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Mezquita - Recuerdos De Mi Tierra CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 128 ratings

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3 stars The years 1976-79 were the most fruitful for the fledgling Rock Andaluz. This was a fusion of Andalusian Flamenco and folk within rock structures, and employing electric instruments. Rock Andaluz was not just a musical movement however, as it was also linked to a strong nationalist sentiment. Mezquita was comprised of musicians who had previously played together in the mid-1970s as Expresion, although a period of military service interrupted the band's development. By the time they reformed as Mezquita in 1979 the record companies were eager to promote anyone that sounded like Rock Andaluz, thanks to the success of groups like Triana.

The first thing that strikes you about Mezquita's debut album Recuerdos De Mi Tierra is the wonderful cover art which features a minaret emerging from a barren landscape; there are also some Arabic symbols and a crescent moon in the background. Morocco is home to Andalusian classical music which evolved under the Moors of Cordoba. Mezquita were clearly influenced by this tradition as their their album features a guest string section; strings were widely used in Andalusian classical music. North African modes and rhythms are also in evidence on the album, and the keyboards frequently mimic clarinets and oboes thus adding to the Arabic atmosphere.

The music consists of six complex compositions featuring exotic timbres and intricate rhythms. Tempos are generally fast and at times are breakneck speed. Three track on the album are worthy of note: The title track features superb duetting Flamenco and electric guitars along with the sound effect of crickets... close your eyes and you are in the gardens of The Alhambra; Desde Que Somos Dos contains more Flamenco guitar and syncopated drumming along with exhuberant vocals; Suicidijo starts at the usual fast speed but then slows to become the most reflective piece on the album, with wailing vocals, bells, fantastic Moog and more lovely Flamenco guitar.

Recuerdos De Mi Tierra contains top-notch musicianship and is a highly original recording due to the prominent Arabic influence. Fans of bands such as Guadalquivir, Vega and Azahar should enjoy this album. My one criticism is that the album lacks somewhat in variety, as the energetic tempos are quite relentless. However for anyone looking to add to their Spanish prog collection, this recording is definitely recommended. It contains three excellent and three average tracks, so overall rating is between good and excellent.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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