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VEGA

Prog Folk • Spain


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Vega biography
Founded in Madrid, Spain in 1977 - Disbanded in 1982

VEGA were one of several Andalusian and Spanish bands who flourished in the mid- to late seventies by making music that blended flamenco, folk and jazz at times with English progressive tendencies, often resulting in a colorful and rich fusion sound. Acts like TRIANA, CAI, MEZQUITA and AZAHAR would establish themselves as the preeminent players on these scenes, along with the more contemporary counterparts like LOS CANARIOS and ALAMEDA.

In this vein VEGA combined Andalusian instrumentation (and sometimes traditional arrangements) with a less well-defined progressive bent, emphasizing instead a heavy flamenco influence and the showcased guitar work of band leader Tómas Vega. Vega had been a member of the earlier Spanish band LOS GRIMMS, and would also, along with bandmate Jorge Pardo, lend his name to a couple DOLORES (Pedro Ruy Blas) records in the same timeframe.

The group released three albums in three years, each accompanied by one single. The first two are heavily imbued with flamenco-driven fusion compositions, while the final release 'Sol de Oscuridad' seemed to be more intended as an attempt at commercial success with vocals and repetitive, less original arrangements. The band was already in its death throes by the time the third album released.

VEGA were a minor player in an ample line of Spanish and Andalusian prog bands of the seventies and eighties. While their contributions don't generally rank among the greatest acts of that segment, they are worthy of recognition and inclusion in these ProgAcrhives.

>>Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth)<<

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VEGA discography


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

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

3.81 | 36 ratings
Andaluza
1978
3.98 | 16 ratings
Jara
1979
2.13 | 4 ratings
Sol De Oscuridad
1981

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

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

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

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

VEGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Andaluza by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 36 ratings

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Andaluza
Vega Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars VEGA was amongst the first wave of progressive rock bands to emerge from Spain in the late 70s following the fall of Franco's reign. While a scant few bands snuck in past the censors beforehand, after 1975 the floodgates opened and at long last the nation that was stifled during the early 70s progressive rock boom was allowed to join the party and add their own signature sounds. While many of these bands were overtly derivative of the English and Italian scenes, a few bands cast their gaze more upon their own local flavors. While Triana and Mezquita are perhaps the best known fusion bands that mixed symphonic prog, jazz and Andalusian flamenco rock, another band that was around during the day with a similar approach was VEGA.

While many sources cite the band as coming from Madrid, the group actually formed in Badajoz which is situated on river Guadiana on the Portuguese border. While the city is known for its Moorish historic quarter in the region of Extremadura, the sounds of neighboring Andalusia are dominant on the band's debut album ANDALUZA which finds guitarist Tom's Vega displaying his fiery guitar skills where he not only effortlessly channels his inner Paco DeLucia but alternates erratically with a stellar Mahavishnu Orchestra styled jazz-fusion style of prog that is steeped with local folky flavors although the rock parts are more on prog lite than actual outbursts into amazing complexities. The band released three albums during its existence from 1977-82.

While the band had many lineup changes with Vega remaining the only constant member, on ANDALUZA the lineup was Vega on flamenco and electric guitars, Rafael Guillermo on keyboards, mini-Moogs and piano, Guty L'pez on bass, Larry Martin on drums, Enrique Carmona on more flamenco guitar, Pedro Ample on supplemental percussion and Juli'n Llin's as conductor and string arrangements. While the album has outbursts of the more rockin' jazz-fusion bits the primary sounds are the unique foot-stomping rhythms of the flamenco guitar. The album is fairly short and just barely clocks in at over 30 minutes. The music is also entirely instrumental with no vocals to be heard and is probably the most authentic example of flamenco based prog rock that was released during Spain's first ambitious moves into the world of prog rock.

At times it sounds like there is no rock to be heard but tracks like 'Origen' start out in the rock paradigm before adding the flamenco elements however the rhythmic drive is flamenco all the way through the six track playlist. While all beautifully performed, ANDALUZA is an album that is dominated by the guitar antics which disallows any of the other instruments from really deviating from the plan. While the fusion elements are distinct with a fiery flamenco passion, the overweening presence of the pure flamenco elements prevent the album from really jumping off into any experimental realms and therefore VEGA sounded much more like a traditional Andalusian rock band with a few prog touches rather than a true prog / flamenco hybrid as heard by the much more interesting albums released by Triana and Mezquita.

For anyone interested in Spain's nascent prog scene of the 70s then VEGA is indeed a pleasant listen that will leave you imagining a walk down the streets of Seville as flamenco dancers do their little tap dance but if you are expecting a brilliant mix of flamenco with prog rock then i'm afraid you may be disappointed as the prog elements take a back seat on this one but the band would focus heavier on the jazz-fusion side of the equation on future releases. Overall an interesting Spanish prog rock journey but it doesn't quite measure up to the greatest releases of the era from more inventive bands like Triana, Crack, Mezquita, Veneno or Canarios. Still though a worthy addition to any flamenco infused prog lover's listening experience. One of the problems with this one is it's a bit one dimensional in its approach and the tracks start sounding the same especially when listened side by side with other flamenco fusion acts such as Mezquita's excellent 'Recuerdos De Mi Tierra.'

3.5 but rounded down

 Andaluza by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 36 ratings

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Andaluza
Vega Prog Folk

Review by aneznam

4 stars Excelent Andalusian prog-folk. 4.1

I personaly like this genre of prog, but dispite that I would grade this album with a strong four. Really excellent guitar work and harmony of the musicians. I would like not to say much because it has its one thing going, this album. Important thing to say about it is that it seems to be a nice concept album which has short boundaries allowing you to enjoy in it.

For those of you who never heard that kind of merge between Paco de Lucia and M. Orchestra it could be utterly significant for your prog rock career. Maybe :)

Peace

 Jara by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.98 | 16 ratings

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Jara
Vega Prog Folk

Review by Joăo Paulo

4 stars The second album of this Spanish band of seventies is released in 1979 and to me, is not so Progressive Folk vein that first, but really a Jazz Fusion great moment. The base is still in Flamenco music vein but with some brilliant improvisations and duets with guitar and keiboards. The guitar sound is more electric and we can listen a fusion of two guitars, the Spanish classic and the modern electric. A great work in Mezquita vein and a great album of Spanish Progressive of seventies. The keiboards sounds made another context in this band. I like very much this work and I give 4 stars but really 4,5 because it's better that first and we can listen some3 brilliant music moments. Mandatory for those who like fusion moments
 Andaluza by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 36 ratings

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Andaluza
Vega Prog Folk

Review by Joăo Paulo

4 stars Another Spanish band that made a Progressive albun with Flamenco music in same vein of Mezquita. For those that like Spanish music because the guitar work is amazing, this is an album in Progressive local Folk context. We can listen some great guitar moments, with fast scales and the other instruments accompanying effectively all the music parts. This is a important music moment in Spain in seventies decade, when young people like music with a fusion of traditional and modern music. The modern parts is made by bass guitar and drums with very good muisc parts. A very good album and not boring just some progressive Folk bands. I like and i give 4 stars.
 Jara by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.98 | 16 ratings

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Jara
Vega Prog Folk

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vega - Jara (1979)

This record was made available for me by my prog-buddy Erik Neuteboom, who's affection for the Prog Andaluz genre is contagious. The prog andaluz garden has some nice fruits, one of them is the fusion oriented Vega. It's hard to find bands of the genre. Somehow all prog bands from Spain were placed in odd categories like prog folk, symphonic prog and other strange places.

Vega is for instance a very clear Flamenco/Fusion album with a bit of symphonic prog influences. Prog folk is not to be found anywhere near this record. I just wrote a review about the debut and only difference between this record and the debut it that Jara has a bigger focus on the Fusion side of the band. The mix had now become a 50% jazz-rock, 40% flamenco en 10% symphonic/melodic prog. This way the second album of Vega has become an attractive album for people interested in bands like Mahavishnu, Return to Forever and especially Al Di Meola.

The album is still a bit short, clocking around halve an hour. There's little development in the songs or the album as a whole, but the tracks are all high quality fusion tracks with nice melodic parts and great solo's and arangements. The bass and drums have improved on this second album and sometimes you'll end up listening to the highest quality of jazz-rock. The ego of master guitar player Thomas Vega is a big as it should be: Thomas Vega shows us why humanity was given this string instrument, but never get's to dominant in the sound- scape. This is a blessing.

Conclusion. A bit better then the debut, but still short of emotional development in song or the the albums as a whole. The good thing is this album doesn't have one unlikable moment either and the technical and melodic side of the music is top notch. People interested in the genre's mentioned should try this. Those who prefer the fusion side of the music should begin with Jara, people interested in the prog Andaluz side of the music are better of with the debut. Again a small four star rating for Vega!

 Andaluza by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 36 ratings

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Andaluza
Vega Prog Folk

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vega - Andaluza

I don't have that much to say about this great album. It's important to point out what can be expected. This is by no means prog folk (like Jethro). This is guitar oriented fusion with 40% jazz, 40% flamenco and 20% symphonic/melodic prog influences. Yeah, this ain't a standard for the progressive genre, but it might be very very appealing for people interested in the Prog Andaluz genre and those who are intro fusion will find something truly amazing. The album is fully instrumental. One letdown is the fact that this album only spins for 30 minutes, which is very short for today's standards. I myself find this to be acceptable; halve an hour of instrumental fusion is enough for me.

The main person of the band Vega is the master guitar player Thomas Vega. His expertise, style and technique are a virtue throughout the album. He also wrote four of the six pieces on the album. He plays electric, acoustic and flamenco guitars. The others members of the band are also very professional. The drums are jazzy and the bass is nice, except for the first two tracks which give me the feeling the bass is slight bit out of pitch.

Vega's compositions are based on very nice harmonic ideas and professional fusion concepts with some warm string arrangements. The only thing that isn't that good about the tracks is the lack of development during the tracks or the album as a whole. Every song is a track on it's own and has a lot of melodies, but there's never a very good way to end the songs.

Conclusion. Are you interested in the genre's mentioned in this review? This might be one of these gem's you weren't looking for yet. This is not per se a great addition to any prog rock collection, but a lot of PA members will find a great fusion album with great flamenco influences. Especially people interested in Al di Meola should listen to this! The great ethnic additions raise this album to a 3.7 rating to be precise. A 40 minute album with some developmental tracks would have made this a masterpiece of jazz rock. A small four stars for now.

Last words.. It turned out to be I had enough to say about this great album...

 Andaluza by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 36 ratings

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Andaluza
Vega Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you, like me, always wanted to hear traditional flamenco music played with a modern band, this is the record to have! Andaluza is an all instrumental album that does justice to the true flamenco style. That means: basic spanish guitar runs with bass, drums and piano addings, plus some overddubed electric guitars thrown in for good measure. The arrangements enhance the natural richness of the style, that has some jazzy overtones and often strong middle eastern influences peeping in.

The CD is not perfect, though, since the string arrangements are just too tacky for my taste. Fortunatly they don´t appear too much, just a couple of tracks. A string synthesizer or a mellotron would have done wonders in this kind of music (plus giving it a more progressive edge), but I´m just wondering. Even if the record is quite short (only 30 minutes in total), the high quality of the music stands and it is more interesting than most of the spanish bands I´ve known so far that claims to mix flamenco with rock.

Although I still think Juan Martin´s Picassos Portraits as the most interesting Flamenco/progressive rock fusion, Andaluza is an excellent efford. My final rating is something between 3,5 to 4 stars.

 Sol De Oscuridad by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.13 | 4 ratings

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Sol De Oscuridad
Vega Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars Of the three Vega releases this one is the least distinctive, which may explain why the only copies I’m aware of are promos. I’m assuming the thing was actually released since the title track is available as a 7” vinyl single from lots of on-line sites; but I’ve never seen an officially released version and am quite sure there has never been a CD reissue.

The heart of this band was always Tómas Vega’s guitar work, alternating between heavily flamenco- influenced acoustic fingering and a more jazzy style on electric guitar. Those characteristics exist on this album just as they did on the first two, but honestly he doesn’t seem all that inspired and his acoustic pieces in particular aren’t nearly as ranging or intricate as on the band’s other studio releases. None of the Vega albums is exactly a masterpiece, but this one suffers from the 80’s syndrome on a number of levels.

First, the album cover is bland and sterile. Normally I wouldn’t comment on something as unimportant as cover artwork unless it was a stellar Dean piece or something; but this one is so unrepresentative of the music it encases that it bears pointing out. Vega’s first two albums feature beautiful artwork depicting a modern view of Andalusian life, while this one is a cheesy new-wave looking thing with bland angular graphics and insipid Miami Vice-like lettering. Bleah.

And for some reason the group decided to pick their last release as the time to debut more extensive vocals than on any of their other music, which is mostly instrumental. Considering the emphasis on flamenco and prog fusion the band established in their early work, the shift to a more cosmopolitan, smooth sound with two-part vocals is a bit disappointing and a detraction from the more worthwhile instrumental work.

On an up note the bass and brass are both more pronounced than the band’s other works, giving the music a bit of depth that helps to offset the less-than-spectacular guitar parts, particularly on the opening and title tracks.

The band doesn’t really manage to find their groove musically until the final two tracks, both instrumentals and both featuring extended jazz breaks with piano and funky bass lines layered quite beautifully despite the de-emphasis on guitar. “Luz Verde” is indisputably a jazz composition, up-tempo and with little indication that this is a Spanish band beyond the mildly perceptible percussion. The closing “Amaneciendo” is much slower and features the only extensive example of Tómas Vega’s acoustic fingering skill. Had the entire album been more like this song I’m sure the album would have been better received, or at least aged more gracefully than it has.

There’s nothing about this album that stands out much, with “Amaneciendo” and the brief synthesized interlude “Lagoon” being the only tracks worth raising up as even remotely distinguished. Overall this one has the feel of a collectors-only disc, assuming collectors can even find a copy. Fans of Andalusian music would be better served to seek out the work of Triana, Cai or one of the many other noteworthy prog bands of the same region and timeframe. If you want to hear Vega at their best I’d recommend their second release ‘Jara’. This album is best relegated to obscurity and forgotten for most prog fans. Two stars and not really recommended.

peace

 Andaluza by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 36 ratings

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Andaluza
Vega Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the early Nineties I bought some Spanish progrock magazines (Sirius) in order to improve my 'one-year-Spanish' and to discover more of the exciting world of Spanish progressive rock. In one Sirius I noticed an add in which Angel Romero (a known Spanish proghead from Madrid who later moved to the USA) offered his entire progrock LP collection because of a dust-allergy. I felt like a vulture but it was no problem to him, he was happy with my appreciation for the socalled Rock Andaluz, the wonderful blend of Spanish flamenco and progrock. I asked him for advise and bought albums from Cai, Azahar and Vega. On this debut LP guitarplayer Tomas Vega delivers a pleasant progressive blend of flamenco and rock.

1. Triana (3:55): This track is a transition from Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz his work. It contains a cheerful climate and a swinging rhythm-section featuring jazzy inspired flamenco guitar runs, a bit polished string-arrangements and an exciting duel between flowing electric guitar and fast flamenco guitar.

2. Zona rosa (5:53): The first and final part sounds romantic with warm flamenco guitar and tender acoustic piano runs. In between a swinging rhythm and splendid flamenco guitar work, great electric guitar overdubs (howling with echoes from early Triana), propulsive conga percussion and a dynamic rhythm-section.

3. Origen (5:07): This song delivers the most obvious Morish atmosphere (for many years Andalusia was occupied by the Arabs in medieval times): a mid-tempo with an adventurous rhythm-section, exciting flamenco guitar and fiery electric guitar (again some great overdubs), evoking bands like Triana, Mezquita and Iceberg (also Rock Andaluz).

4. Arco Iris (3:30): It starts with warm and sensitive flamenco guitar and soaring strings. Then an accellaration delivering a mid-tempo with powerful electric guitar, sparkling Fender Rhodes piano and again exciting flamenco guitar play.

5. Andaluza (5:32): The titletrack (a transition from Spanish composer Enrique Granados) has a romantic undertone due to the romantic string- arrangements, bringing Alameda to my mind. The jazz inspired flamenco guitar work reminds me strongly of the pivotal and innovative flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia, outstanding!

6. Lamentos (6:06): The final song delivers great interplay, sensational electric guitar overdubs and alternates between mellow with romantic piano and sensitive flamenco guitar and swinging with fiery electric guitar (an Andalusian undertone).

ESSENTIAL SPANISH PROGROCK!!



 Jara by VEGA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.98 | 16 ratings

BUY
Jara
Vega Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is Spanish guitarplayer Tomas Vega his second album, it sounds different from his first effort but absolutely not less exciting!

1. Jara (3:38): A swinging rhythm with a strong duel between flamenco - and electric guitar. The music becomes very dynamic and exciting with great soli on piano. Flamenco - and electric guitar and even the Moog synthesizer. The climate sounds as a blend of flamenco and jazzrock.

2. Monterubio (6:04): Another swinging rhythm featuring splendid jazz/flamenco inspired acoustic guitar runs and sensational soli on a jazzy sounding piano and Moog synthesizer. The rhythm-section is incredible, so dynamic and adventurous.

3. Hornada (6:03): This track contains an Andalusian atmosphere, lots of great soli on piano, synthesizer and fiery electric guitar, supported by Santana-like percussion on conga. The sensational sound evokes Al DiMeola (Elegant Gypsy-era).

4. Castuera (5:12): Again splendid work from the rhythm-section, great electric guitar overdubs and powerful work on the saxophone. Vega swings and rocks!

5. Punta Umbria (7:53): Here some wonderful tremolo guitar work, soaring strings and a swinging piano solo, most of the time the rhythm is mid-tempo, again it sounds very dynamic.

6. Apacible (2:53): The final track is more mellow with sensitive acoustic guitar.

JUST ANOTHER GREAT SPANISH PROGROCK DISCOVERY!!



Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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