Andalusian Rock: A Brief History of the South

Juan Emilio Rios Vera

Andalusian Rock: A Brief History of the South by Juan Emilio Rios Vera

Immortal rock has gone by many titles throughout the last few decades of music history: symphonic rock, alternative rock, soft rock, hard rock, progressive rock, folk rock, pop rock and a long list of variations and fusions, but none are as deeply-rooted in the Campo de Gibraltar’s culture and sentimentalities as Andalusian rock.

According to the encyclopaedia, this musical and cultural movement developed mainly in Andalusia and was born during the late 60s, peaking well into the mid-80s. Although there were forerunners and visionaries such as Los Cheyenes and Los Brincos who laid the stage for what would come soon after, Nuevos Tiempos, Jesús de la Rosa’s first bands, Smash, Gong – in which Silvio Fernández y Luis Cobo “Manglis” were members – and Triana were considered the pioneers and founders of this style.

Medina Azahara Andalusian Rock

The latter became the band that would turn the masses on to this movement. Soon, a whole legion of marvellous bands such as Veneno, Mezquita, Medina Azahara, Cai, Carmen, Imán Califato Independiente, Alameda, Guadalquivir, Granada, Vega, Taranto´s and Azahar joined them, as did other bands such as Estoques or Los Puntos, who were not Andalusian rock bands themselves but flirted with this style on some singles. They found thematic and musical aspects in common with it, inspiring a union of musical themes. Who doesn’t remember “Llorando por Granada”?

Experts define this very particular style as the incorporation of melodic and harmonic concepts, rhythms and elements from Andalusian folklore and flamenco into the structures of rock and pop. The Andalusian sentiment at the time – especially following Franco’s death in the 1970s– has a lot to do with its birth, too. The Arab influence can be noted as much as the flair of the glorious Al-Ándalus, especially in terms of Andalusian poetry, the stanzas used the themes and the clear allusions to the grandeur of those days.

Smash Andalusian Rock

The Andalusian rockers borrowed from tangos, bulerías, rumbas, African rhythms – especially Arab rhythms – and the influence of symphonic rock bands such as Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin in terms of the structure of the themes, which were long and prominently featured instrumental music.

Lyrics were enigmatic, poetic, evocative, melancholic and socially aware, in search of a sentiment of an Andalusian nation, boasting about our roots and our millenary and mestizo culture.

The frontmen of these bands sing in Andalusian, preserving the modulations of flamenco and, sometimes, make use of long “quejíos” (groans) or short laments, but the applied structures and phrases, can be traced back to the music of major British rock bands.

In Andalusian rock songs, the flamenco guitar, the “palmas” (that is to say clapping in time to the music) and the castanets marvellously coexist with electric guitars, basses, synthesizers and percussions.

Other tendencies such as “flamenco pop”, “flamenco chill”, “gipsy rock” or avant-garde flamenco – with Enrique Morente at the forefront – were later derived from symphonic rock.

Andalusian Rock: A Brief History of the South by Juan Emilio Rios Vera

What do you think?

-1 points
Upvote Downvote