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MEZQUITA

Symphonic Prog • Spain


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Mezquita biography
Fantastic symphonic progressive from Spain. MEZQUITA can be defined as a more Progressive MEDINA AZAHARA. The band consisted of Jose Rafael Garcia (guitar and vocals), Randy Lopez (bass, percussion and vocals), Rosca Lopez (keyboards and vocals), Rafael Zorilla (drums and vocals) and a violin-section. They incorporate ethnic Spanish influences into the music, and the madness is perfectly wound around tight melodic themes with Arabic and Flamenco textures. As with many of MEZQUITA's contemporaries such as TRIANA and GRANADA, there is a strong KING CRIMSON influence. The level of comparisons should bring it into perspective, this is one of the supremely classic examples of European symphonic progressive rock.

The album "Recuerdos De Mi Tierra" from '79 contains six inventive and compelling tracks with exciting interplay between electric guitar and synthesizer, strong and expressive Spanish vocals, the emotional flamenco guitar and some handclapping (palmas). This is certainly one of my favourite Spanish progrock albums because the atmosphere has such a typical Morish and Andalusian undertone (like early TRIANA). "Califas Del Rock" was recorded two years later, showing a great vocalist as well as fantastic dialogues between flamenco guitar and lyrical keyboards.

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MEZQUITA discography


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

4.04 | 91 ratings
Recuerdos de mi Tierra
1979
2.55 | 13 ratings
Califas Del Rock
1981

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
30º Aniversario En Directo
2010

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

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Desde que somos dos
1979
5.00 | 1 ratings
Recuerdos de mi tierra
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Resaca del Amanecer
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Así soy yo / Mente de mi subconsciente
1981

MEZQUITA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

4 stars This album is a real crazy thing. Blending folk with symphonic, but the folk used in here is very much alike to the Spanish Flamenco sound. Remembering the domination of the Arabs for almost 800 years, Flamenco music maintains a lot of the influence in their style. This time MEZQUITA uses the name, the way of singing and the music combined with excellent rock elements such as electric guitars, drums, bass guitar. Jos' Rafa has a lot the style of singing of Diego "el Cigala", and the music is really outstanding. An album worthy 5 stars for the different kind of perspective shown, yet it needs to grow in you!

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars This is a fast-paced album that rarely lets up, stringing one grating riff with another in rapid succession. At times, the band sounds very much like a classic, hard-rocking Jethro Tull. There are excellent musical ideas throughout this album- most of them are just poorly placed in relation to one another.

"Recuerdos de Mi Tierra" Following a thudding bass and synthesizer introduction, quick, jarring, guitar-led progressive rock breaks forth. Sticking out like they don't belong are the Spanish-flavored acoustic guitar interruptions. After the lengthy instrumental beginning, a verse section begins abruptly, featuring decent but not great vocals over a busy patchwork of musical phrases.

"El Bizco de los Patios" This second song rocks harder than its predecessor, but still has that strident lack of flow. The worst aspect of this, however, is that the lead guitar sounds out of tune. Also, it doesn't help that the piece ends so abruptly, as though the band just said, "Okay, that's enough of that one. Moving on!"

"Desde que Somos Dos" After a terse solo, the drummer is quickly joined by bass and then the ensemble playing a series of glitzy runs. Interjecting again, there are several acoustic guitar cadenzas in call and response fashion introducing the singer (much like the first track).

"Ara Buza" Quirky and unsettled riffs ride a wave of handclaps as a hauntingly sweet electric guitar or thudding bass solo breaks up. The vocal section is structured more like a hard rock song with progressive leanings- a line sung followed by a heavy, complex riff. The second half bears no relation to what came before- it just happens, using fast percussion, a loose group of singers belting out the title, and active guitar soloing.

"Suicidio" The band engages in further frenzied music. The vocals and guitar soloing are highlights of the piece, and there's a rare moment of peacefulness, which makes excellent use of the bass and passionate vocalizations.

"Obertura en Si Bemol" The final tune is a peppy one, with happy organ, synthesizer, and guitar- essentially one solo after another. However, it is ultimately more of the same tricks with nothing fresh in store- great soloing, a fantastic rhythm section, yes, but nothing new. As with the other tracks on this album, the music is difficult to follow.

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by João Paulo

5 stars A great album for this Spanish band. To me, one of the most important music works in seventies in Spain. It's a fusion betwen Spanish Flamenco , Progressive Folk and Jazz Fusion, with a very complex music contexts. Some spanish voices give a Folk context but a great guitar performance give the fusion context. Some questions, answers, without the guitar and keiboards, give a quite unique explosion of good moments of this album. Great bass performance.Very fast movements but with high quality. Very hard to find in CD and I have a Korean version. A masterpiece of Spain that made a quite unique album. This band never made a same high quality work but play very well in live performances. Never boring and for all that like listen and listen a masterpiece. 5 stars of course.High recomended.

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars The years 1976-79 were the most fruitful for the fledgling Rock Andaluz. This was a fusion of Andalusian Flamenco and folk within rock structures, and employing electric instruments. Rock Andaluz was not just a musical movement however, as it was also linked to a strong nationalist sentiment. Mezquita was comprised of musicians who had previously played together in the mid-1970s as Expresion, although a period of military service interrupted the band's development. By the time they reformed as Mezquita in 1979 the record companies were eager to promote anyone that sounded like Rock Andaluz, thanks to the success of groups like Triana.

The first thing that strikes you about Mezquita's debut album Recuerdos De Mi Tierra is the wonderful cover art which features a minaret emerging from a barren landscape; there are also some Arabic symbols and a crescent moon in the background. Morocco is home to Andalusian classical music which evolved under the Moors of Cordoba. Mezquita were clearly influenced by this tradition as their their album features a guest string section; strings were widely used in Andalusian classical music. North African modes and rhythms are also in evidence on the album, and the keyboards frequently mimic clarinets and oboes thus adding to the Arabic atmosphere.

The music consists of six complex compositions featuring exotic timbres and intricate rhythms. Tempos are generally fast and at times are breakneck speed. Three track on the album are worthy of note: The title track features superb duetting Flamenco and electric guitars along with the sound effect of crickets... close your eyes and you are in the gardens of The Alhambra; Desde Que Somos Dos contains more Flamenco guitar and syncopated drumming along with exhuberant vocals; Suicidijo starts at the usual fast speed but then slows to become the most reflective piece on the album, with wailing vocals, bells, fantastic Moog and more lovely Flamenco guitar.

Recuerdos De Mi Tierra contains top-notch musicianship and is a highly original recording due to the prominent Arabic influence. Fans of bands such as Guadalquivir, Vega and Azahar should enjoy this album. My one criticism is that the album lacks somewhat in variety, as the energetic tempos are quite relentless. However for anyone looking to add to their Spanish prog collection, this recording is definitely recommended. It contains three excellent and three average tracks, so overall rating is between good and excellent.

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 Califas Del Rock by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.55 | 13 ratings

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Califas Del Rock
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This second album is a serious let down compared to their excellent debut released only two years prior this one. Like other Spanish bands like "Triana" or "Medina Azahara", they evolved towards a much more blended rock music. True to say that the Andalusian style is still present (together with some definite Oriental influence) but it is primarily pure and straight forward rock oriented.

Here and there some fine guitar break, but this is really not enough when compared to their "Recuerdos De Mi Tierra" which remains their absolute reference (and for sure one of the Spanish prog in general).

Theatrical vocals, heavy beats and average melody is on the menu as well ("La Última Juerga") and such a song is quite a deception. But the whole of this (very short) work is. Gone is the inspiration, deep feel, personality. We are just in front of a decent Spanish rock album from the eighties. Big deal!

To pint out a highlight is not an easy job. Just a collection of average songs, I'm afraid. The only number which is on par with their debut is the brilliant closing "La Montaña, La diudad": an explosion of synth, great rhythms and fantasy. It is by far the best of what's available. It is only a pity that no more of these are present on this work. As such I rate this album with two stars.

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Spanish musical scene could really exploded after the dreadful Franco era. I was in Spain in November 77 and I could feel the immense desire of the youth to free themselves from this yoke.

Some Spanish bands were precursory and could have been exposed to severe censorship since rock music did not really fit the mood of the power in place in those days. This debut album from "Mezquita" did take advantage of the work from the pioneers to release such an album.

The mix between Andalusian moods and prog rock is quite splendid. Being on the instrumental side or on the vocal ones. These guys knew their subject and presented a rather great debut album.

Complex rhythms, great combination of classic Spanish guitar, flamenco mood and Crimsonian instrumentals as well are indeed quite a mix! Almost unmatched for sure ("El Bizco De Los Patios" or "Desde Que Somos Dos").

The highlight IMO is the superb and fully symphonic "Suicidio": a pure jewel full of emotion, skills and passion. Musicianship is top notch and I would be damned if I could not convey the message of great creativity of the music featured.

But most of the album is splendid. Another highlight is the exquisite "Obertura En Si Bemol". It proposes a fantastic opening (which is the translation for obertura) fully in line with KC. Dramatic theme, gorgeous drumming, superb bass and inhuman guitar.

This is an excellent debut album. Four stars.

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars A few years ago I had the chance to listen Hijos del Agobio by TRIANA and since that moment I fell in love with this form of Symphonic Prog blended with Flamenco or Andaluz ethnic touches, two styles that despite being so different they blend perfectly.

MEZQUITA is a bit different because as it's name clearly implies there have more Moorish influences than other bands, as a fact one of the tracks Ara Buza (Give me a kiss) is named in an Arab language.

People talk about King Crimson and even Wakeman influences, but to be honest I feel some distant ELP reminiscences rather than from any other band, the first track Recuerdos de mi Tierra (Memories of my Land) presents this clearly, after a soft Andaluz intro, the band starts to rock with the energy that only the famous power trio was able to provide, the electric guitar work is simply amazing and combined with the keyboards plus accurate drumming, almost reaches perfection, But that's not all, there are radical changes every few minutes but around the middle it's simply dramatic, they start to play in the purest Flamenco style with acoustic guitars and cante hondo included, only a subtle keyboard reminds us we are before a Progressive rock band, just perfect.

El Bizco de los Patios (The Cross-Eyed of the Patios) is much more frantic than the previous one, even when the Flamenco Moorish atmosphere is more than evident, the Prog and Rock element is predominant, the heavy and sometimes distorted guitars morph into Spanish guitars in a matter of seconds, the keyboards and bass sections are simply spectacular, not a second to breathe.

Desde que Somos Dos (Since we are Two) is even weirder, the Moorish sound is completely fused with the Symphonic performance of keyboards and guitar, their sounds has similarities with the classic early 70's Prog, but is so unique that you can't hardly identify any band in particular, they manage to create something new but with respect for the pioneers of Symphonic and their Flamenco inheritance.

In Ara Buza (Give me a Kiss), MEZQUITA guys go even further, now not only the guitar and Cante Hondo, but also palmas (hand clapping) are added, but again the bass breaks the ethnic sound with a hard section, but as usual José Raffa and his peculiar vocals don't let us forget they are Spanish. Again full of dramatic changes and for the first time they remind me a bit of KING CRIMSON with MAHAVISHNU touches, because after the clear and melodic passages, they hit us with strong dissonances, just delightful.

Suicidio (Suicide) returns us again to ELP territory, at least during the intro, because hardly heard any band able to make so many changes in such a little time. This time Roscka adds a Psyche touch with the keyboards that reminds me of early PINK FLOYD,. but almost in a second they return to the ultra complex and elaborate music they are used to play.

Strangely around the middle of the track they start to prepare the grand finale with dramatic vocals, Moorish and Flamenco elements all thrown into our faces with the confidence that only the good musicians who know they are good have, just fantastic.

I don't understand why, but they left Obertura en Si Bemol (Overture in B Flat) for the end, when I should expect an overture for the beginning of the album, but after listening it it's clear that this song is the cherry over the pie, extremely complex and elaborate with incredibly dramatic changes and elements of previous songs, so complex that wouldn't disappoint an Avant fan but with enough melody to please the most demanding Symphonic listener.

The finale is simply perfect, something that I won't ruin using simple words, deserves to be listened without any previous description that could only spoil the effect

My favorite album from this Spanish Symphonic movement is still Hijos del Agobio by TRIANA which I rated with 4 stars, but this album leaves me speechless, and even if the first one mentioned suits my taste a bit more, I can't deny that technically Recuredos de mi Tierra is slightly ahead, so 5 strong stars.

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've really enjoyed listening to this album this past week. I must say I held off getting it for a long time because i'm not really into the Flamenco thing, and the Folk genre is far from my favourite. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this was more Symphonic than Folk, and that it was very much a fiery, energetic display of Spanish Prog. The vocals are fantastic, while the guitar playing is so impressive, both the electric and acoustic.

"Recuerdos De Mi Tierra" is an uptempo track although the tempo does shift a lot. The guitar leads the way and is played with a lot of energy. I like when it settles down after 3 minutes with some Spanish guitar and a heavy sound taking turns. Vocals come in for the first time after 5 minutes. "El Bizco De Los Patios" has a good and interesting one minute intro before vocals arrive. An excellent uptempo melody comes in after 2 minutes. It's quite catchy with great vocals. Check out the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. The synths are very cool as well.

"Desde Que Somos Dos" has a nice drum intro, and guitar and drums end up leading the way. Background synths help soften the raw sound. Vocals after 3 minutes and the song becomes more Spanish sounding. "Ara Buzza (Dame Un Beso)" has some clapping in the intro. Heavy guitar after a minute then vocals. Amazing sound ! Check out the guitar and odd metered drumming after 2 1/2 minutes. "Suicidio" opens with a good uptempo melody as drums, guitar then synths lead the way. Vocals after a minute. It calms down with a vocal melody after 2 1/2 minutes. Synths a minute later. The varied guitar melodies from 5 minutes to 6 1/2 minutes are a highlight for me. Vocal melodies end it. "Obertura En Si Bemol" is different sounding from the other songs mostly because the keyboard is given prominance. I like this one a lot. Lots of synths and organ as drums pound relentlessly. Some good guitar that comes and goes.

This is one album that I can highly recommend, it's a great example of Spanish Prog from the late seventies.

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 Recuerdos de mi Tierra by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.04 | 91 ratings

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Recuerdos de mi Tierra
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Outside the more traditional Basque folk prog groups, the most impressive album coming from the peninsula is certainly Mezquita's sole 70's album (just at the close of the decade) and by judging of their picture, these guys were not exactly teenagers. BTW, their second album of 81 is really not quite as good.And it bloody sounds like it, because this is a very well thought-out album, integrating local elements much more wisely and subtly than many Flamenco prog groups ala Triana and hell knows who else. Outside one track, the Spanish influences are very present but never overwhelming or invasive, mostly due to the fact that they take on other aspects of Spanish culture than Flamenco. This Madrid standard prog quartet sees all four members contributing vocally (but lead is handled by the two guitar man) and the group gets some brilliant string help in a few tracks. The apocalyptic artwork hints at the musical and lyrical content of the album, which is, as the title hints, a reflection about our near and mid-future.

Opening on some distant bell knelling, the title track is very representative of the album, turning into a strongly classical tune (that could sound like a galloping Rondo), with obvious Spanish dramatic theme (the acoustic guitar answering the group in the middle part is breathtaking, especially once the electric guitar replaces the acoustic. The track is about abn eclipse provoking a huge tidal wave (tsunami). The following track, the shorter Patios, is no less head-twisting as they group enters an infernal march onwards full of tempo changes, theme bending and instrumental virtuoso. "Since we've become just the two of us" is more or less the translation of the only overtly Flamenco track, even though the intro was not letting you on.

On the flipside, Ara Buza the castanets have fearing the worst, but son the track digresses into Maur and Moroccan-type of influence. Excellent stuff. El Suicido returns to a Flamenco feel, rather subtly at first, than a little more once the track slows down (the return of the bells) and some delicious guitars (both electric and acoustic) laying on the full dramatics. The album finishes on the best track, an instrumental Obertura In Si Bemol (funny that they chose not to call it Clotura), which is another one of those head-twisting tune with not a single second rest for both the musicians and the listeners.

Clearly one of the Iberic peninsula's best folk-oriented symphonic prog album (some might have some doubts as to Flamenco being folk music, but indeed it is), Mezquita's RDMT is one of these gems that have been unearthed a while ago and is not exactly obscure anymore, and the album has seen at least two different CD reissues, showing it is a consistent seller over the last two decades and deservingly so. If you don't have it yet, you'd bet get a copy before you're the last proghead in your country to have it. Recommended.

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 Califas Del Rock by MEZQUITA album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.55 | 13 ratings

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Califas Del Rock
Mezquita Symphonic Prog

Review by NotAProghead
Special Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars MEZQUITA second album is, in many ways, close to their excellent debut, ''Recuerdos de mi Tierra''. All ingredients are here: virtuostic guitars and keyboards, passionate vocals, some hints of Arabian music (seems a trademark of all bands from Cordoba). But the magic's gone. Probably because some songs became closer to mainstream rock.

Not essential, but anyway interesting (and I must add, hard to find) album, especially for fans of Spanish prog. But get ''Recuerdos de mi Tierra'' first.

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