down-and-dirty, stop-start funk instrumental punctuated by heavy breathing and orgasmic female moans -- went Top Ten for the group's only American hit. "Jungle Fever" played more to dance-club patrons than radio listeners, which helped it endure into the disco years; it was also heavily sampled by the hip-hop generation. The remainder of the group's history is difficult to trace; it's been suggested that they -- or at least some of their personnel -- also recorded as El Chicles and backed singer Nico Gomez (who wrote one of the songs included on Jungle Fever). It is known that they hired a Latin band from New York called Barrio to pose as the Chakachas for an American tour in the wake of "Jungle Fever." ~ Steve Huey

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