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 TRIANA : "El Patio" (1975)

Triana is the most legendary progressive rockband in Spain. Their stunning debut-album was a seminal blend of flamenco and progrock and paved the way to flamenco-inspired progrock in Spain, culminating in bands like Azahar, Cai, Alameda, Qualdaquivir, Mezquita and Medina Azahara.

The story of Triana started in Seville, the beating heart of the flamenco. Jesus de la Rosa (keyboards/vocals) was a known musician in the local music scene and he even had international succes with Los Bravos and their single Black is black. But he wanted to form his own band to make progressive rock, so he recruited Eduardo Rodriquez Rodway (vocals/guitar) and Juan Jose Palacios "Tele" (drums/percussion). The trio called themselves Triana, named after the most traditional part of the town and they moved to Madrid. With some help they were allowed to record their music in a studio with highly advanced equipment.

In 1974 Triana first released a single titled Bulerias 5x8 (it became a failure) and then the debut album El patio (1975). Unfortunately their flamenco-progrock did little, eventually the album sold 1000 copies. But after a big presentation in Madrid in 1976, things started to improve and in 1977 the second album Hijos del agobio came out, followed by the single Rumor. The emotional lyrics (about hope after the end of general Franco's dictatorship) were embraced by the Spanish youth when the radio started to play Rumor.

Triana's music boosted the youth's identity and it gave them a way to show their emotions. And how ironically, Triana's music became less progressive while the band became more and more famous. Their third LP Sombra y luz (1979) sold 300.000 copies and from the fourth album Encuentro (1980) Triana turned out to be Spain's most popular rockband. Further releases were Triana (1981) and Llego el dia (1983) but then the story ended very sad because in 1983 Jesus de la Rosa died in a tragic car incident and the other musicians decided to call it a day. Record company Fonomusic released some compilations, especially the beautifully packed 2-CD Una historia (1995) is recommended as the box set Se De Un Lugar, a 2-CD compilation and a DVD with interesting early studio and live footage.

The opener on the first album El patio is Abre la puerta (almost 10 minutes), it starts with choir-Mellotron, piano and flamenco guitar (tremolo-technique). Then the typical sensitive and skillful flamenco guitar blends with piano and soft synthesizer chords. A fluent and tight rhythm-section carries the music to a powerful acceleration with the typical flamenco vocals, expressive and a bit wailing. The rest of this song contains lots of shifting moods that range from mellow with flamenco guitar and choir-Mellotron to propulsive with powerful drums and howling electric guitar, very moving. Most of the other six compositions are in the vein of Abre la puerta: beautiful shifting climates with typical flamenco elements like palmas (handclapping), rasgueado (quick downward strikes across all strings) and picados (quick runs on the guitar with two fingers), along with tasteful keyboards (organ, synthesizers, Mellotron and piano) and fine electric guitarplay. The final two tracks are splendid compositions: beautiful interplay between the flamenco and electric guitar and a bombastic finale with rasgueado, organ and electric guitar in En el lago and powerful drums and a howling and biting electric guitar in Recuerdos de una noche.

Erik Neuteboom (Prog Archives/Progwalhalla/Background Magazine)

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