Lorenzo Palacios Quispe "Chacalón" is a myth. More than a musical star, he is both a religious and secular phenomenon for the masses. Every year on his birthday, his tomb becomes a place of fevered pilgrimage where devotees pray, make wishes and ask for miracles, all done over songs, cases of beer, dancing and toasting. In Peru, his figure and music erases the distance between the holy and the profane, the hero and the lumpen. Chacalón is, for many Peruvians, the people’s angel, the messiah of the poor, the marginalized ’Inkarri’.
"When Chacalón sings, the hills come down", was one of his favorite phrases and with it he referred to the migrant masses that invaded the hills and beaches that surround Lima like a "ring of fire" (José María Arguedas dixit). It was the early 80s and while bombs and a dirty war exploded in the Andes, in Lima, the new and ever–growing population of migrants "climbed down" from their precarious homes and filled venues to dance "chicha" music and to celebrate who they saw as their redeemer.
Despite being a model messianic figure, Lorenzo Palacios had very humble origins. The son of a music dancer from Huancayo and a singer of huayno music (Andean folk) from Ayacucho, Chacalon was born in Lima in 1950. As a teen, he had his debut on stage as the singer of huayno band "The Indios Quechuas".