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Tamarugo - Tan Lejos Del Mar  CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.92 | 11 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Sole album from these Chilean refugees (Pinochet's regime) in France and obviously their homeland missed them tremendously, not only musically, but lyrically as well. This trio obviously rode the wave created by Congresso and Los Javais, and their sole album was probably more aimed at the French and Spanish markets, because reading the texts, I doubt the Pinochet clique would've allowed this political album (its title means so far away from the sea and talks of jails and gaols) to circulate the Santiago or Valparaiso streets. The trio was lead by keyboardist Pizzaro , the main songwriter although he shared a lot with guitarist Rivera, with the excellent Bassist writing just one, but excellent tune. The album gets an introduction from Gustavo Mujica who also wrote two song's lyrics.

Opening on heavily Latino folk Confusion Total, an up-tempo almost bossa nova piano-lead track (you could believe this was Caravan's Sinclair on bass), but Todo en Un Saco (everything in one bag) speaks loads of the will of change back home, and the queno (small Andean flute) is highly emotional. The following El Retorno is no less eloquent, but with a Fender Rhodes as foundation. The 9-minutes Perro Que Ladra No Merde (barking dogs don't bite) is a fantastic trip down Emotion Lane, with its bossa bass, its queno and both types of piano around, and an excellent sax around the end. Clearly the last track is the highlight of the album, but do listen to the more conventional songs, a proghead should find many twists, especially early Caravan fans).

The flipside is a bit built the similar as the A-side (3 short tracks and finishing on an mini-epic), but holds two instrumentals. The opening title track refers to freedom restrictions (how can the sea be so far away in a country 100 miles as its widest??) and is a lovely piece getting a string quartet arrangements. Most likely, Colombes 77 is probably about the Parisian suburbs where they landed in 77. This is a very tricky and complex pure fusion instrumental that could rival with RTF or Brand X. The following Full Moon is the most Andean folky and is another poignant wish for freedom and a close walk to the sea. The flute and piano exchanges bring much chills down your spine. The closing almost 10- mins Santiago starts slowly again on the flute, and cymbals, before the Fender Rhodes and bass pick up the track, turn it into superb up-tempo bossa, where you could dream of Nine Feet Above Ground, or even Hunting We Shall go, because the string quartet returns to much affect and emotions. Splendid flipside giving this group a real winner.

Certainly a jazzier version of the "usual" Andean folk-rock group; Tamarugo is an excellent entry point to Austral Southern American music, especially if you fear a bit the cheesiness of some of the Jaivas or Congreso tracks. Too bad these guys never made another album, but given the music industry and the date of this release, maybe it's best that way.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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