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Symphonic Prog • Argentina

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MIA biography
Formed in the mid 70s, Independent Musicians Associated (MIA) was a group of musicians, technicians and drawers gathered together by Lito and Liliana Vitale's parents. They produced their own records and concerts in an independent way. Their music is a complex symphonic rock with definite Argentinean/latin folk influence with multiple corals and vocals beautifully contrasting with the keyboards and a great guitar sound upon a strong rhythmic section. They were highly influenced by symphonic music, more noteworthy by ELP, GENTLE GIANT and FOCUS.

Their debut was "Transparencias", an exquisite album of classical. Their second album was vocal oriented. Lead by Alberto Muñoz -author of the lyrics- this effort was a different approach, though still keeping the symphonic mood in the form of songs. On "Cornostipicum", MIA returned to the instrumental-symphonic rock with elaborated pieces such as "Crifana y Tamílstenes". This album is a highly recommended classic and certainly one of the best ever from Argentina. MIA's final release was a big project called "Conciertos", a 3-LP album comprising live recordings from the group's last set of shows. All of these come highly recommended, MIA were a unique musical ensemble with a definite progressive ethic.

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MIA discography

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

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

3.95 | 61 ratings
3.22 | 31 ratings
Magicos Juegos Del Tiempo
4.16 | 87 ratings

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

4.56 | 9 ratings

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

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

3.08 | 6 ratings
Archivos MIA (1974 - 1985)

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

MIA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cornonstipicum by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.16 | 87 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by MyDarling95

4 stars MIA can't be called as one of the best prog bands form Argentina, and it is because I think their albums aren't constant. Transparencias was a nice effort with high level compisitions but lacking some spirit and emotion. Magicos Juegos Del Tiempo is completely out of place, compositions and lyrics are poor. But for Cornonstipicum it would seem that MIA learned from everything; they took all the bad, threw it away and made the best parts better. It is another purely instrumental album like Transparencias, the instrumentation and compositions are a lot better, and yes, this I would rank as one of the best from Argentina, also a bit rare while LP pressing was very limited. Side 1 begins with La Coronaci'n del Farre (Farre's Crowning) and it is named after a doggy named Farre (whose picture even appears in the inner art along with the pictures of the other members and the chorus). It is a great intro for the album with changing moods between guitars, keys and a great flute-recorder tuple. Imagen III (Image III) is eventually from the Imagen series (Imagen II is in Transparencias and I'm not sure if they ever recorder Imagen I), it is a beautiful soft piece, with soft guitars, more keys and some accordion (played by Lito). Crifana Y Tam'lstenes is the highlight of side 1. The lalala vocals remind the Canterbury sound, and again the keys take the spotlight. Las Persianas No is short and silly (just look at the title, it means "Not The Blinds", you know, window blinds). Piedras de Color (Color Stones) is a short piano piece played entirely by Lito. And so the general highlight, the Cornonstipicum suite. Some new keys as well as the chorus are introduced. There is a mid soft part with again the flute-recorder duo. There is no time to rest here, constant changes are always present, great guitars, keys at all times and solo and chorus vocals make this an unforgettable piece. If you like Italian prog or great keys then this is a must for you. And if not, it will be a good addition for your collection.
 Transparencias by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.95 | 61 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by Jeff Carney

3 stars Look, that some of this material was written by a 15 year old is remarkable, but let's try to judge this album objectively.

There is a lot ELP here. And early in the record the musical moves sometimes work themselves into classical tributes; which can sound a bit out of place. There is a long bass solo which sounds nice enough but is straight out of the Greg Lake/Chris Squire school. A drum solo follows which sounds somewhere between Carl Palmer and Billy Cobham, yet somehow feels forced and perhaps an example of overplaying. Overall, however, I found the rhythm section to be pretty strong. Moving the pieces along in interesting fashion. Keeping busy but not overly so.

The long title track is somewhat ruined in that it eventually descends into what is simply a blatant rip-off of Renaissance's "Ashes Are Burning." This goes on and on and on ... with an attempt to throw an Andy Powell guitar solo into the mix. It simply doesn't work and the album ends in disappointment.

This is no 4 star album. 3 is reasonable.

 Cornonstipicum by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.16 | 87 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

5 stars When one of my best friends introduced me to MIA, first of all I was totally impressed by the cover of the album, a complete piece of art, then we passed to the music and I was blown away by it. A total massive progression that is mainly symphonic prog, but I found a lot of elements related to the Canterbury Scene and also a lot of sections with folk acoustic elements. Definitely, an excellent album of progressive rock from Argentina, probing that MIA and especially this album, CORNONSTIPICUM is one of the best things you could ever listen to as a prog lover, thanks to my friend for introducing me to this band!
 Magicos Juegos Del Tiempo by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.22 | 31 ratings

Magicos Juegos Del Tiempo
MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In January 77' a slightly refined M.I.A. line-up enters the Netto Studios to record the ensemble's sophomore effort.Juan Del Barrio had parted ways with the rest of the team and Lito Vitale became the responsible man for all the album's keyboards.Instead Nono Belvis was promoted to a full-time member next to Alberto Munoz, thus M.I.A. had now two guitarists/bassists.Daniel Curto's percussion appear only in a couple of tracks.The album was dealing with the life of an imaginery character named Juliana Gabina, from childhood through adolescence, and was released later during the year on Ciclo 3.

The first few tracks follow the path of pastoral Symphonic/Folk Rock, similar to CELESTE and PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, dominated by the work of Vitale on keyboards and piano as well as the acoustic guitars.Very soft and delicate musicianship with plenty of sensitive polyphonic lines and light Classical influences in the piano themes, while the switch between acoustic and electric guitars are numerous, though the later are characterized by a very soft touch, hardly recognizable.With ''Antiguas Campanas Del Pueblo'' M.I.A. shift towards a more keyboard-driven Symponic Rock ala E.L.P. with nice organ moves surrounding a melancholic Liliana Vitale voice, yet Lito Vitale's work on synths and Hammond organ is really remarkable and almost unmistakable.The long ''Archipielagos De Guernaclara'' shows M.I.A's diversity as a group, as the music ranges from Classical piano themes to rural Folk Rock to semi-loose Jazz Rock with different variations throughout.A rather incosistent piece with unrelated moods, yet the technical efficiency of the group is really great.''Romanza Para Una Mujer Que'' is too soft and mellow Folk Rock with measured keyboard passages, elegant flutes and of course acoustic soundscapes, but the middle-placed instrumental part with the powerful keyboards and rhythm section is very good.Closing cut ''Corales De La Cantata Saturno'' is an almost Medieval-flavored choir-type song with Lito Vitale's harsichord and organ in evidence, still deeped in his Classical influences, and a really beautiful choir delivering very emotional and grandiose singing.

The same album was reissued in 1993 with no less than five bonus tracks as extra material, all coming from M.I.A.'s concert at Teatro Santa Maria in 1978.Nothing very close to the band's classic sound, most of these pieces range from Acoustic Folk to Folk Rock with tons of (quite excellent and mostly female) vocals and basically acoustic instrumentation, even some mandolin can be heard in a pair of tracks.

''Magicos juegos del tiempo'' isn't a flawless album.At moments it seems that it desperately needs some more uplifting mood or additional energy and the music can get too soft.But some magical passages with beautiful melodies and thrilling vocal lines are also present.Recommended, especially if you love Classical-inspired Prog Folk.

 Archivos MIA (1974 - 1985) by MIA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2008
3.08 | 6 ratings

Archivos MIA (1974 - 1985)
MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The Argentinian ensemble MIA (an abbreviation of Musicos Independientes Asociados ? not to be confused with "Missing in Action") was a project based around composer and keyboardist Lito Vitale, which had its main activity between 1974 and 1980. Friends and acquaintances came and went in the different versions of this ongoing project until it fell apart in 1980, although new material was made under that moniker for a few more years. "Archivos MIA: 1974 ? '85" chronicles the musical history and heritage of this project on two discs, containing quite a lot of material I surmise is previously unreleased.

"Archivos MIA" comes across as a production seeking to satisfy two different audiences. Those unfamiliar with this ensemble will receive a good overview of the scope of their repertoire on the first of these CDs, while existing fans most likely will find the second one most intriguing due to the unreleased material and the bonus video footage that makes up this CD. And while the musical contents as such do leave a bit to be desired in order for this production to warrant a general recommendation, there are quite a few reasons for existing fans to take note of this production, if they haven't already done so that is.

 Cornonstipicum by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.16 | 87 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars This one smell better than it tastes.

This album has got a very high rating so I purchased it. I also happens to like the South American scene a lot. But what I found was a rather dysfunctional album.

This album has it's base in some ELP like structures. Then it branches out in all direction. That includes jazz, eclectic, prog folk and most things under this sun. Yes, even Zeuhl gets a honorary membership on this album. I like thinking outside the box. That is in fact what the term "progressive rock" means. But I am not sure if everything on Cornonstipicum is as clever as the tin says it is. The smell is better than the taste.

I got the 59 minutes version and it seems like some bonus songs has been added. The last half of this album has pieces of music which simply does not work. For example the extensive use of acoustic guitars does not work at all and the album dies an undignified death during the final half. But the first half an hour is great. Great, but not superb. The title track is almost superb though. The rest of the album is a bit too dysfunctional for my liking. I cannot say this is an album I feel is as good as it's reputation. But it is still a good album which I am sure will bring joy to many homes during the next hundred years.

3 stars

 Transparencias by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.95 | 61 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 3.5 stars actually!

A strange story around M.I.A. (Musicos Indepedientes Asociados),who wasn't exactly a band but sort of a gathering of indepedent musicians in order to create progressive music with a symphonic nature.Reportedly behind this association were two of these musicians' parents.One of them,Lito Vitale was just 15 years in 1975,while his sister Liliana played various instruments. Their first album was pressed in 1976 with the title ''Transparencias''.

In this album melodic classical-oriented rock music comes in touch with light fusion and traditional folk with a beautiful result.Lito and Liliana Vitale are responsible for most of the drums,flutes,keyboard and vocal work on this album and it is really amazing how a 15-years old boy can produce such great music.The two opening tracks combine energetic almost fusion interplays between keys,bass and drums with symphonic rock,recalling FOCUS or even TRACE at their best.''Imagen II'' is actually a succesful excerpt of Bach's Prelude No.1,while the following is ''Contrapunto ritmico'' is a rather weak introduction to individual bass lines and drum solos with just a few of symphonic rock music.Towards the end,Side B of the original LP is exclusively dominated by the 20-min. self-titled opus.A really nice track with tons of alternating melodic keys (organ,piano and synths),heavy folk elements through some lovely both flute and acoustic guitar passages and ethereal vocal chords by Liliana Vitale.The songs starts and flows really promising,but at the end it gets a little bit flat.The CD re-issue of Belle Antique in 1994 contains four extra live tracks in a much more improvisational mood with massive complex themes and limited harmonies,yet these tracks show how talented this band was.

A gathering of trully talented musicians can result a very nice album and this is the case here.MIA's debut could easily be loved by both fans of symphonic rock and classic music.Recommended.

 Conciertos  by MIA album cover Live, 1979
4.56 | 9 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by João Paulo

5 stars Absolutely amazing. MIA in live works that show to the world how good this band are. Voices, piano, in a very good arrangements made this live work one of the best of Argentina Progressive Rock that I realy apreciate. Some tracks are in another MIA cds like Cornonstipicum and Transparências but not all tracks in this 3 LP It's shame that Argentina don't edit this LP's in a double CD and I don't lost my hope to do this work in cd. A female voice very atractive in some parts and a good atmosfere in most parts made this album a masterpiece of Argentina Progressive rock. The one who assisted these concerts was privileged by an excellent work. Please, edit in cd Conciertos, because who now MIA works, are follin in love with this band and desperate to find his works.
 Cornonstipicum by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.16 | 87 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MIA were a Symphonic band from Argentina and this particular record from them is usually pointed out as their best. It certainly is their most progressive album, in fact I would describe it as having abundant mood and tempo shifts throughout, they rarely stay in one place long. No lyrics although there are plenty of vocal melodies (wordless melodies) both male and female.

"La Coronacion Del Farre" builds to a dramatic sound before it settles with flute. Keys come in and then bass. It kicks in before 4 minutes. "Imagen III" is led by piano as female vocal melodies join in briefly. Sounds like accordion but it's brief too. Other sounds continue to come and go. "Crifana Y Tamilstenes" is uptempo with both male and female vocal melodies. Some nice bass too. It settles after 2 1/2 minutes as acoustic guitar and synths take over. It picks back up after 5 minutes with deep bass and keyboards. "Las Persianas No" features keys, drums and vocal melodies. "Piedras De Color" features piano melodies throughout.

"Cornonstipicum" is the excellent side long final track at 17 1/2 minutes. It has some nice drum work early then piano takes over. A lone vocal melody after 2 minutes before it kicks back in with some dissonance. Nice. Guitar 4 minutes followed by organ as the tempo picks up. Good section. It settles 7 1/2 minutes in with gentle guitar and flute. Piano and vocal melodies after 10 1/2 minutes as it continues to be laid back. That is until after 13 minutes when it kicks back in.

This is highly rated by most but I have to agree with sean trane and tszirmay in giving this 3.5 stars. It's impressive and very proggy but I just don't like it enough to offer up the fourth star.

 Transparencias by MIA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.95 | 61 ratings

MIA Symphonic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars M.I.A. was the first band in the Argentinean rock circle to pursue an integrally independent procedure for the dissemination of their musical art among potential audiences eager to hear and enjoy an eclectic, experimental approach to rock music, i.e., what we usually label as progressive rock. Released in 1976 in a homemade album package, "Transparencias" is this ensemble's first statement, and the only one with the two keyboardsmen Lito Vitale and Juan del Barrio sharing and/or alternating role on the keys and drum kit. While not as perfectly crafted as the band' third effort "Cornonstipicum" (their ultimate masterpiece), "Tranparencias" manages to convey a very inventive and amazingly colorful mixture of art-rock sources: symphonic, Cantebury-related jazz-prog, pastoral, sheer classicism Baroque-style, fusion and symphonic-friendly psychedelic rock. It is a pity that at this early point of M.I.A.'s career, the ensemble's musical vision is not as fluidly amalgamated as on the aforesaid third album, since the album's repertoire in itself is heavily benefited from the combination of Vitale and Del Barrio's writing talents (let alone their refined performing skills, which serve as leading forces for the tracks' instrumental developments). 'Reencontrando el Camino' is a lovely yet arguably too short introduction to the dynamics of symphonic melodic drive merged with Cantebury dynamics: the opening motif, reprised at the end, is very joyful, while the interlude brings an effective aura of contemplative serenity. 'El Casamiento de Alicia' bears a similar formal structure, but it is more properly expanded (lasting almost 7 ½ minutes), in this way developing a more epic feel than on the opener. Here is the first appearance of the ARP Odyssey synthesizer in the album: being as young as he was back then, it is unbelievable how well Vitale could find and handle this instrument's potential to provide a magical sound that somehow stands between Emerson's prototypical Moog excursions and Gowan's soaring solos in the Gilgamesh albums. This is what a keyboard-based power trio is all about in a prog rock context - through their evident influence, these guys nailed it instantly! The interlude, based on a quotation of one of the most popular sections from Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance", brings a schematic moment of sonic repose among the muscular vibe provided by the main motif. This one might be the album's highlight, but again, there is much more to enjoy as the album goes on. 'Imagen II' is a delicate instrumental with a Baroque foundation - after all, this is a pastoral translation partially inspired by the original ceremonious spirit of Bach's Prelude No. 1. Daniel Curto's classical guitar and Liliana Vitale's chanting/recorder duties manage to handle the tranquil mood very efficiently. 'Contrapunto Rítmico' is the most openly jazz-oriented piece in the album, including bass and drum solos strategically located in the flow of the jamming procedure. The namesake track is a 20 minute epic that occupies the vinyl's B-side. It is constructed in a symphonic space-rock mould, giving preferential room to the expansion of ethereal motifs and introspective developments (a standard traced by Pink Floyd from their "Meddle" days). The two keyboardists are cleverly joined in a fluid alternation with Nono Belvis' acoustic guitar, while Liliana goes wandering around with her chanting (she plays drums on this on, too). Some bass and percussion ornaments add bits of controlled tension before a certain chorale section and recorder lines bring back the dreamy atmosphere. At first listen this epic may sound like a not-so-ordained collage of various melodic ideas, and the impression of being a bit flawed doesn't really disappear with further listens. But what further listens can create is the awareness of a tight harmonizing sense that leads the epic's delivery and prevails through its variations. Passing the 12 ½ minute mark, a rock section emerges on a taciturn tempo, very Floydian indeed. Belvis' guitar lead is properly constructed, powerful enough to bring a moment of emotional enhancement, yet not overblown with exaggerated flourishes as to kill the epic's overall spirit. You can tell that there is much technical skill there, joined with a sense of texture and atmosphere. Once the drumming stops, the guitar becomes more relaxed, yet retaining the conquered center stage. For a minute, the rockier motif remerges with a final lead guitar expansion, before the last passage brings a dreamy combination of organ, piano and female chanting. This climax is clearly the moment for which the first 12 minutes of languid introspection had been working on. The CD edition includes some Vitale piano pieces plus a power-trio track, all of thm recorded live: great bonuses, indeed. "Tranparencias" is an excellent starting point for one of the most creative bands of 70s Latin American prog rock. M.I.A. - all collectors, note down this name on a preferential spot on your lists.
Thanks to The Symphonic Team for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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