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CONGRESO

Prog Folk • Chile


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Congreso biography
CONGRESO are a progressive folk band from Chile that formed in 1969, but whose origins date back even further. The group arose from a union of the González brothers Patricio, Sergio and Fernando (along with bassist Stolen Fernando) from the 60's psych band Los Sicodélicos; along with vocalist Francisco Sazo of the short-lived Chilean rock band Los Masters. While the result was a musical style that bore some features of the British psychedelic and progressive rock bands that inspired them, CONGRESO distinguished itself early on by employing native instrumentation in their music.

Unlike their fellow countrymen LOS JAIVAS who also employs some traditional Chilean instruments but in more modern arrangements, CONGRESO has fused elements of the traditional Chilean cueca dance rhythms and cultural themes along with native instruments to form a unique brand of South American progressive folk.

The band's early albums lean more heavily toward an acoustic, folk style with cultural themes to complement the more traditional arrangements. By the 1980's however, the group had adjusted to Sazo's temporary absence by adopting a more improvisational sound that still emphasized native rhythms but was at the same time more experimental. With the return of Sazo the band has gravitated back to a more folk-leaning mode by the 1990s. At the same time the band's years of experience have born fruit in a more polished and expansive sound on their later albums. CONGRESO continues to perform occasionally today, and issued a retrospective release in 2004.

CONGRESO deserve a place on ProgArchives in recognition of nearly forty years producing uniquely progressive music that represents their cultural heritage while all the while advancing their craft in new musical directions.

Discography:

El Congreso - 1971 EMI-Odeon
Terra Incógnita - 1975 EMI-Odeon
Congreso - 1977 EMI-Odeon
Viaje por la Cresta del Mundo - 1981 EMI-Odeon
Ha Llegado Carta - 1982 EMI-Odeon
Pájaros de Arcilla - 1984 CBS
Estoy que me Muero - 1986 Alerce
Gira al Sur - 1987 Alerce
Para los Arqueólogos del Futuro - 1989 Alerce
Aire Puro - 1990 Alerce
Congreso 71-82 - 1991 EMI
Los Fuegos del Hielo - 1992 Alerce
La Pichanga, Antopoemas - 1992 Alerce
25 Años de Música - 1994 EMI
Por Amor al Viento - 1997 EMI
Mediodía - 1997 Iris
La Loca sin Zapatos - 2001 Macondo/Sony
Congreso de Exportación - 2004 Machi

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Pajaros De ArcillaPajaros De Arcilla
Import
Musica & Cultura
Audio CD$24.99
El CongresoEl Congreso
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Record Runner
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Congreso 25 Anos De MusicaCongreso 25 Anos De Musica
Import
EMI Import 2005
Audio CD$49.99
$13.95 (used)
1971-19821971-1982
Import
EMI Import 2005
Audio CD$40.00 (used)
Aire PuroAire Puro
Audio CD$17.94
$17.25 (used)
CongresoCongreso
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Circolo Del Disco
Audio CD$21.99
Estoy Que Me MueroEstoy Que Me Muero
Import
Alerce
Audio CD$21.44
$19.98 (used)
Gira Al SurGira Al Sur
Record Runner
Audio CD$21.93
La Loca Sin ZapatosLa Loca Sin Zapatos
Audio CD$22.98
Medio DiaMedio Dia
Import
Iris 1998
Audio CD$20.00 (used)
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CONGRESO discography


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

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

3.07 | 17 ratings
El Congreso
1971
3.45 | 19 ratings
Terra Incógnita
1975
4.14 | 23 ratings
Congreso
1977
3.30 | 15 ratings
Viaje por la Cresta del Mundo
1981
3.94 | 12 ratings
Ha Llegado Carta
1982
4.00 | 14 ratings
Pájaros de Arcilla
1984
4.38 | 8 ratings
Estoy que me Muero
1986
3.90 | 10 ratings
Para los Arqueólogos del Futuro
1989
3.67 | 6 ratings
Aire Puro
1990
3.69 | 7 ratings
Los Fuegos del Hielo
1992
4.00 | 5 ratings
Pichanga - Profecias a Falta de Ecuaciones
1992
3.80 | 5 ratings
Por Amor Al Viento
1997
3.00 | 2 ratings
Medio día
1997
3.50 | 8 ratings
La Loca sin Zapatos
2001
3.40 | 5 ratings
Con Los Ojos En La Calle
2010

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

3.41 | 8 ratings
Gira Al Sur
1987
4.33 | 6 ratings
La Historia de un Viaje
2004

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

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
Congreso 1971-1982
1991
4.20 | 5 ratings
25 Años de Música
1994

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

CONGRESO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Terra Incógnita by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.45 | 19 ratings

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Terra Incógnita
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Congreso rapidly built some fame in Chile and kept producing singles as of 1972, while they even entered the studio to record a sophomore album in 1973.Their plans for a release though have to be cancelled due to the military action against president Salvador Allende in September 1973, even if most of the album was already finished.Remaing in the country despite the flaming atmosphere, Congress recruited flutist Renato Vivaldi as the sixth official member of the group and in 1975 their long-awaited album ''Terra Incognita'' sees a major release on London Records, even passing the Atlantic Ocean to reach the markets of Europe in Portugal.

''Terra Incognita'' is a strange album, even if it sounds considerably upgraded compared to the band's debut musically speaking.While there is a stronger addition of traditional Folk vibes in plenty of the tracks and the emotional singing lines remain a trademark of the group, some of the inspiration on the acoustic compositios seems to have faded.Even this way their Andean-influenced Prog Folk is still charming and enganging with romantic passages, intense lyrical moments and even some acoustic instrumental virtuosity, characterized by the impressive flute work of Vivaldi.On the other hand the upgraded instrumental seeds couldn't have resulted to some nice tasty fruits.Congreso have chosen to offer some prominent electric tunes in their new album with a more pronounced rhythm section and they even added some jazzy underlines in their music.As a result the music component of the album is more diverse.There is a good combination of modern instruments with the traditional ones, like charango, pipes, flutes and cello to result an attactive Folk Rock with alternatic acoustic and electric parts, especially during the flipside of the original LP, while the instrumental themes are often very intricate.Still the vocals hold a main role with clean and expressive performances by Francisco Sazo.

A bit of an uneven album, which, even so, holds a great interest till' its very end.Romantic Latin-American Prog Folk with captivating acoustic crescendos, light electric textures and sensational vocals.Recommended.

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 El Congreso by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.07 | 17 ratings

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El Congreso
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Congreso are among the most long-lived Chilean bands ever with more than 40 years of career on their backs.By mid-60's brothers Francisco,Patricio and Sergio Gonzalez along with bassist Fernando Hurtado played together in several school bands,covering foreign English tracks.In 1969 they were joined by singer Fernando Sazo from the beat group Los Sicodelicos and Congreso was born.Based in the city of Quilpue,they started to blend traditional Chilean tunes with rock music,as presented on their debut ''El congreso'' from 1971.

With flutist Hugo Pirovich on board,Congreso play harmonic mellow Psych/Folk Rock deeped in the Chilean roots.The album is mostly acoustic with a few electric blows but with the constant presence of the rhythm section.The flute of Pirovich offers delicate traditional tunes and is mixed greatly with the rest of the band.Vocals are definitely a highlight of the album,very melodic,warm and sensitive.''El congreso'' contains mainly short tracks,all of them are highly melodic and enjoyable,but to say the truth I do not see any progressive leanings.Even the long instrumental ''A.A.R.'' continues in the same style,Psychedelic Rock with Folk influences and a mood for improvisation overall.

I would advise anyone into demanding and rich musicianship to rather skip this album,as it sounds very pastoral and even dated.On the other hand ''El congreso'' will be a great addition for anyone looking for soft rock musicianship blended with with highly melodic content and nice vocal harmonies,no matter he is a fan of Folk Music or not.Recommended.

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 Terra Incógnita by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.45 | 19 ratings

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Terra Incógnita
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars An old folk band from Chile!

This South- American country has a lot to offer musically speaking, they have several iconic bands from the seventies that have inspired so many newer acts from the same country, and from other countries, especially the ones who speak Spanish. When someone says "a progressive rock band from the seventies and from Chile" it is kind of mandatory to think about Los Jaivas, that's normal due to its brilliance and legacy; but there was another huge band called Congreso whose importance was big in the Chilean scene.

Congreso was formed in the late 60s and despite it is mainly a folk band, they also took some psychedelic elements that were combined in some albums with those folk and traditional elements. The music is mostly acoustic and I bet some people may doubt about their progressiveness, and it is understandable due to its evident folk and native sound. They released a debut album in 1971 and two years later in 1973 they created "Terra Incógnita" the album I will review.

The album features fourteen compositions, all of them are short (3-4 minutes) making a total time of 45 worth listening minutes. The opener track "Dónde estarán" is an excellent song which in my opinion works as a perfect example of the music of Congreso. Those folk elements, acoustic guitar, flute, etc., and the sweet vocals are actually part of that Chilean sound of the 70s, that was also used by other non-progressive acts such as Inti Illimani or Quilapayun.

A thing I like about this album is that despite its fourteen tracks, you don't feel tired because all of them are short and consistent, there is not a fracture on the music, no highs and lows, in a few words, I believe you like it or not, I mean you will not say "I liked two or three tracks" no, those songs comprehend a body and this time you either like the complete body or simply dislike.

In music, personally speaking, I don't pay much attention to the words and lyrics, however I like Congreso's lyrics, they are beautiful and disarming at the same time, representing the life in Chile and the personal thoughts of the band. "Tus ojitos" is a track I love singing, one of my favorite also because of the flute sound.

"Juego" is another beautiful track, one of the proggiest ones without a doubt, the bass, flute and other string instruments compose a wonderful atmosphere in where you can close your eyes and enjoy what is happening inside your mind. At half the song there is a cello who adds a dramatic sound, later drums enters and there is also a guitar solo. "Quenita y violin" is a short instrumental track, but sometimes you just need a minute to show what your music is about, and yeah, this is another example of the traditional folk sound of Congreso and Chilean folk in general.

My favorite tracks besides the previously mentioned are: "En Río perdí la voz", "Los maldadosos" and "Canción de reposo". There are in my opinion no fillers in this album, and actually no weak tracks, though of course there are a couple I enjoy less, but anyway remember that body structure I mentioned, well I like it.

Terra Incognita is an album I like and really enjoy when I listen to it, the thing is that I don't use to listen to it frequently because it is not my favorite type of music. If you are a folk lover then you should totally listen to Congreso, if you are familiar with Los Jaivas and traditional Chilean music then you know what I am talking about, if not, I invite you to explore this side of music, no matter its prog content, which in my opinion exists, but does not predominates here. My personal grade would be four stars, but for PA I believe 3 is more accurate.

Enjoy it!

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 Pájaros de Arcilla by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Pájaros de Arcilla
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Pájaros de Arcilla" is a definitive highlight in Congreso's masterful musical history. A peculiar fact about this particular album is that it is the only one in this Chilean outfit's discography not to feature a member on the lead singer's role: Joe Vasconcellos, who had motivated the experimental explorations on fusion roads in the preceding two albums soon after the original vocalist Francisco Sazo had temporarily left the band, als oleft the band in order to pursue other musical interests. The remaining bunch - which by then had been augmented with the entry of saxophonost Jaime Atenas - was clearly illuminated by bursts of inspiration that couldn't be denied or delayed, so a new album got conceived, arranged, recorded and released. The creative stamina was there, and so, before the return of Saqzo, "Pájaros De Arcilla" became a reality destined to define one of the brightest moments of Congreso's history. Since a few tracks include lyrics, flutist Hugo Pirovich assumed the lead singing position when required, but it is easily noticeable that the band was mostly focused on emphasizing its instrumental facet. Without a singer, there is danger of losing some melodic drive, but Congreso managed to pass the test efficiently, working on the own instruments' melodic potential as well as developing an ever-growing sense of sonic adventure. This artistic success was not regarded as such by the band's label, which decided to hold back the release - one of those "intelligent" corporate decisions that are sadly abundant in the music business. Anyway, the album was released in Argentina, gaining well-deserved critical acclaims and ultimately becoming a precious item among Congreso fans (and overall folk-rock fans in the Latin America area). 'Voladita Nortina' opens up the album with a first part based on a solid exhibition of extroverted colorfulness, delivered with mathematic precision. Picture a hybrid of Irakere and Univer Zero, as unlikely as it may seem, and you will get an approximate idea of what I'm trying to talk about. The track's second part, thigs shift toward dreamy moods, featuring piano flows, clever drum kit ornaments and eerie sax lines. Next comes the beautiful title track, a fusion ballad on a 3/4 tempo whose basic circus-like theme develops a surreal portrait of romanticism and fantasy - Fellini's movies cometo my mind whenever I listen to this lovely track. Well... more exactly, every track in this album is lovely. 'Andén del Aire' is segued to the previous track's closing chimes - it is yet another solid example of Congreso's amazing wa to mix latin fusion, jazz-rock and RIO-oriented prog. 6 minutes of enthusiastic beauty washed in soft experimental waters. 'Alas Invasoras' (yet another track with some lyrics in it) reiterates the solidified eclectic approach: the Afro-South-American passages merge well with the series of musical nuances that develop along the way within a robust framework. This balanced confluence of control and free form has to be heard to be believed. Holman's bass deliveries, in particular, are brilliant beyond words. 'En la Ronda de un Vuelo' returns to the romantic warmth that had worked so well earlier in track 2. This time, the melancholic feeling is soft, even joyful (in a delicate way). The flute lines delivered by Pirovich really "sing" with human sweetness. 'Allá Abajo en la Calle (Coco Loco)' is arguably the most celebrated instrumental piece by the band's fans, and it usually lasts much longer than the 4- minute span that incarnates this studio rendition. Anyway, this track is an exciting excercise on Latin-jazz focused on massive atonal experimentations - once again, the chamber rock element becomes totally crucial in both compositional scheme and perforance. The track's architecture is full of frenzy and extravagance in a most exquisite fashion. The same joyful vibe is continued in the closing track 'Volando con Buenos Aires', albeit with less extravagance. "Pájaros de Arcilla" is an item not to be missed by any melomaniac, progressive oriented or not, fusion freak or not, Latin American or not. I gather that the CD edition is out of catalogue, but I pose as a mission for all PA readers to pursue a copy of this gem. Congreso at its best!!

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 Viaje por la Cresta del Mundo by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.30 | 15 ratings

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Viaje por la Cresta del Mundo
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Congreso’s fourth studio album brought with it many changes in the band, both in their lineup and sound. Primary vocalist Francisco Sazo is gone, although he would return to the band a few years later. Bassist Fernando Hurtado had also departed, along with flautist Renato Vivaldi. In their place the remaining trio of González brothers enlisted a quintet of musicians including a new vocalist and percussionist in the form of Joe Vasconcellos, a Chilean who spent most of his childhood and early adult years living in Italy. Vivaldi has been replaced by Hugo Pirovich, and the University-trained Ernesto Holman splits bass duties on the record with Patricio González. Ricardo Vivanco and future University music professor Anibal Correa round out the new lineup.

The most noticeable differences in the band’s music are the distinctively different vocal style of Vasconcellos, and the prominence of classical piano on nearly every composition (but particularly on “Undosla” and the lengthy closing number “La Tierra Hueca”). Vasconcellos doesn’t have quite the range or earthy sincerity in his voice that Sazo mustered in the band’s first few albums, and while the piano passages give the music a more cosmopolitan feel there is also some loss of the folk-leaning emphasis that made their earlier works so engaging for progressive folk fans.

The other tendency the band seems to have adopted is an inclination toward studio improvisation. Many of the songs here are much looser than the very crisp execution present on ‘Terra Incógnita’ and especially the coffee album. Along with Correa’s piano and the assorted brass insertions the music leans every so slightly away from being a regionally-rooted Chilean folk band toward a mildly fusion- sounding one. Had I never heard their 70’s albums this wouldn’t matter much, but I can’t say as the change in tone is necessarily welcome for early fans of the group. This would also be their shortest album to-date, clocking in at barely 42 minutes even including several minutes of pointless and ambling noodling on the closing track.

I was pleasantly surprised to belatedly discover Congreso a few years ago on the strength of their debut and ‘Terra Incógnita’, and still play those albums a fair amount. This offering lacks any truly distinctive characteristics or standout tracks though, and while the music is technically proficient it has the overall feel of having been sort of ‘mailed in’ in terms of the emotional engagement of the various players. The skill and artistry of the musicians involved pretty much require that the album be rated as something better than just a ‘collectors-only’ work, but not by much. Three stars may even be just a bit high, but considering the alternatives it is probably the most appropriate rating to give it. Not much recommended except to fans of Chilean music, and obviously to fans of Congreso. Otherwise I’d look to their earlier music if you are new to the band and looking to discover them at their finest.

peace

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 Congreso by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.14 | 23 ratings

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Congreso
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

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

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

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

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

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 El Congreso by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.07 | 17 ratings

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El Congreso
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars First album by the second-most important Chilean group (from the suburbs of Valparaiso) after Los Jaivas, (El) Congreso is just as long-running as LJ is and had roots well in the 60's, even if their birth dates from 69 and their self-titled debut dates from 71. The double Gonzales guitar attack quintet presents the particularity of having a drummer that plays piano (also a Gonzales) and the singer some flute. Their early music presented some psychedelic folk with strong local (Andean) flavours and the debut is filled with fuzz guitar and sports the ever-present El Condor Pasa (correct version, not too much dramatics), and the group even managed a major label EMI-Odeon, reissued on Cd with Record Runner. It was recorded Live In The Studio for the most of it.

The group obviously intended to have something important in their lyrics (or else the wouldn't have called themselves Congreso) and in the first couple tunes, they speak of Neruda and other meaningful subjects in soft folk rock song with flutes, gentle fuzz-guitar, a bunch of typical Andean instruments like the tarca and quena and use some not-always straight-forward tempo shifts. The flow of track is relatively smooth, and superb instrumentals like El Errante interrupt the succession of folks songs that are all rather lovely, but nothing worth writing home about (or describe accurately in this review ;o)p) but still remain vaguely psychedelic. Some other tracks (like Mirale Al Espejo and its wailing fuzz guitar) take on a rockier form or dramatic feel like Rompe Tu Espada or La Roca, but the album never leaves the folk realm, something El Condor Pasa reminds us, just before a long (11 mins) instrumental (AAR) which starts out on a fuzz-lead tune, but goes on dissecting itself and end up with a bass and drum duo, before getting an overlong drum solo ends the album in its vinyl form. A bit too bad to end so weirdly

The Cd re-issue comes with two bonus tracks in the form of the non-album single of the next year, which goes on to bring back their pop side and more local instruments, with the Como Vas folk ditty, and its flipside, the delicious flute-lead Nuestros Es El Momento. Two valid tracks that add to the album's overall value, without sounding out of context, which has its importance. Somehow this album remains fresh and doesn't sound dated for the folk-minded progheads and if it wasn't for that weird drumming death, it might have garnered enough impact to go further up the rating scale.

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 Congreso by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.14 | 23 ratings

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Congreso
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by Usulprog

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

In "Congreso", released in 1977, the band achieves a very high creative point, and they reach by far the most progressive, powerful and passionate sound of their career. This is notable, because the disco was released under the dictatorship started in Chile in 1973. The album´s quality is high in all tracks, and most of them are simply unforgettable. "El color de la Iguana" is a very happy and elegant overture, where charango, flute, drums, bass and bronzes interact in perfect harmony. In "Volantín de Plumas", Congreso show their more poetic side, and with a fine cueca rhythm they make a ode to the "chirigüe", little typical chilean bird. "Si te Vas" is a love song with a strong Andean feeling helped by the zampoña. I like how the bass sounds in this song, and I find very interesting how Congreso mix fluently very simple (but beautiful) lyrics with a versatile and complex instrumentation. Then we have "Los elementos", an absolute prog song, amazing, and my personal favorite. It starts with a section that evokes a world morning, a vital wake:

Inútil como una flor de goma, abierto como un ropero viejo Absurdos los ojos y la boca, traté de ser un aeroplano Y ved la tierra justo abajo, cayéndose como una naranja negra.

(Useless like a rubber flower, Opened like an old wardrobe Absurds the eyes and the mouth, I tried to be an airplane And you see the earth just below, Opening like a black orange)

Then drums, charango and zampoña are added to the music, the story begins to be written, and the travel receives more energy.

Antiguamente, antes del reloj, y el campanario.

(In ancient times, before the clock and the church tower)

.This is the antechamber of an awesome section, with fantastic percussion and a simple, but terribly penetrative, guitar pluck. The drums are great, and arise of some deep place.

Cuando nadie estaba existían, sólo planetas silenciosos Parecían todos, un universo submarino Parió la tierra a la luna, de una grieta en el mar, mar y luna se nombró. .Vino el pez, la mariposa, los insectos diminutos Cada planeta preñado, obligaba a su progenie a continuar procreando

(When nobody was live existed only silent planets They looked like a submarine universe The earth give birth to the moon, of a fissure in the sea, moon and sea was nominated The fish and the butterfly came, and the little insects too Each pregnant planet, forced his childs to multiplicate.)

And after a frantic passage, a progressive cueca comes to us, and it gives an end to this masterful piece. You will love it.

Then, "El cielito de mi pieza" is an intimate track, with beautiful lyrics and angelic strings. "Tu canto" is more complex, even sour in some moments, with long instrumental passages. "Arcoiris de Hollín", another highlight, with an emotive and dark beginning shows a very complex structure, even more than "Los Elementos". Lyrics and shades reveals, like many Congreso creations, feeling and facts related to the life under dictatorship. Francisco Sazo delights us with a very strong voice, and his mouth shouts denunciation verses that the little brained soldiers never could decipher. A very notable ending, which remind us we are facing one of the bigger works of one of the more important bands from Chile.

"Para ganarnos el cielo" is a 11 minutes bonus track, unreleased before this album. It tells the arriving of Spaniards to America, with an epic instrumentation, deep and fantastic.

I only can say this album is absolutely essential, and you must hear it if you are fan of prog, the latin american fusion with beautiful and poetic lyrics, the folk or simply if you love the good music.

Five Stars absolutely deserved.

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 Gira Al Sur by CONGRESO album cover Live, 1987
3.41 | 8 ratings

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Gira Al Sur
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Although coming fairly late in the group's career (87), Gira Al Sur (touring the south, I think) Congreso's first live album, but the track selection is fairly spread out with at least one track from every album except for their forgotten debut. This being my first contact with the band, I'll attack this review in a chronological order, the only way I can think of to discover which albums would be more progressive. At the time of this tour, apparently the group was a nine-man formation (including the three Gonzales brothers and the two Vivanco brothers), which should allow for much variety in their music. Despite the return of singer Francisco Sazo, the group still cgose three instrumental from the period he missed, but it's only fair to the fans of these albums.

So I'll start with the three tracks from their second album Terrá Incognita (from 75), which was probably recorded in Argentina, given its release date and pushed back some time because of their likely exile. Los Maldadosas has a slow but tense intro, before hitting cruising speed with a violin buzzing around. Donde Estaras is much more open "Spaniard-type" folk, but seems to be crowd pleaser, although it's nothing special musically speaking. This song ending leads into a spoken intro over guitar arpeggios of Vuelta Y Vuelta, which at first doesn't seem to enthuse the crowd, until they recognized the poignant words, the track remaining linear, but getting much applause.

The third self-titled album from 77 (the debut was too) is represented with only track, but it's a killer: the 12-mins+ full-blown prog epic Arcos Iris De Hollin with plenty of drama and twists. Hopefully there are plenty of tracks like these hidden in the Congreso studio albums. The following album Viaje Por La Cresta Del Mundo (81) gets the honours of two tracks, the opening Hijo Del Sol Luminoso with its strong fiery lyrics, sax, flutes and a few prog tricks up its sleeves and much later on the Viaje Por la Cresta Del Mundo (trip for the crest of the world) a sombre and difficult trip into the hidden realm of the group with a great cello part and later a superb piano. Grandiose stuff that hopefully much more similar tracks are to be found in the studio albums.

The fifth album Ha Llegado Carta (82) is represented with La Primera Procession, a fairly traditional folk tune ending not so traditionally, while the sixth Pajaros De Arcillas (83) has the Coco Loco track to defend itself, which sounds suspicious and corny, but it's the exact opposite: the group is in a free-form exploration of madness and the group is not joking with this extremely complicated track that could easily be present on a Miriodor album.

The seventh album Parajos De Acilla (84) gets three tracks, Nocturno; Isla Del Tesoro (treasure island) and Calipso Intenso, the former being a beautiful introverted fiery jazz-rock that bites you to the bone, even if the drumming is 80's-ish, while the treasure cove is not quite as promising, starting with rhythm box-type of beat, sounding like Genesis around the "Shapes" album or other 80's pop and the latter Calipso Intenso is you've guessed relatively catastrophic. Strangely enough their then-latest album, 86's Estoy Que Me Muero was also ignored unless Cancion De La Gira belongs to it, but not likely, because it has a few prog twist that suggests its was writing much earlier, maybe a single release.

So from this Live album, it seems quite evident that the fracture time of Congresso finally giving in to 80's musical (mal)practices came between 81and 84,now whether this was brutal or not, I couldn't say , but most likely it wasn't as sudden as most 70's UK groups. Difficult to say that this En Vivo album makes a good intro to Congresso's works, but it sure gave the wish to investigate further, so I'd say: mission accomplished.

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 Pájaros de Arcilla by CONGRESO album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Pájaros de Arcilla
Congreso Prog Folk

Review by cuncuna

4 stars Accidentally a part of a trilogy, Pájaros de Arcilla continues the line of previous albums Viaje por la cresta del mundo and Ha llegado carta, with saound much more focused on freeforms, improvisation, lost of percusion and aimin to capture the flow of Latinamerica and his sounds, dances and overall rythm. Great for the jazz fusion lovers, and somehow reminding a bit of Flora Purim / Ayrto Moreira kind of sound, this album contains the incredibly beautiful Pájaros de arcilla (Birds of caly) song, a number that sets a melow pause after the northern Voladita nortina (read a bit about diabladas to find out more on this subject), three large and very acomplished jams, much in the vein of previous Ha llegado carta song from the homonimous album, and Alas invasoras, a song that will pretty much give an idea of what is Chilean traditional music like, always in that deconstructive and yet full of emotion approach. The four stars rating is only because previous albums from this line up are just too excelent, and this sounds a bit more loose as a whole. A fine album nevertheless, resulting again in a very articulated archeologic sound document that will inevitably talk you about this southern end of the wolrd.

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