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AMAROK

Prog Folk • Spain


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Amarok biography
AMAROK (the Eskimo word for 'wolf') is a mainly acoustic duo from Catalona. It is the pet project of multi-instrumentalist (and palaeontologist) Robert Santamaria and classically trained vocalist Lidia Cerón. Their material explores new age, electronic, folk, ethnic and progressive sounds. Keyboard rhythm sequences are the basis for the calm, atmospheric melodies pictured by Cerón's peaceful Spanish, ENYA-like vocals. The band does not confine their musicality to their native folk elements, however, as they combine Middle-Eastern and North African textures as well as Medieval European Minstrel orchestrations with free jazz and lots of various world music elements.

Of their six albums released todate, "Mujer Luna" (2002) is their most progressive. Featuring a high level of instrumental sophistication, it is a complex yet pleasant combination of acoustic prog with keyboards and guitar, hinting at a fusion of ELP, CAMEL and KING CRIMSON. Their sixth album, "Quentadharken" (2004), more keyboard and electric guitar oriented, is a bit more neo than purely progressive.

AMAROK's music is quite an experience, their repertoire almost sounding like a compilation of ethnic prog bands. Their material should appeal to fans of ERIS PLUVIA, particularly the album "Mujer Luna".

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

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Sol de MedianocheSol de Medianoche
PROGROCK 2001
Audio CD$7.98
$5.63 (used)
RetrospectivaRetrospectiva
Musea/Luna Negra 2007
Audio CD$14.99
QuentadharkenQuentadharken
Import
Musea Records France 2005
Audio CD$24.99 (used)
Gouveia 2005Gouveia 2005
Musea/Azafran Media 2005
Audio CD$14.99
Canciones De Los Mundos PerdidosCanciones De Los Mundos Perdidos
Import
Musea 1995
Audio CD$8.99
$47.11 (used)
Split (LP)Split (LP)
Halo Of Flies
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AmarokAmarok
Ars Mundi Records
Audio CD$19.99
$15.00 (used)
Mujer LunaMujer Luna
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$11.49 (used)
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Ars Mundi Records
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$40.06 (used)
Els Nostres Petits AmicsEls Nostres Petits Amics
Import
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AMAROK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.71 | 8 ratings
Els Nostres Petits Amics
1994
3.17 | 9 ratings
Canciones de los Mundos Perdidos
1995
2.42 | 7 ratings
Gibra'ara
1998
3.60 | 10 ratings
Tierra de Especias
2000
3.49 | 20 ratings
Mujer Luna
2002
3.82 | 44 ratings
Quentadharken
2004
3.67 | 20 ratings
Sol De Medianoche
2007

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

4.00 | 3 ratings
Gouveia 2005
2012

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Retrospectiva
2007

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

AMAROK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Els Nostres Petits Amics by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.71 | 8 ratings

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Els Nostres Petits Amics
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Spanish act Amarok was found in 1990 in Barcelona by Venezuelan composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Santamaria and female singer Lidia Ceron.For two years they appeared in several venues around the Catalan country and even travelled in Caracas, Venezuela to participate in "IV Encuentro Latinoamericano de Musica Electronica", next to Mexican Prog veteran Jorge Reyes.1993 sees the building of a studio by the band in the rural region of Cataluna, exclusively functioning via solar cells.A year later the self-produced first CD of the band ''Els nostres petits amics'' appears in the market with Santamaria handling several traditional instruments next to his keyboards, Ceron singing and a list of participants helping out: Manel Sese on percussion, Joan Morera on violin, Alfredo Arcusa on drums, Asy Guerrero on guitar, Kerstin Kokocinski on oboe.

This is a very OLDFIELD-ian kind of dreamy Progressive Folk album, which heavily relies on percussion, keyboards and acoustic instruments, supported by the crystalline voice of Ceron, creating ethereal, spacey soundscapes and bordering dangerously with New Age Music.Half sung, half instrumental, the tracks are rather minimalistic with good use of ethnic instruments, like marimbas, bongos and acoustic percussion, covered by Santamaria's proggy keyboard textures.I dislike his performamce on a very weak digital piano, which sounds pretty fake, but the rest of his performance is quite nice and sensitive with orchestral flavors and a fair dose of imaginative melodies.With Ceron sounding a bit like ENYA, the music becomes absolutely pastoral, outlandish and atmospheric, containing some strong Celtic inspirations.Not much of a rock component in here, but some tracks are provided with drums and more pronounced keyboard themes, even flirting with soft Symphonic Rock, led by Santamaria's tricky plays.And at the very end part of the album's atmosphere is left side, replaced by a couple of short, Folk-inspired but trully memorable tunes with intense synthesizers and Lounge acoustics.

ENYA on stage with MIKE OLDFIELD.Quite simplistic description, but this is what ''Els nostres petits amics'' is all about.Ethereal, folky musicianship with good arrangements and fascinating vocals.Recommended.

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 Quentadharken by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.82 | 44 ratings

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Quentadharken
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars Quentadharken is a well-crafted folk-jazz album by Spanish musicians. The recording sounds a bit as if it were recorded live in a small club--especially the thin-tinny drums. This is, however, the album's weak point: It doesn't really feel like a studio album. Still, the performances are wonderful; the group definitely has a polished, well-rehearsed sound to it--a sound that is at times 1960/70s jazz (think early FERMATA and SANTANA), at others Middle Ages troubadour music (even Gypsy or Arabic), sometimes even Celtic. Sometimes Amarok's music is sax driven, others piano, others guitar, others saxophone, often organ, and still others driven by synthesizer or its sultry female vocalist. Variety and diversity are never lacking here! The music crosses and blends so many time periods, so many cultural lines, as to be often breathtaking, and always unusual and unexpected. All of the music could survive without the presence of the vocals and be just fine.

Album highlights: the work of the bass and woodwind players; the guitar and keyboard work; the interesting symphonic and deeply layered song constructs. Favorite songs: the 'medieval jazz'y "Encantamiento" (2:56) (9/10); the KING CRIMSON-plays-French-MIKE OLDFIELD-like epic, "Tierra Boreal" (9:02) (9/10); the gorgeous vocal on the GENESIS 'medieval Arabic,' "La Espiral" (7:54) (9/10); the moving little LE GRAND/LA GOYA/RAMPAL-like "Alumbrado" (1:38) (10/10); the acoustic-based, jazzified, GENESIS Selling England by the Pound-like "Los Origenes" (5:04) (8/10); the STEVE HILLAGE-meets-STEELY DAN-like "Los Hechos" (3:08) (9/10); the KOTEBEL-like "La Batalla" (4:18) (8/10); the delicate ALAN STIVELL-meets- SPIROGYRA-like "Final" (4:42) (8/10); the wonderful woodwind-dominated folk song, "Coda" (4:06) (10/10), and; the funked-up YUGEN-like, "Laberintos de Piedra" (5:22) (8/10).

A 4/4.5 star effort: Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

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 Quentadharken by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.82 | 44 ratings

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Quentadharken
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I can't for the life of me remember why I wanted this record. I'm not into Folk music so I must have thought there was something about this that was different. It does have a World music vibe no doubt, even Celtic at times but this is Folk music with a female singer. Now if you are into Folk this Spanish band will impress you i'm sure.

"Hsieh" picks up a minute in with sax, drums and bass. Flute replaces the sax as they trade off for a while. They keep mixing things up in this song. Violin comes and goes. Vocals 4 1/2 minutes in and i'm not a fan although she sings fine. Best part of the song is 6 1/2 minutes in when the guitar shows up. "La Ultima Expedicion" features organ and an epic sound early then the synths and a beat take over. Vocals a minute in as it settles. A spacey calm before 3 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. It kicks in with vocals before 4 minutes. "Encantamiento" sounds like we are in China. Very Eastern sounding. "Tierra Boreal" is much better. A good beat and rhythm with sax and flute helping out. Organ then leads before 1 1/2 minutes then it settle a minute later. Sounds like mellotron then accordion after 5 minutes followed by vocals a minute later. Guitar before 8 minutes. This is better. Vocals return to end it.

"La Espiral" is Chinese sounding then the vocals come in at 2 minutes. Not a fan. Accordion too then it kicks in before 6 1/2 minutes followed by guitar. "Alumbrado" has piano, flute and mellotron sounds. Mellow stuff. "Los Origenes" opens with acoustic guitar as cymbals and piano join in. An electric guitar solo follows then back to piano. It settles late with mellotron. "Los Hechos" is mellow with vocals. "La Batalla" opens with piano and sax then it kicks in with vocals. I like the instrumental break that follows then the vocals return before 3 1/2 minutes with piano and violin. "Final" is laid back with vocals, flute and more. Not a fan. "Coda" is led by synths and percussion after a minute followed by organ then a Celtic vibe. Vocals return after 3 minutes.

For fans only in my opinion. Not a fan of this album at all. Highly recommended to fans of Folk though.

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 Gouveia 2005 by AMAROK album cover Live, 2012
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Gouveia 2005
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Excellent live performance!

Amarok are a band from Spain whose music offers a vast quantity of elements, here we can listen a mixture of symphonic prog with folk rock and even some jazzy tunes that together produce the own and particular Amarok sound. Now after six years of the original concert, they took the decision of releasing this album with a particular story, because (according to the booklet) this was meant to be a DVD but due to some bad luck the video data disappeared. However, the audio was still saved and Robert Santamaría (Amarok's leader) decided to give it a chance and releasing it as a CD, in order to give their fans a taste of their live sound.

Fortunately I was able to see them twice in Mexico, when they came two years in a row in a festival called FestivAlternativo, held in the city of Querétaro. Since then, I was amazed by their good vibes, their enthusiasm and more important, by their music. They did a great work, all the musicians were first-class performers so the concerts were a complete success; of course, I got interested in their music and acquired some of their albums. That relationship with our country is now stronger than ever, because this "Gouveia 2005" album was produced by Mexican label Azafrán Media, so their music can be found in my country in an easy way.

Well, as I mentioned this album was recorded in 2005 as a part of Gouveia's festival held in Portugal. The performance consisted of nine songs that bring a total time of 66 minutes. The show opens with "M'Goun" taken from their 2000 album "Tierra de especias". Here we can begin to understand their style, which is that wonderful mixture of musical genres taking the folkish elements as the most important and representatives. I like the Spanish style of this song, complemented by the cool guitar riffs and the symphonic keyboards at the end of the track. Flute, piano and sax are also important here.

"El mestre de la caverna" continues with that folkish and symphonic style. The vocals in Spanish give their own style, I always prefer bands and musician singing in their native language, it brings with it the cultural background. In this song the wind instruments play a wonderful role, putting the necessary nuances and textures, it can be better appreciated after minute four, with a beautiful instrumental passage.

"Quentadharkën" is the longest track and probably the one that clicked with me when I saw them, that's why I immediately bought the album with the same title. This is a 15-minute odyssey to the realm of Amarok, here we can find several structures fractured and made into one, instrumental passages that are very visual, the images fall down as leaves so we can build our own story; there are changes in time and mood, in moments the music becomes more emotional, in others it brings beauty and peace, mainly due to the winds (sax and flute), which are perfectly complemented by piano or keyboards, and the mandatory guitar. When I listen to this piece I have a wonderful trip to all the Amarok states, because the music changes very often, offering a diversity of passages and a salad of sounds, with some nice lyrics performed by a great female voice. Excellent!

To follow with the same album they played "Hsieh" which is a wonderful song with a mystical sound and that inherent folkloric touch. The guitar work is excellent though what we perceive more are the winds and drums. The music has a kind of medieval tune mixed with a Canterbury-esque style, and the always predominant European roots. The first four minutes are completely instrumental, and then the voice enters with a flamenco flavor in moments; then the music continues for some minutes until it vanishes. The next song is "Mujer Luna", a shorter piece but full of cadence and richness of sounds. The folk is present with a mid-east flavor here; the rhythm is catchy, so one can even sing it without a problem.

In "The Last of the Lasts" the band introduced a man called Jebediah Springfield, who they know in the Prog Day Fest in 2004, and he accompanied them to Gouveia in order to tell a story. He speaks for a couple of minutes while soft music is being prepared, then he stops and the music continues in a joyful way; I honestly imagine it as the background of a Hobbit party. "La Espiral" is a great song once again with a mid-east flavor; here we can enjoy a delicious flute accompanied by the great voice and wonderful percussion, I am afraid there is a table here. The last two minutes are emotive and more intense, with great keyboards and electric guitar that bring the rock element and a heavier sound.

"La última expedición" is a wonderful song that has a fusion touch in its sound, mainly in the first minute due to the keyboards, bass and drums. Later it changes a little bit with the entrance of the vocals, however, the essence is still the same and the song develops an exquisite example of symphonic fusion prog, if that genre exists. The performance finishes with "Laberintos de piedra" which is one of the most dynamic and exciting songs of Amarok, in my humble opinion. It starts again with that jazzy sound created by winds, but later they add constant drums, vocal games, cool bass lines and funky guitars, making a challenging mixture that give as a result a very solid song. This is a great epilogue to a great concert, here everything is happiness.

What a great show, memories were brought back while listening o it so now I want to see them again sometime soon. Well, if you don't know them, I recommend you to listen to them, you will not regret.

Enjoy it!

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 Sol De Medianoche by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.67 | 20 ratings

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Sol De Medianoche
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The last album to date from this Spanish fully embraces the prog folk roots. The music here (as in previous records) is rather complex and is far from this syrupy ballads that most of the bands referenced in this category are often playing.

What I don't like are the global vocalizing effects of Marta Segura (with some exceptions), and this throughout the album. It is quite difficult to bear for such a long work. They are most of the time quite embarrassing and resemble more to lamentations rather than enjoyable and melodic parts.

Musical influences are many. Medieval and traditional the first long piece of this album: "Hermits" is quite conventional for the genre and leans here and there on Tull.

Obviously, the Oriental ones (remember that Spain was conquered for several centuries) like during the long and languishing "Ishak The Fisherman" are pretty remarkable. Flute, mellotron, violin and surprising vocals make it a quite successful track.

Another highlight from "Sol De Medianoche" (midnight sun) is "Wendigo". It is a strange mix of flamenco, jazz and symphonic prog. It is quite well achieved actually. Great work on the organ as well.

The title track is another long and complex piece of music. Maybe too complex? It mixes jazz, and Eastern influences again. There are some fine piano parts as well, which conveys some tranquil feeling in the midst of this "heavy" track. Needless to say that the (too) few mellotron lines are beautiful and quite pleasant to my ears.

In all, this is a good album; in my views somewhat behind their excellent "Quentadharken" which remains my preferred "Amarok" album. Three stars.

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 Quentadharken by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.82 | 44 ratings

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Quentadharken
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This «Amarok» album is their most achieved so far. It combines lots of Eastern influences, jazz passages and more rocking ones as well. There are a wide variety of instruments used on this album which provides a deep folk texture (the traditional ones + oboe, violin, harp, sax, flute etc.). The opening track "Hsieh" is quite demonstrative in this aspect. It is a highlight already.

On their web-site, the band clearly indicates that they have opted for references from Arab and Turkish music. It is a fine add-on and this album sounds pretty diversified. The well named "Encantamiento" (enchantment) is a delicious acoustic and instrumental folkish ballad with a good interplay between flute, piano and guitar.

The long and jazzy "Tierra Boreal" is more complex and holds even some similarities with ELP. The keyboards work deserves a mention during the long intro. The band then reverts to a more conventional prog folk music with a sweet combination of flute, piano and even some mellotron lines. Some harder part with loud electric guitar completes the picture. This is all well crafted and performed; another highlight.

"La Espiral" opens on a quite skilled Spanish guitar (long) intro which is a bit ruined afterwards with some accordion and vocalizing effects which are not quite in place here. At least I feel so. The Arab influence mentioned above is fully expressed in this song as well.

The pièce de résistance is the long suite made of five tracks and which clocks at over twenty minutes all together. This is quite an impressive piece of music that featuresmost of the sounds that have been heard previously on this album (ELP, jazz, folk, flute and piano). The band paves the way for a wonderful "promenade": from gentle and acoustic parts, the listener is at times embarked into a more solid and rock theme and then back again confronted to the delicate voice of Marta Segura. What a ride!

I would say that this long suite is often in line with the symph style, which is quite alright as far as I am concerned. Fans from this genre wouldn't be disappointed while listening to this very good album.

There are also over fifteen minutes of bonus tracks available. The first one "Labirintos De Piedra" is a remake of the song published in '98 on the average album "Gibra'ara".

In all, this album deserves four stars. It is by far my favourite from "Amarok" so far. Should you only discover one album from this band: "Quentadharken" is the one by no doubt!

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 Mujer Luna by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.49 | 20 ratings

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Mujer Luna
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This Spanish already released several good albums so far. Three out of four IMHHO. And "Mujer Luna" is probably the most achieved of their albums at the time of release, the most folkish as well.

The Eastern influences are quite noticeable in such a track as "Arabesca?" which is not a surprise: pleasant combination of flute and violin as well as sweet percussion work. The same can be said about "Duo Para Tabla Y Saz" which obviously leans more on Indian music.

This work is a true world music album, sourcing out the folkish influences of several countries from the Middle East or even further as I have already said. The whole being sung in Spanish where vocals are available (which is not too much by the way).

There are even some ELP influences during the long "Tierra Austral" and combines bombastic moments and jazzy parts. This is another good moment of this album which I would rate with three stars.

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 Tierra de Especias  by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.60 | 10 ratings

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Tierra de Especias
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I don't feel anything special when I listen to this album. Their first two albums were good but after those, I felt like a downhill in the quality of their works.

In this case, vocals are pretty unbearable while present. Therefore, I prefer the instrumental tracks that are featured on this "Tierra De Especies" like the melodic "Caramillo Del Alba". To highlight the poor vocal parts, the next "Naki Naki" is a superb example of this "feature". Fortunately, the music is excellent, complex and quite entertaining.

Overall, the fluting parts are excellent, percussions are quite pleasant but Marta Segura "performance" on the vocals is quite disputable. The Eastern influence is also dominant at times: with such titles as "El Gran Bazar" and "Danza De Samotracia" (no wonder).

The epic "Azabel Cuentacuentos" displays some "Supper's Ready" feeling (acoustic guitar, flute) which is quite nice to listen to. Hopefully, this excellent number is almost an all instrumental one and also includes some very delicate violin sections. The closing part is not really impressive but as a whole, this is by far the best number of this album which I rate with three stars.

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 Gibra'ara by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.42 | 7 ratings

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Gibra'ara
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This third album from this Spanish band doesn't sound no other than its predecessors.

At times, it is a blatant exercise that seriously reminds some MO works: but don't look for any grandeur à la "Ommadawn" or "Hergest Ridge". You won't find it here. Only a collection of peaceful tracks at times combined with some light vocals. But at the end of the day, there is little to mention about this work.

This album is quite frankly sub-par in comparison with "Els Nostres Petits Amics" or "Canciones De Los Mundos Perdidos". No outstanding tracks (but the band didn't produce many) and a relative insignificance are the signals of a serious let down in their work.

This is just fifty minutes of average music. Is it folk? Prog folk? I don't know?it is not very much of my liking. Mellow, little variations, too few external performances (violin, oboe) are the common treat on "Gilbra'ara". You might have understood that this one is not really an album that I could praise too much. Even the long "Por La Senda De Los Cerezos En Flor" is quite flat: uniform (female) vocals as usual, delicate piano but no enthusiasm really to enlighten almost eleven minutes of music. What else can I say? Probably nothing, I'm afraid. The last three songs from this work are not worth of a mention. Even if the title track features some Oriental beat which is not bad at all.

Instrumental passages with flavours are alien, passionate vocals as well. So. What's left? Not much I'm afraid. More than two stars for this "Gilbra'ara" wouldn't represent my opinion.

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 Canciones de los Mundos Perdidos  by AMAROK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.17 | 9 ratings

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Canciones de los Mundos Perdidos
Amarok Prog Folk

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This Spanish band delivers some sweet folk music, very sweet indeed...

The whole of this album is a pleasant musical experience, although it sounds a bit too much of the same. The female vocal is providing some "Renaissance" feel; as the music which conveys at time some medieval atmosphere as well.

Don't look for any complex passages or musical maestria; this band is using conventional instruments (even if there is some oboe featured) and the music sounds as such.

There isn't any standout track as most of them are based on the same recipe; but the whole exercise is not unpleasant. Nothing from the other world of course: just a relaxing moment of music. Good to listen to after a day of stress.

Three stars.

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