Prog Folk

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Congreso Congreso album cover
4.17 | 23 ratings | 3 reviews | 39% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. El color de la Iguana
2. Volantín de Plumas
3. Si te vas
4. Los Elementos
5. El cielito de mi Pieza
6. Tu Canto
7. Arco iris de Hollín


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Fernando González / electric & acoustic guitar, composer
- Patricio González / 12-string guitar, violoncello
- Fernando Hurtado / electric & acoustic bass
- Sergio González / drums, percussion, piano, guitar
- Francisco Sazo / vocals, lyrics, recorder, rondador, tarca
- Renato Vivaldi / flute, tarca, rondador

Releases information

CD EMI-Odeon

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CONGRESO Congreso ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CONGRESO Congreso reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Congreso's third eponymous album is popularly known as "El Color de la Iguana" (after the pener's title as well as the cover's main color), and also as the "Coffee Album", but let's just name it as "Congreso". This work is a clear manifesto that the band's fusion of Latin American creole folk and modern jazz has reached maturity, and indeed, you can tell that the band's sound feels more powerful than ever. The amalgam created by all members is the fruition of the style that the band had been developed throghout this seminal era. The acoustic guitars and woodwinds are quite predominant, but this is not your average folk album - most of the arrangements are patent invitations to enter the realms of fusion and adorn the final result with art-rock elements. The namesake track opens up the album on an exciting, candorous note, heavily inspired in Mexican folk. It's a pity that this track is not a bit longer, since its joyful mood feels really contagious. The following two tracks pretty much carry on with the telluric mood, albeit portraying a more serene ambiance, heading more closely toward the romantic side of fusion. The first signs of epic musical ambitiosn surface on 'Los Elementos', a track whose peculiar magic is born out of the fluid combination of exotic dynamics and candid colorfulness. The final section bears a merry spirit, as if it were some sort of sortilege of joy aimed to captivate the human heart's most intimate side. The album's second half gets started with a most beautiful cueca, 'El Cielito de Mi Pieza', arguably one of the best love songs to ever come out of Chile. I suspect that there are some touches of Paraguayan guarani cadences inserted in this cueca - anyway, it's a beautiful song that celebrates the hope of love. The last two tracks are the most ambitious regarding structure, which makes them the closest to the standards of prog fusion. The 6+ minute long 'Tu Canto' and the 10+minute long 'Arco Iris de Hollín' find Fernando Gonzalez approaching his guitar as a tool for definite melodic phrasing while Sergio Gonzalez's drumming becomes more patently complex. The motif and rhythm shifts are well ordained, and a special mention has to go to Patricio Gonzalez' deliveries on cello, particuarly for the way he paints such amazing sonic colors for 'Arco Iris de Hollín'. Thse tracks sort of complete and re-elaborate the promise previously shown on 'Los Elementos'. The CD edition comprises an extra track, a bonus piece that didn't make it to the album, although the lyricis would be later reused for a different melody in a song from their 1990's album "Aire Puro". This bonus is 'Para Ganarnos el Cielo', whose spirit delivers a marriage of tracks 4 and 7, once again with a cello that seems to effortlessly steal the limelight with its phrases and harmonies. "Congreso" is a real gem of Chilean folk-fusion, and as such, must be valued as an absolute highlight in Congreso's history.


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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#144334) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Also called Coffee Album (due to its colour and superb artwork), this third (also self-titled) album of the still intact Valparaiso original quintet, but this time, they are joined Renato Vivaldi (this could not be invented) on wind instruments. Actually by now, the group dropped the "El" -part of their name and where ready to flee the country soon, but this album was still recorded in Santiago in May 77, even if some of the material dates from 74.

Starting on the popular Color De La Iguana track, a Pacific Latin America folk (this could be ranging from Mexico to Tierra Del Fuego, in this case) number that uses much percussion (and even finishes into a duo) then following on the superb Volatin De Plumas (feather kyte I think), the album is certainly not denying its folk roots, something reaching its apex with Si Te Vas. But after three tracks, the album has not possessed much prog content; but the superb 8-mins+ Los Elementos will change this. Starting ever so softly from earth's entrails come out some percussions and later a flute and soft almost whispered vocals accompanied by delicate electric guitars, slowly crescendoing on a neat tempo, the track's haunting ambiance is beginning to cast its spell on you: this could last a half-hour you wouldn't mind but all too soon, the track returns to (almost) normal Andean folk with its closing section.

The flipside has only three tracks starting on a more relatively short Latino cuenca folk Cielito (I think ceiling of my room) first, than on the much more impressive 6-mins+ Tu Cantas, an almost- instrumental that allows for many moods to be developed with one Gonzales brother on the cello. Superb stuff. The closing almost 11-mins Arco Iris De Hollin starts melancholously and slowly on a flute and cello working along a pedestrian bass, before all gradually gain speed, while singer Sazo deals verbal blows to the Pinochet regime that they never "got". Great stuff, once again, even if this didn't change the country's course of event.

The Cd reissue comes with an 11-mins bonus track Para Ganarnos el Cielo in a demo state, but there is no indication that it dates from these years or not. Although lacking some of the finishing touches of the rest of the album (it is only a demo, they claim), musically it sounds much in the line of the later half of the album, and its subject is about the Conquistadors' invasion of the new world. So as a good gift, and improving somewhat an already excellent album, the Coffee album is nearing South American perfection. They don't come that much better thazn this one, even if the first three tracks were strictly folk and holds less interest for undiscerning progheads.


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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#199282) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 16, 2009

Latest members reviews

5 stars I decided to translate a review I made time ago of this album to post it here in PROGARCHIVES, because I think this wonderful album deserves more attention. Really, Congreso deserves more diffusion due their high musical quality and their deep compromise with the latin american rythms. In "Cong ... (read more)

Report this review (#186935) | Posted by Usulprog | Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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