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Jazz Rock/Fusion • Uruguay

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Opa biography
After ?The Shakers?, a Beatles-esque group from Uruguay formed by the Fattoruso brothers, Hugo Fattoruso and Osvaldo Fattoruso were contacted by the bassist Ringo Thielmann to form a new band. After various years of touring with Airto Moreira, in 1974 they started to record their first songs under the name ?Opa?, a usual Uruguayan expression simply meaning ?hi, how are you doing??
However, it?s in 1976 when they are able to release their first proper studio album, ?Goldenwings? (not a translation), with the help of Hermeto Pascoal, already a famous eccentric Brazilian jazz/latin artist, and of David Amaro, handling the guitar duties.
In 1977 they release their second and final album entitled ?Magic Time? (not a translation). The highly praised Uruguayan percussionist and vocalist, Ruben Rada, joins the band for this album as well as Airto who hadn?t participated in the debut.
After having playing live in 1980 in Montevideo, Uruguay, they disband since they really had no commercial success besides cult-followers.
In 1987 the group rejoins to play live and they release their first live album called ?Opa en Vivo? (Opa Live) which is later reissued as ?Opa en Vivo 87? & Rarities? that included bonus?s, as the title says, a couple of rarities from the early years of the band.

?Opa? is an exotic Latin jazz fusion band which incorporates Uruguay?s own percussive genre, Candombe, as a special feature. Indeed an excellent band to check out if you?re looking for soulful fusion.

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OPA discography

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

3.68 | 21 ratings
3.34 | 16 ratings
Magic Time
3.00 | 2 ratings
A Los Shakers (as Otroshakers)

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
En Vivo 87' & Rarities

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

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

4.00 | 3 ratings
Golden Wings/Magic Time
3.25 | 4 ratings
Back Home - The Lost 1975 Sessions

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

OPA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Goldenwings by OPA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.68 | 21 ratings

Opa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

2 stars Mediocre at best cheesy at worst.

Until African Bird I was thinking 3* as the first three tracks are plain standard Jazz Fusion fare, however Africa Bird mixes it up.

African Bird is a track with percussion opener that sets down a groove over which terrible old latin pop happens. The vocals have this awful aged quality to them sounding very dated, in a bad way. Anyways, Jazz fusion occurs after the admittedly brief vocal work and it is pretty solid with some nice flute. Unfortunately, the vocals return with their cheerful poppy dee da bum da de da harmony falsetto. From here a new annoying percussion groove takes the over, which is bad as it sounds like cans being slapped wildly. Over this the vocalist adds some needed car chase sound effects?

The next track in conjunction with African Bird solidified this album as 2* tier. Corre Nina has these irritating eastern sounding vocalizations, chanting and other atrocious vocals displays. Then the track gets worse as the song gets faster and an accordion introduces a new section. This section has the songs highlights, some good keyboard playing that finally meshes with what the singer. There is also some nicer Spanish singing, romantic and powerful.

Aside from these two tracks the other four are acceptable, they aren't what I'd consider great, but just good jazz fusion work with very Latin vocals. Really, this album lacks anything standout aside for negative reasons, ergo 2/5 would not recommend. (Also with they didn't use the string synth, gives the music an extra cheesy sound, completely unnecessary.)

 Magic Time by OPA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.34 | 16 ratings

Magic Time
Opa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars Fusion from South America is not unusual. OPA is from Uruguay and this is their second album, released in the middle of the 70s, more or less when the most famous fusion band was WEATHER REPORT. But of course there are also a lot of traditional influences in their music, coming from both the sides of the Andes.

The album is opened by tribal percussion and a synth mimic of Pan flute, but after the intro the opening track changes drastically several times. it goes pop, then close to neo-prog until a proper fusion section arrives. It's when the singer shows his huge vocal skills reminding to Demetrio STRATOS. The track ends with a ridicolous choir repeating "rock and roll" which seems inspired by Frank ZAPPA.

It was in the Weather Report years, and the second track sounds similar to them, but the lead vocals, quite high- pithced, bring Al JARREAU to mind. It's a slow jazzy song, also this with some sudden changes, but not as much as the first.

Another vocal exercize on a samba tune mainly based on percussion. It's still in the vein of the Zawinul's band. The vocalist is the highligth, here.

My favorite album track: Montevideo, dedicated to their capital city. The reference here is the jazz of Pat METHENY. 8 minutes of light fusion including some comebacks of sounds from the previous tracks.

The last track is very melodic with electric piano and voice. The keyboard sounds quite weird. It's a typical 70s sound, pre-Yamaha DX7 I'd say, in the instrumental interludes. It's a very interesting song whit the sung parts very melodic alternated with instrumental parts on which the keyboardist had likely some fun. Unfortunately the last minutes of this track give the impression of an unneeded filler.

Anyway, it's a good jazz/fusion album from Uruguay. The B side in particular.

 Goldenwings by OPA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.68 | 21 ratings

Opa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Latin America spreading its fusion Wings!

Just imagine Return to Forever mixing perfectly their first two Latin albums with their later fusion ones like Where Have I Known You Before, also a bit of Weather Report's more worldly fusion affairs (Mysterious Traveller and Tale Spinnin'), the result would be something very similar to the debut offering of Uruguayan band, Opa.

Hugo Fattoruso's keyboard playing, mainly Rhodes and synths, is highly reminiscent of Corea's style of playing, lot of elegancy and latin-esque grooves but you can add to it Zawinul's stunning atmospheres, all in all making Opa an incredible band from the keyboard point of view.

The rhythm section, as you should expect from a Latin American band, is formed by drums and percussion of the highest quality: Airto Moreira, Ruben Rada and Hermeto Pascoal. The bass is good typical fusion, entertaining grooves but not something stunning.

What about the compositions? The seven of them are excellent; some are more tranquil, like Paper Butterflies and Pieces, with dominant Rhodes and chilly vocals while others, such as Totem and Groove, are funkier and even have some cool wah-wah/talk box guitar.

Yeah I know, Opa is not incredibly inventive when it comes to Fusion, since: a) it's a rather accessible fusion style, though with a latin feel that makes it more exotic and b) for its time this may have been done already before (hence the already mention Return to Forever and Weather Report). But still, that doesn't take that this debut is a really fine Latin Fusion record with enough great musicianship and compositions, and it's far from being a fusion clone band.

4 stars: Highly recommended if you are a fan of the more accessible, less inventive, kind of fusion, as well as to fans of Latin-infused music and of Return to Forever (not Romantic Warrior-period) and Weather Report (Alphonso Johnson period).

 Goldenwings by OPA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.68 | 21 ratings

Opa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars This album could be described with just two words: good fusion, but there are some remarkable things in each of the 7 tracks taht it contains.

"Goldenwings" is a good fusion piece on which the bigger effort is given by orchestral keyboards and electric piano, then after a short interlude of percussions, the keyboard sounds as Vangelis in Albedo 0.39 (Nucleogenesis). Not so chaotic as the Vangelis song, also because of the jazz guitar and the orchestral accents.

"Paper Butterflies (Muy Lejos Te Vas - Very Far You Go)" Is a surprise. The athmospheres of Caravan with an impressive Hastings-like flute on a base that sometimes reminds to Pat Metheny, sometimes to Vangelis, but with a strong Canterbury flavour.

"Totem" reminds me to the Soft Machine of Land of Cockayne. Again the big work is done by keyboards. An excellent guitar with a good choice of sound effects, even if very 70s, drives the track. The music is easy enough to be enjoyed also by non-fans of the genre, but never trivial.

"African Bird " Effectively it's very African in voices and percussions, then a Fender piano riff occupies the central part of the track until the flute is back giving again a touch of Canterbury, more Soft Machine than Caravan, this time. The flute work is very impressive.

"Corre Nina" doesn't remind me to anything particular: it's a very original track with a touch of world music (indian percussions). It's the only song with lyrics, not only jazz choirs. Very South-American in the rhythm. It's technically speaking the best song of the album, even if I prefer Paper Butterflies that's closer to my personal tastes.

"Pieces" Is a 5 minute track in four parts...very progressive indeed. The opening is a slow Fender piano solo followed by keyboards. Once bass and drums join them, it goes closer to Weather Report or Pat Metheny.

"Groove" is again close to Vangelis Nucleogenesis in the keyboard's sound. More jazz and less chaos, but I see many similarities between the two tracks. The flutist effort in is remarkable. Drums and percussions are also in evidence.

In brief this is an excellent jazz-fusion album, without any weak moment. Dominated by keyboards but played by very skilled artists so that each instrument, apart perhaps guitar, has enough room. The vocals and choirs also are very well arranged.

Thanks to easy money for the artist addition.

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