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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant picture
Gentle Giant biography
Formed in 1970 in London, UK- Disbanded in 1980

GENTLE GIANT is known as the paradigmatic progressive rock band. With an uncomparable musicianship, they went as far as no one ever did into unexplored grounds in the progressive music, navigating over dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, medieval vocal music, jazz and rock. The multi-instrumentation capabilities of the musicians gave such dynamic to their music, which set parameters to a whole coming generation up to these very days. They explored Moogs, Mellotrons and Fender Rhodes usage with such majesty! Not to mention other instruments like oboes, violins, cellos and horns among others.

The band was able to come across the 70's maintaining an outstanding level on their music, altering their style over the years and keeping the quality as only a few bands were able to do. Among their magnificent discography, all the albums from "Acquiring the Taste" through "Playing the Fool" are essential progressive rock releases (with the possible exception of "Interview"). This portion of the band's career would see a fittingly grand conclusion on the live "Playing the Fool" album. What more is there to say about these masters of progressive music?

See also: Three Friends

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GENTLE GIANT discography


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

3.96 | 1408 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.28 | 1730 ratings
Acquiring the Taste
1971
4.13 | 1426 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.31 | 2207 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.35 | 1873 ratings
In a Glass House
1973
4.31 | 1803 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
4.29 | 1693 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.73 | 878 ratings
Interview
1976
2.98 | 664 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.33 | 579 ratings
Giant for a Day
1978
2.78 | 531 ratings
Civilian
1980

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

4.53 | 494 ratings
Playing the Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.59 | 33 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.12 | 67 ratings
Out of the Woods - The BBC Sessions
1996
2.52 | 39 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.16 | 67 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.05 | 36 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.84 | 17 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.17 | 50 ratings
Totally Out of the Woods - The BBC Sessions
2000
2.00 | 24 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.17 | 17 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.82 | 16 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.75 | 25 ratings
Experience
2002
1.42 | 10 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.84 | 11 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.93 | 15 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.17 | 13 ratings
Prologue
2003
3.83 | 4 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
3.60 | 5 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
2.42 | 10 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.48 | 26 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.97 | 35 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.98 | 40 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014
5.00 | 1 ratings
Front Row Center
2022

GENTLE GIANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.64 | 212 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.29 | 107 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

GENTLE GIANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.26 | 8 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1
1974
3.27 | 7 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 2
1974
3.37 | 25 ratings
Giant Steps... The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.11 | 6 ratings
Pretentious for the Sake of It
1977
2.10 | 2 ratings
Circling Round The Gentle Giant
1981
3.42 | 5 ratings
Gentle Giant
1982
3.05 | 2 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.35 | 64 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.14 | 71 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.22 | 39 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.25 | 36 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
3.90 | 31 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
2.31 | 17 ratings
Memories Of Old Days
2013
3.98 | 54 ratings
Three Piece Suite
2017
4.63 | 13 ratings
Unburied Treasure
2019

GENTLE GIANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 4 ratings
Rock Power
1971
4.56 | 18 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.52 | 21 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.51 | 31 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.39 | 18 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
3.63 | 8 ratings
Give It Back
1976
2.75 | 8 ratings
I'm Turning Around
1977
3.55 | 11 ratings
Two Weeks in Spain
1977
4.43 | 14 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.71 | 7 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
1.72 | 10 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.00 | 5 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.11 | 9 ratings
Words from the Wise
1978
3.17 | 6 ratings
Underground
1980
2.50 | 8 ratings
All Through The Night
1980
2.67 | 3 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009
2.25 | 11 ratings
The Power And The Glory
2010

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Acquiring the Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.28 | 1730 ratings

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Acquiring the Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #135!

A masterful Gentle Giant recording. This is when they found their groove, their style. This is the first in the string of six albums that I think are all masterpieces from Gentle Giant. And this is a surprisingly diverse second output! You got sea- shanties ('Wreck'), psychedelic jazz prog ('The House, The Street, The Room', 'Black Cat'), mesmerizing horn/string solos and such ('Pantagruel's Nativity', 'Edge of Twilight', 'The Moon is Down'), and pure oddities ('Acquiring the Taste', 'Plain Truth'). A truly magical album, and one of my favorite prog albums of all time. Prog on, you weirdos, and acquire the taste!

 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.13 | 1426 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #128!

'Three Friends', the big turning point in Gentle Giant's career where prog influences were moving from noticeable only with sharp ears to in the forefront for all to see (or hear, rather). The band serves up an interesting mix of classic rock, jazz- improvisation-style breakdowns (an element diminished to an extent since the previous album, 'Acquiring the Taste'), and prog insanity. It is also the band's first concept album, narrating the story of three friends whose connection was torn as they grew older through songs depicting each one of them, of course, with some prologues for context and a conclusion track. One friend works behind a desk ('Working All Day'), one an easel('Peel the Paint'), and one who worked his way up from a white-collar job to being a well-off executive ('Mister Class and Quality?!'). The largely instrumental first track, 'Prologue', has one of my all time favorite Gentle Giant guitar riffs. The minimal lyrics are amazing and act as preparation/context for the songs to come. 'Schooldays' has many passages with Gentle Giant trademark layered vocals that would be more prominent in the oncoming albums. The Soft piano section is a great part, like a callback to some similar stuff going in the debut and "Taste". 'Working All Day' has some great lyrics and an amazing solo which takes up the middle half of the track, utilizing many keyboard instruments (such as the Fender Rhodes) and guitar. 'Peel the Paint' has an interesting main rhythm, definitely progressive. Violins are omnipotent in this song, always ready for an interlude where they can show off. The aggressive guitar solo accompanied with vocals is one of Gentle Giant's most heavy moments, like Black Sabbath or some crap like that were featured here. Perfection. Metal perfection. Like an early 'Machine Messiah'. 'Mister Class and Quality?!' has an interesting blend of almost country influences, jazz, and rock in the music and medieval in the vocals. This seamlessly transitions into the title track, a symphonic chant of a song that summarizes the album with only twenty-two words. A wonderful way to complete a concept album like Gentle Giant has masterfully crafted. Prog on.

 The Advent Of Panurge by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1973
4.51 | 31 ratings

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The Advent Of Panurge
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #102!

I found out about this single's existence and felt I needed to raise awareness and my opinion on it. Side one is 'The Advent of Panurge'. This is possibly one of the greatest prog tunes ever written. Taking lyrical inspiration from the 16th- century book series 'Gargantua and Pantagruel', this song is deeply rooted (like many other Gentle Giant songs) in the medieval theme, both musically and lyrically. It also has some strong funk undertones. 'Prologue' is found on Gentle Giant's 'Three Friends', and as expected, is the opening track. It is basically one big guitar solo until the vocals begin. It is also pretty funky. These are two great songs, and they pair well to make a great single. Prog on.

 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.31 | 2207 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Frets N Worries

5 stars 9/10 Our more 'underground' (less well known) pick this week goes to 'Octopus'. Gentle Giant's best album can be interesting, one must listen to it several times, the music is very complex (not as complex as Tales From Topographic Oceans, but still complex) and utilizes a variety of different instruments, almost more so than Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, but even that doesn't have a xylophone solo. The album opens with 'The Adventure of Panurge' which is an epic in every sense, and changes a lot, it's a great song. 'Raconteur Troubadour' is a quirky weird British humor song. The next few songs come and go, with the occasional xylophone solo and bongos, but then you get to 'Dog's Life' which is a fun ditty about.. well.. the life of a dog, it's an adorable song. Has some xylophone. 'Think of Me With Kindness' is perhaps one of the greatest love songs ever written, I can not express how much I love this song. It's just beautiful, the lyrics, the vocals, the horns, the piano, just everything, if you listen to nothing else off of this album, listen to that. The next song is 'River', which is a nice album closer, not much to say on that. If anyone likes the weird humor of Monty Python, I recommend Gentle Giant, they're just so British, and I love them for it, also the Steven Wilson remix makes everything sound a bit warmer, it's nice.
 The Power and the Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.31 | 1803 ratings

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The Power and the Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by AJ Junior

4 stars After the release of the less notable "Glass Houses" Gentle Giant decided to one-up themselves and put out their most auditory challenging LP yet. Based on the loose concept of the corruption of power in the world "The Power and the Glory" was inspired by Watergate and Cold War tensions. Derek Shulman's bombastic vocals carry the band through the craziest sections all the while, Kerry Minear puts on a spectacular show with his amazing keyboard work.

"Proclamation" is a perfect example of the Gentle Giant sound, and is a great way to open this landmark album for the group. The beginning odd-time signature Wurlitzer is soon joined by guitar and vocals from Derek. About a third of the way through the song, John Weathers (drums) picks up the ride for an absolutely absurd passage with Hammond Organ. The song goes back into a sped-up version of the main theme to end off the last few minutes. This is one of the best songs on the album right from the start. Unfortunately, the follow-up "So Sincere" doesn't carry the trend. I think it's quite a jumbled mess, to be honest. The time signature doesn't even bother me, but the way the band carries the melody through the staccato jumpiness of the song doesn't sit right with me. IMHO, the live version of "Playing the Fool" is ten times better.

Kerry Minear's track "Aspirations" is another highlight of the album. This song is about all of our hopes and dreams and how they can tragically fall through. Kerry's voice and Wurlitzer work are superb in this song. The Acoustic guitar from Gary Green adds really nice licks throughout the entire song and the bass and drums thump as well. After the great song, Gentle Giant follows with yet another banger in "Playing the Game." This song is a tight meticulous piece on an odd-time signature which is typical for Giant. Here we see Derek hop back in the lead vocal seat while Kerry takes over on the bridge sections. The weird mix of marimba and Hohner Clavinet somehow really goes well on this song. The band also sprinkle in some nice softer Wurlizter and Hammond sections with Kerry singing during the song. This song is probably my favorite on the album especially with that great Organ solo from Kerry.

"Cogs in Cogs" keeps the theme of fast paced bombasticity from the previous tracks. The song opens with fast vocal harmonies from Derek and the band as he rambles about the cogs in the Machine with fits heavily with the concept of the album. An ensemble sings during the middle section before coming back into the opening bombastic keyboard riffs by Kerry to end the song. "The Face" is one of those Giant deep cuts that you can only recall by listening to the whole album. Its a really great referencing song to the rest of the album which is heavy with Clavinet, high vibrato organ, and screeching, odd-time signature, Violin. This song is honestly just a total bop.

The album closes on "Valedictory" which is an omage to "Proclamation" and other various tracks on the album. It repurposes the riffs in different keys and time signatures to give a rightful end to the album. The self titled bonus track "The Power and the Glory" is quite good as well featuring some good guitar work from Gary Green. I always thought this song was on the album to begin with, but apparently not. This album is great, and a spectacular addition to any prog collection. I'd even go as far as to say that it is the quintessential GG album after maybe "Octopus."

 Free Hand by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.29 | 1693 ratings

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Free Hand
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #79!

I must admit, I did not have high expectations for this album. But, as always, Gentle Giant managed to surprise me. The album begins with a catchy little melody. This turns into one of my favorite Gentle Giant songs of all time. 'Just the Same' feels like a song from The Police, which I love. Then is 'On Reflection'. This is a slower song apart from the beginning and the 'all around' sequences. The title track has some great piano in it. About halfway you get to hear a great piano solo which slowly leads into guitar, and then into the main melody. On the beginning of side two is 'Time to Kill', which sounds like a track that would fit in an earlier Gentle Giant album. 'His Last Voyage', another slower track, is the longest song on the album. It is followed by the shortest song on the album, 'Talybont', which feels like a callback to the strong medieval sound on 'Octopus' and other early Gentle Giant records. Call me crazy, but this is my favorite song on the album. It encapsulates Gentle Giant so beautifully. The final track on the album, 'Mobile', gave me some minor Van Der Graaf Generator vibes. A quality ending to a very high-quality Gentle Giant album.

 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.13 | 1426 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Megaphone of Destiny

5 stars Gentle Giant's masterpiece has to be Three Friends. I know all Giant's fans have a different favourite, that is the beauty of their work, but i find Three Friends the most poetic and musical of all the albums. I must say that apart from the last two albums, Civilian and Giant for a Day, their work is top notch. Any of their albums from the seventies can be examples of extreme well crafted prog rock. Their musicianship is always excellent. Kerry Minnear on keyboards and percussion and composition is an absolute genius with a beautiful voice also. Ray Shulman is an sadly underrated bass player, also great composer. Funky as hell, lyrical when it needs to be, powerful when the giant kicks in. Phil Shulman and Derek Shulman provide the beautiful layering of all the voices and horn arrangements. A beautiful blending of saxes and trumpets particularly on "Working All Day" with the use of a baritone sax. Gary Green provides the guitars, alternating between the calm and precision on "Schooldays" or the rawness of the electric blues on the "Peel the Paint" drum and guitar jam. Malcolm Maltimore is the drummer and I'm delighted to say that his playing is almost perfection. The unheard breaks of drums on "Prologue" the power on "Peel the Paint" and the clockwork precision on "Mister Class And Quality". All musicians seem to be perfectly aware of the composition process and with playing their instruments, an amazing array of violins, cello, saxes, trumpets, vibraphone, xylophone, piano. Etc. One can say the story is a bit lame, yes, three friends in school are drawn apart, and we get to know the place they occupy in the society after some years. It is a pretty straightforward plot but the way it develops can say something also about the way we live our lives. First we Work All Day (we're young), then we Peel the Paint (we decide our way, we struggle, we face the contradictions of life) and then we become, hopefully a mister class and quality where the world looks at us to "give and take the orders". I know, i am also a bit lame myself. The music in the album is almost perfect. If you don't know this record, you're the only one to blame. It is a masterpiece and in my opinion is one of the most beautiful records of the 70's prog rock. 1972. What a year that was. I was 3.
 The Power and the Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.31 | 1803 ratings

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The Power and the Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #11!

In my opinion, 'The Power and the Glory' is Gentle Giant's number one album. As of writing this, I bought the beautiful record on vinyl for a whopping five dollars at my go-to local record store and listened to it all the way through for the billionth time. But enough about me, let us talk about this masterpiece of a concept album. 'Proclamation' opens the album subtly, but effectively. It is also the longest track on the album, running at a moderate (for progressive rock, at least) six minutes and forty-four seconds, according to my original vinyl. This is the same length as 'Playing the Game'. The second track is 'So Sincere'. Funky, complex, and verging on math rock. It is my personal favorite song on the album. Then is 'Aspirations', the saddest song on the album. This track is beautiful, to say the least. 'Playing the Game' is one of the more accessible tracks on this album, regardless of the length. Groovy keyboards really sell this song. 'Cogs in Cogs' is my least favorite track on this album, but not for an actual reason, if you get what I mean. The only reason I dislike this song is because of the painful brevity of it all. It ends abruptly, which doesn't help. 'No God's a Man' manages to have some of the best vocal dubs in the entirety of Gentle Giant's discography. 'The Face' is arguably the most starkly political track on the album. To put this wonderful record to an end is the rocky 'Valedictory', which features an altered 'Proclamation' reprise. This ending track acts as a summarization of the album. I had a lot of good things to say about this album, but I'm not done. This concept album is quite confusing when it comes to story. Complex lyrics and no real timelines to follow, each song feels more like one singular sentiment as opposed to something akin to a chapter in a book. But, I've written enough. This is a great album in terms of music, lyrics, and conceptual themes, even if the latter was not executed perfectly. I hope everyone can find something in this album like I did. I even managed to get a friend into this album by listening to it with them. Have fun listening.

 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.31 | 2207 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #10!

This was my introduction to Gentle Giant, and boy was it a great way to start my love for them as a band. The album title is that the album is an 'octo-opus', a piece with eight parts (songs). The record starts with 'The Advent of Panurge', a great track full of proggy nuances that anyone can love. You can hear slamming background piano, Hammond organ, and electric guitar that all add flavor to the song. This song seems accessible, but, like many other songs (if not all of them) on this album, have proven to be quite complicated, with odd overdubs, crazy time-signature shifts, and hidden hidden details that benefit the album. This song is so fun, from the vocals to the piano. It is lyrically based on 'Gargantua and Pantagruel' (much like 'Pantagruel's Nativity' on 'Acquiring the Taste'), and these lyrics are great! It makes me want to sit down and read this novel! Next is 'Raconteur, Troubadour', which has a strong medieval feel in both the lyrics and music. I love the weird time signatures in this song. Like the previous song, it is so fun! It has great bass, too. I love the medieval horn and viola solo. 'A Cry for Everyone' was the last song on this album I learned to like (it took about ten listens) because of the unusually hard-rock-ish feel in the beginning. But now I notice that it encapsulates prog better than other songs on this album. Quite amazing. 'Knots' has always been one of my favorite songs on this album, straight from the first listen. Crazy time signatures, awkward, seemingly delayed dubbing, and weird instrumentation (I could probably guess only half of the instruments played in this song) smother this song with proggy juice. There is a great xylophone solo about halfway through the song. The song gets pretty funky (quite necessary for somebody coming from a childhood of Parliament and Herbie Hancock) and ends the same way. 'The Boys In The Band' is funky to a degree as well. It is probably my second-favorite Gentle Giant instrumental of all time (only bested by 'Free Hand's 'Talybont'). Very complicated and proggy. I love the chorus (if you could call it that, but you know what I'm talking about). There is a flute at some point that just makes this song so much better. 'Dog's Life' has some great lyrics (wonder if they mean anything deeper). This song is chock-full of nuances to appeal to the average prog listener. One of the highlights of this album. 'Think of Me With Kindness' is the slowest song on this album, and is possibly the least proggy. It is a great love song, but the first half kind of interrupts the mood of this album. The horns in this song are absolutely beautiful, though, so I'm not complaining. The last minute of this song is extremely powerful. 'River' is a great song that has some very funky music and secretly complex instrumentation. There is a notable guitar solo somewhere in the mix. Overall, this album is a must-have for all prog-lovers, new and old. Prog on.

 The Power and the Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.31 | 1803 ratings

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The Power and the Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Saimon

5 stars Review #30: The Power and the Glory

Today, on a rainy day, I decided to get up and nourish myself with the paradigmatic album that is the protagonist of this review. GG never ceases to amaze me, be it arrangements, rhythmic breakdowns, their crazy experimentation, or the particular sound that has always made this band very innovative. It is necessary to emphasize that Gentle Giant has always been characterized by the high multi instrumental level of its members, something that few bands can say.

I had already listened to this work several times before, but as of the date of writing this, this is the moment in which I have most felt a connection with P&G's medieval and spacey but at the same time eclectic atmosphere.

"The Power and the glory", released in 1974, Gentle Giant's sixth album, and successor to one of the band's masterpieces "In a Glass House". This album offers us brave and supreme melodies and lyrics.

"TP&TG" tells us, in a way, the story of that man who longed for incredible power, based on doing good, who ends up succumbing to the temptations that such a life odyssey would entail.

Beyond the classical and jazz influences, the cult quintet had a clear musical identity in the way it connected these styles. Throughout its existence, it managed to amalgamate a wide variety of musical currents with a vocal polyphony and a rhythmic and melodic complexity that were focal points for a brotherhood of musicians who saw in the quintet an unparalleled appeal.

In conclusion, "TP&TG" is undoubtedly one of the finest albums by one of the best bands in the progressive rock universe, and a must-have masterpiece in any progressive rock music collection. Some may say that "Octopus", "In A Glass House", "Acquiring The Taste" or "Free Hand" are better than "The Power And The Glory". I don't really know if that's true, and honestly, I don't think it's really relevant. What I really think is that it's more a matter of personal taste. What is really true and relevant is that "The Power And The Glory" has its share of classic Gentle Giant songs and is still one of the best progressive rock albums ever made. This is a truly amazing album, not only for its very technically accomplished progressive music, but also for its ingenious concept. It has numerous emotional and virtuosic musical moments and remains a must for all progressive rock fans. Enjoy it.

Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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