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IBIO

Prog Folk • Spain


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Ibio biography
Deftly mixing equal parts of folk and symphonic prog is what this Spanish band does best. The STRAWBS did it with English folk whereas IBIO stress their Spanish roots; however, the comparison stops here as their musical styles have absolutely nothing in common. This quartet from Cantabria (land of the famous Caves of Altamira) released only one LP back in 1978 and then mysteriously disappeared.

Despite some Italian symphonic overtones brought on by the lush keyboard work, the mostly instrumental album "Cuevas de Altamira" never lets you forget its Iberian origins: typical Spanish melodies with a generally upbeat tempo, strong presence of the acoustic guitar and a few but emphatic vocals (perhaps a little overwrought for some tastes). The abundance of moog, synths and mellotron, the complex drumming and the mildly distorted and phased electric guitar make it a 100% prog album.

Recommended if you like folk prog with a marked Southern European accent.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Ibio official website

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El RegresoEl Regreso
Double CD · Import
Artimaña Records
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CUEVAS DE ALTAMIRA(import)(remastered)(ltd.release)CUEVAS DE ALTAMIRA(import)(remastered)(ltd.release)
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IBIO discography


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IBIO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 22 ratings
Cuevas de Altamira
1978
3.06 | 8 ratings
El Regreso
2006

IBIO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

IBIO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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IBIO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Apart from the information here on progarchives I don't really know much about this band, and I bought their album Cuevas De Altamira on the strength of the comparisons to The Strawbs. While I personally don't think they sound particularly like The Strawbs, this is undoubtedly a very good album. The overall sound is symphonic prog with folk elements. Keyboards pretty much dominate with Mario Gomez playing electric piano, clavinet, synthesizer, solina string synth and Mellotron. Although a variety of keys are prominent on every track they are ably supported by some great guitar work. The album consists of seven tracks, only two of which feature vocals. The vocals tend to the melodramatic side and may not be to everyone's taste, but the two vocal tracks are my favourites here.

The album opens with the title track and for the first minute or so has a groove that is very similar to Heroine's Theme by The Strawbs. After a short transition the main theme begins, featuring a lovely melody with synth and string effects. The vocals have a yearning quality that perfectly suit the music... very melancholy. Fuzzed guitar solo follows, sounding very much like John Lees of Barclay James Harvest. Beautiful! The song concludes with another vocal section and then guitar solo to fade, with the Mellotron throughout. A great start to the album. Romance Del Conde Lara is a short and jaunty instrumental featuring electric piano, synth, string synth, and electric and acoustic guitar. La Virulencia Del Ferrocarril starts off sounding like a demented version of the rock'n'roll standard Louie Louie, but then goes through various tempo and mood changes with plenty of great Mellotron, synth and electric guitar. Track 4, Las Chicas De Laredo, is another relatively short track. Despite its short length it also contains several different sections and features dreamy Mellotron, electric piano and guitar.

A Lo Alto Y A Lo Bajo is possibly the weakest track on the album. It features a military beat on the snare drum with guitar and synth playing in unison, but isn't particularly interesting. This is followed by Pastor, the highlight of the disc. After a nice instrumental introduction the vocals enter, backed by sustained synth. Acoustic guitar then gets the main song going, with electric piano backing. After a short synth break the tempo picks up and there's an extended instrumental section featuring synth with acoustic guitar backing. The guitar and keys then reverse roles, with flanged electric guitar backed by electric piano. Get those air guitars and keyboards out! The song finishes all too soon with an abbreviated transition. The final track, La Baila De Ibio, is the longest and heaviest track here. The bass and drums provide a rhythmic ostinato over which a variety of keys and guitars solo. Melodically this is not the strongest track, but it is very dramatic and features the Mellotron heavily.

In conclusion, there are some great moments here and the album and is recommended to anyone who likes their prog on the melodic side. I would rate it somewhere between good and excellent, but the high points and the Mellotron just tip in favour of the 4 stars.

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 El Regreso by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.06 | 8 ratings

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El Regreso
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Their debut album released some ... thirty years prior to this one (yes 30) was a fine work in terms of prog and definitely very special for those days in Spain. I can tell you that in 1978, it was not easy to produce rock music over there. So, let's be grateful to bands such as Ñu or Triana and of course Ibio.

Now, to be honest their debut was much more in the symph genre than this one. This album is looking more into some Spanish folklore traditions and I can't say that this work makes a lot of impressions on me especially during Los Concanos and the dreadful A Dos Mil Años (at least during the vocal parts). Don't get me wrong, Spanish is almost my second language but it is difficult to bear these vocals. Still, there is a wonderful guitar break in here.

IMHHO, only the instrumental numbers are worth (but not all of them). One of the best tracks from El Regreso (the return, in English) is the opening number. Estratagema is just decent, but really too childish. Still, Bosque Encantado is full of passion: great keyboards, symphonic moments, melody: everything is there to make it a highlight. But, these vocals are pretty weak and dull. They sound akward all the way through.

I was probably expecting too much of this come back. This album is just a pale effort in comparison with Cuevas De Altamira. Same vocal problem is featured. Time should have told (twenty eight years should have been sufficient to aknowledge this and look for another vocalist...). There are no such track as the great La Baila De Ibio which closed Cuevas. Clichés as Mar Cantábrico and its dreaful vocal section should have been avoided.

The band should have stuck to fully instrumental pieces like the excellent De Altamira a Puente Viesgo. More than a reference to their good old album. When I listen to Los Ventolines, there is only one feeling that comes up to my mind. Awful: press next.

This is a major disappointment, there are some fine instrumental moments but the vocals ruined them all. Two stars.

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 El Regreso by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.06 | 8 ratings

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El Regreso
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars

Again good news from Spain, this time no Prog Andaluz but Ibio their progfolk. I was a bit surprised to notice that Ibio had returned to the progrock world with a new CD entitled El Regreso in 2006, 28 years after their one-shot-effort Cuevas De Altamira (1978). To be honest, I am more impressed with El Regreso because the band sounds more mature and they use a wider range of instruments (from synthesizers and clarinet to bagpipes and sitar), what a variety and what a pleasant, melodic and very harmonic sounding album.

Most of the 11 songs (including 5 instrumentals) are a blend of classical, folk and symphonic rock featuring cheerful climates that contain beautiful interplay between guitar and keyboards, fluent mid- tempo rhythms and wonderful Spanish vocals with strong ethnic undertones. These vocals and the subjects of the songs (often tributes: to the sea, a landscape and singing old fishermen or the abundant local festivities, the battle against the Romans and an imaginary train) add a special flavour to the climates, very distinctive and I am sure that the fans of progressive folk will be very pleased. My highlights are the alternating and inventively composed Romería (great keyboard sound, raw and propulsive guitar riffs and a beautiful grand finale with moving guitarwork), Mar Cantábrico (intense interplay between guitar and keyboards, wonderful vocals and melancholical violin and an accellaration with subtle play on keyboards and guitar) and the excellent final composition Cuevas de Altamira, to me this new version sounds more lush than the original titletrack from 1978: first a slow rhythm with sensitive electric guitar and a church organ sound, then a surprising duet between sitar and Hammond organ and finally a splendid, very good build-up guitar solo with howling runs, this is Prog Heaven! My rating: 3,5 stars.

The CD release I got is a 2-CD version: CD-1 Audio Multicanal 5.1. and CD-2 Audio Stereo.



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 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Of the seven provinces making Spain's Northern border, only two have a real Spanish or Castillan culture (don't read "Catalan", please, I like to keep my head on my shoulders ;o)), the first being Aragon and the other being Cantabria, with its capital Santander. But Cantabria being stuck between the Basque provinces and the more Celtic Asturias and Galicia, you can guess that the pure Hidalgo spirit is not quite as prominent as it would be some 300 Kms Southbound. And Ibio, coming from that province, is using many folk influences, but they are different from the Basque but also the more Flamenco culture; instead they use a more "medieval" atmosphere and a slight Celtic touch as well, but the whole thing comes as a pot-pourri, including the castanets moments. To say that Ibio is a folk- derived band alone would make it a lie, because the group develops a strong symphonic feel as well, represent mostly by the usual array of suspect keyboards, including the Solina and the Mellotron and bassist Alegria is singing.

The standard prog quartet was already fairly experienced musicians by the time they came around to release their sole album in 78, judging from the picture included in this nice digipack (my guess was the vinyl came in a gatefold sleeve). Sonically, it's difficult to describe accurately as they pretty well seem to have their own sound somewhere between Fruupp, BJH, Genesis and to a lesser extent Yes, but also Goma, Crack, and even Itoiz. Never overly complicated CDA is a gentle smooth-running album, that doesn't raise many eyebrows; even when Pastor unleashes its dramatic Hispanic vocals, you'd expect more pizzazz and poignant emotions, which won't come hard enough to win you over. The seven tracks, ranging from 2.5 to almost 8 minutes, are all penned by keyboardist Calderón (who dominates moderately the music as well), bar the short guitar-ey Highs & Lows. The most exciting track is the the lengthy finale Baila de Ibio, where the finally break out from their shell and become themselves and can't help but shouting a "Viva Cantabria" to meet their more sovereign-prone cousin and neighbour provinces.

While Ibio's sole album is a nice, middle-of-the-pack symphonic folk prog that should content most progheads, it is nothing extraordinary either and its discovery shouldn't bawl you over or even enthral you beyond the normal novelty enthusiasm, and it'll most likely end up in the middle of the pack of little-heard albums a few years after the acquisition, but should reward you with enough thrills on each successive rediscoveries ever couple of years or so.

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 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars These guys got back together for a reunion album in 2006, but this is not that album. This one is the only thing they actually released when they were together the first time, way back in the 1978. I don't know much about this band from Northern Spain, but it seems like they may have gotten into the progressive symphonic/ethnic game a bit late, as this released at a time when this style of music was in decline. That may also account for the nearly thirty year gap between this and their second album.

No matter, it is a very decent symphonic-leaning album with enough Latin guitar treatments and percussion to be classified as progressive world or folk music. The band's heavy use of mellotron and synthesized keyboards (and also quite a bit of clavinet) is also a bit dated, but there are clear influences of some of the masters of the genre from further south in Europe. I believe this originally released on Gong's label, and the keyboards for sure have some of the lively and spry Canterbury leanings. The bass and especially electric guitar are more timely in their approach however, with some great electric guitar riffs especially on the title track, "La Virulencia del Ferrocarri", and the rather heavy-prog "La Baila De Ibio". Other tracks like "Pastor" and "Romance del Conde Lara" are strongly keyboard-driven, although I don't hear much variety really in the keyboard passages from one track to the next. Some of them sound almost identical except for the variations on guitar and bass.

There is a bit of singing (all male) on some tracks, although the majority of the album is instrumental. The production is fairly weak - not poor really; just pretty standard fare for a progressive album. I think this may have been a four track recording, and while the separation between instruments in quite clear the overall impression tends to become a bit flat and muddled at times. This sounds more like it was recorded in 1974, although the liner notes state that the sessions were conducted in early 1978.

At times the band seems to be struggling to find their musical purpose, most notably with the rhythm- heavy "La Baila de Ibio". This one has a bit of a martial feel at times, even though it starts off giving the impression of being a heavy rock tune.

I can't say this is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection, but it is decent music and makes for a nice curio in a stack of prog albums. The CD reissue is pretty accessible, but the lack of extensive liner notes is a drawback since these guys are pretty much unknown outside their region.

In all I'd say this is a clear-cut three star affair, worth picking up for the Latin-inflected arrangements and vivacious guitar work, but not something that most progressive music fans will find indispensible by any means. Recommended to folk/world music fans who like a bit of spice in their music.

peace

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 El Regreso by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.06 | 8 ratings

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El Regreso
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "El Regreso" is the accurate title for Ibio's comeback album: this was one of the most remembered bands from Spain's 70s progressive scene, having the peculiarity of being the main act from a particular Northern region, Cantabria. This is the land of the Caves of Altamira, and Ibio created a solid prog-folk style that, from the rock point of view, absorbed influences from Yes, Pink Floyd and the IItalian standard (PFM, Apoteosi,... or was it just coincidence?). Now, how do they sound like? Pretty much the same but with a heavier use of digital sounds on modern keyboards and an usually major presence of the guitar. It is not exactly that the band is now rockier and less folkish: it is equally folkish, but the global ensemble's sound is fuller and more vigorous, with a more thorough work on the arrangements when it comes to exploit the symphonic possibilities of the track's main motifs. Anyway, the fact remains that the typical Celtic vibe of Spain's Northern folklore shines brightly all through the album's repertoire. The namesake opener is a delighful instrumental that bears an enchanting catchiness, a reasonable dose of symphonic pomposity properly lead by the synths and cleverly accomplished by all musicians, who effortlessly keep things under control. The next two tracks are patently rooted on the folkish factor, with 'En el Monte' including a featured guest on bagpipe. The sense of joy is a replication of the usual flair of naivety so typical of all Spanish folk traditions. Perhaps these three tracks are symptomatic of Ibio's two main trends, the symphonic and the prog-folkish, with any of the tracks leaning closer to one or the other. 'A Dos Mil Años' bears an evocative tone that turns aout to be quite appalling, especially due to the sumptuous keyboard layers and the emotionally charged guitar solo: the perfect score for these particular lyrics, reflectively critical of humankind's history of constant destruction. After spending some time in this harbour of solemnity, naivety returns to its ruling place with the overwhelmingly playful 'Estratagema'. Other demonstrations of serene candidness in a playful guise are 'De Altamira a Puente Riesgo' and 'Los Ventolines'. 'Bosque Encantado' is the album's longest tracks, with its 7+ minute span: here we find what is arguably the most impressive guitar solo in the album, besides a dreamy keyboard led interlude that screans pure symphonic prog through the porse of each and every note. A zenith of the album, indeed. 'Romería' follows the folkish structure of other preceeding tracks, but this one stands out for preserving a certain density that shies away from any manifestation of naivety: this time, the ambience heas a more introverted tendency. This melancholic vibe is further explored in 'Mar Cantábrico', which brings back the solemnity of 'A Dos Mil Años', only this time the lyricis are not about what's been going on in the outside world but about the hopes and expectations of our inner selves. The progressive expansions of the main motif and the presence of a guest musician on cello crucially help to create a splendour surrounding for the meditation portrayed on the lyrics. Here's another highlight of the album. The album is closed down by a new version of the firts album's opener: the original's essence has been preserved, but it is fair to say that the modern sonorities and the more professional sound production take the song to a different level. My fave tracks are 1, 6, 7 and 8, but looking beyond my own personal ranking, I must say that this whole album works integrally as an excellent prog item. Devoted collectors of Spanish prog and followers of symphonic prog in general should love this album - Ibio's El Regreso is almost mandatory in a progressive shopping list.

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 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Ibio was purportedly touted as the Spanish Strawbs, but, other than the first few minutes of the title and opening track which are more than a little reminiscent of the first few minutes of "Heroine's Theme" that began the British group's "Hero and Heroine" album, the similarity just isn't there. Ibio tends to go for mostly instrumental symphonic prog with mellotrons, synthesizers, and searing lead guitars served on a bed of Spanish folk.

Strongest tracks are the aforementioned opener which evolves into a heartfelt ballad, the short instrumental "Romance Del Conde Lara", and the superb "Pastor" that features the return of vocals as well as some crackling synthesizer lines and the most melodic guitar workouts to be found within these and many other grooves. Unfortunately the album sags a bit in the midsection during the frenetic shorter pieces and parts of the overly meandering " La Virulencia Del Ferrocarril", while the finale "La Laila de Ibio" is out of sync with the generally lighter mood of the rest of the material, even if it does feature stellar percussion.

While much of this album is decidedly appealing from a number of standpoints, a lack of compositional prowess combined with muddy production, even for its time, prevents it from attaining classic status.

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 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A lost jewel from the seventies ?

"Cuevas" features some brilliant symphonic melodies. Just listen to the title track to be convinced. Production is of course not great but several numbers are worth your investigation.

Besides the title track which features poor vocals but is quite enjoyable otherwise, "La Virulencia..." is a good mix of influences : if one song can be categorized somewhat folkish, it is this one. The structure of the song is a bit difficult to approach, and even if there is a main theme, it seems that it is spreading in too many directions.

My second fave is the short "Las Chicas de Laredo". Fully romantic, melodious, with a passionate guitar play. Very much in the Camel style ("Snow Goose" period).

Some weak numbers as well are featured : "Romance del Conde Lara", "A lo Alto y a lo Bajo" (bass is really invading and is too much on the forefront, another production problem). The folk mood is very much present here as well, but the drumming is rather unpleasant.

The last two pieces of music are the longest one of the albums. "Pastor" features some flamenco-style vocals and real poor lyrics. After having digested these, some nice synth are very much welcome. Short vocals are back again at the end of the song (this could have been avoided).

The closing number is the best track of this work : great keys (synth and mellotron), a scary mood, some subtle Spanish guitar and a great drumming part. Almost eight minutes of pure symphonic music. Bombastic and impressive finale as well.

When I listened to this album for the first time, I was rather charmed. But the more I listen to it, the more I tend to look at it as a decent album, but not really as a jewel. I also believe that it belongs more to the symphonic prog genre that folk.

Three stars.

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 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is a decent combination of folk-rock with some nice acid rock guitar and occasional heartfelt vocals. Ibio, hailing from Spain, combines traditional Spanish folk music themes with electric rock music. The results are mixed in my opinion. There are moments that are quite powerful and other moments which are decidedly less compelling. The playing is certainly adequate but nothing mind-shattering.

"Ceuvas de Altamira" is a worthy opener with wailing guitar and strong vocals. "Romance del Conde Lara" nicely blends keys, acoustic and electric guitar in an instrumental that works well but is too short. The guitar sound generally is nice and raw, the keyboards range from pleasantly serene to cringingly cheesy on "La virulencia." The long closing track "La Baila De Ibio" is the most ambitious song from a prog perspective. Starting in dramatic punchy fashion, the drums set the pace for a duel between keys and lead guitar. Halfway through the acoustic enters and things continue to build into a finale of electric guitar soloing which ends abruptly. Again it does work but not to an astounding degree by any means.

The Fonomusic tri-fold digipak displays the stunning front and back cover paintings beautifully, though sadly they did not include any booklet of lyrics or band history. 3.5 stars. Definitely recommended for fans of Spanish folk prog, for other I'm not sure.

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 Cuevas de Altamira by IBIO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 22 ratings

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Cuevas de Altamira
Ibio Prog Folk

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Ibio's "Cuevas de Altamira" is a very impressive Spanish prog recording from the late 70s. What particularly impresses me most of the band's overall style is their ability to fluidly combine the bright colours of Northern Spanish folk and the somber ambiences of their sound, in which the leading role is assumed by Mario Gómez's layers on mellotron, Moog and Solina synths. Sometimes the band seems eager to invite the listener to evoke a walk along a dark cave, which is not frightening nor scary, but mysterious in a strange kind of way: the sense of mystery is filled with the magical interplay created in tandem by the guitar and the keyboard parts (harmonies, solos), while the rhythm section performs their sustaining role with confidence and precision. The listener may find in Ibio some stylistic coincidences with what Apoteosi and Corte dei Miracoli had been doing in Italy, and Granada in the Iberian Peninsula itself. Definitely, Ibio's overall sound has a definitive Southern European flavor in it, not really close to anything that was being done - or had been done - in the UK (prog rock's fatherland). The opening title track is a bit deceitful, since its somewhat oppressive, melancholy mood is not precisely an accurate indication of most of the stuff that will come afterwards: its languid tempo serves more as a delicate, reflective introduction to the musical world of Ibio than as a sample of their most recurrent vivid facets. These facets are more suitably represented in the up-tempo 'Romance del Conde Lara', as well as in 'La Virulencia del Ferrocarril' - explosive guitar solos in here - and 'Pastor', two of the most outstanding pieces in the album. The closure 'La Baila de Ibio' is my fave track: the basic musical theme is quite simple, yet it is delivered with great inventiveness, in a combination of folkish exultation and psychedelic density (in some ways, this track reminds me of Fusioon). These three pieces together conform Ibio's main statement. I happen to find 'Las Chicas de Laredo' and 'A lo Alto y a lo Bajo' a bit less interesting than the aforementioned numbers, but still they are quite exciting to listen to, particularly for that folkish factor the band clings to, celebrating their own musical roots while reconstructing them in a prog manner. In conclusion: "Cuevas de Altamira" is an excellent recording from a country full of beautiful progressive surprises.

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