Sunday, 8 July 2018

Medina Azahara “Medina Azahara”(aka Paseando Por La Mezquita) 1979 Spain Andalusian Prog Rock debut album one of the best Spanish Progressive Rock albums


Medina Azahara “Medina Azahara”(aka Paseando Por La Mezquita) 1979 Spain Andalusian Prog Rock debut album one of the best Spanish Progressive Rock albums
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Medina Azahara is a Spanish hard rock and progressive rock band from Córdoba (Andalusia). It was founded in 1979 by Manuel Martínez (vocals), Pablo Rabadán (keyboards), Manuel S. Molina (bass), José A. Molina (drums) and Miguel Galán (guitar). They were one of the most famous Andalusian rock groups, along with Triana. Their musical style encompasses disparate genres ranging from flamenco to heavy metal. The group is still active nowadays.. 

This popular Spanish band from Cordoba was founded in the late Seventies. In 79 MEDINA AZAHARA released their debut-album “Paseando Por La Mezquita” (aka “Medina Azahara”) and they are still going strong because in 2003 MEDINA AZAHARA produced their 15th album entitled “Aixa”! During their “artistic heyday” the band featured Manuel Martinez (vocals), Pablo Rabadan (keyboards), Randy Lopez (bass), ‘Paco’ Ventura (guitar) and Manuel Reyes (drums). 

The album “Paseando Por La Mezquita” contains the exciting Andalusian rock and earned a double-platinum status. On the album “.. En Al-Hakim” ('89) there’s a guest appearance by the highly acclaimed new flamenco guitar hero VICENTE AMIGO on three songs. These are very exciting, especially the flamenco/synthesizer duel and a bluesy climate with mouth organ and sensitive flamenco guitar runs, very unique. The live 2-LP (now on 1-CD) “En Directo” (1990) contains all their best songs, the bands plays very inspired (powerful, harder-edged guitarwork and MARK KELLY-like synthesizer flights) and the atmosphere is great. ….~



When MEDINA AZAHARA began to appear on the Spanish music scene in 1979, the group was composed of Manuel MARTÍNEZ (vocals), Miguel GALÁN (guitar), José Antonio MOLINA (drums), Manuel S. MOLINA (bass) and Pablo RABADÁN (keyboards) ). That year an album titled as the group and produced by the producer of the group number one of that time ( TRIANA ), Gonzalo GARCÍA PELAYO and published by the record company CBS / SONY appeared on the market. The album has high influences of the movement that TRIANA headed, you could qualify, under always discussed labels; as of Andalusian Rock: rock with flamenco lyrics and very intimate lyrics. That Andalusian Rock, which was made in Andalusia in the late 70’s and early 80’s and that such good groups gave apart from the TRIANA and MEDINA AZAHARA ( MEZQUITA , CAI , ALAMEDA , GUADALQUIVIR …). 

This is one of the most famous and consented groups in Spain. Like TRIANA or MEZQUITA or CAI or ALAMEDA or GUADALQUIVIR , MEDINA AZAHARA brings together the essence of Andalusian sounds and combines them with skill in a symphonic environment, but unlike them, their main tendency seems to focus on short subjects and with a lot of attention in the rough handling of an electric guitar that gives his music a somewhat “metal” sound especially since the mid-'80s. It is, however, an unusual and interesting combination: cantejondo, flamenco guitar, heavy electric guitar, bass, drums and symphony-like musical arrangements……~


This was the record that put Medina Azahara (from the Andalusian towen Córdoba) on the Spanish rock map. This namesake debut follows the path of many other Andalusian bands, a symphonic progressive heavily infused with Flamenco colours, but unlike the jazzy guys of Guadalquivir, the Camelesque Cai, and the Pink Floydian Triana, Medina Azahara gave preferential space to the ways of hard sounding art rock (not without its notable progressive touches, of course). The electric guitar is the prominent instrument here, with a solid rhythm section supporting its riffs as well as the symphonic textures played on keyboards. Martínez’s vocal style and timbre is very hard-rock oriented, though its most norable feature is that typical Flamenco overwhelming passion. The opening track was also the first single, a huge hit in the whole country (its catchy introductory riff even served as background music for a bunch of radio and TV programs), keeping the commercial success of Southern Spanish prog a bit longer (just a nit, before its impending decline). Though their music is not as complex as Cai’s, Mezquita’s or Triana’s, these guys sure can expand creatively on their own musical ideas and recycle the evocative nature of melodic Flamenco through an ambitious rock filter. Their compositional efforts reach a peak of progressive creativity and emotional richness in tracks 1 (the aforementioned banner 'Paseando por la Mezquita’), 3 ( 'Hacia Tí’, more symphonic a-la classic Yes and less Flamenco), as well as the lat 3 numbers, in which the band really approaches the exuberant complexity of their neighbours Mezquita. 'Amiga’ and 'Sé’ keep a special folkish flavour among the hard rocking sounds of guitar an keyboard soloing and harmonies on a solid rhythm pace, with a lead singer that never gest tired of wearing his heart on his sleeve with every word, every verse, every chorus; 'Recuerdos del Ayer’ remains consistently engaged to beauty, althoug with a slightly decreased Flamenco flavour. An excellent musical work that was destined never to be surpassed or even equalled by the band in their following reordings: though not a masterpiece, “Medina Azahara” is really worth adding in any good collection of Spanish prog… or prog, in general….by Cesar Inca …~



This popular Spanish band from Cordoba was founded in the late Seventies. In 1979 Medina Azahara released their debut-album Paseando Por La Mezquita (aka Medina Azahara). This album earned a double-platinum status and since 1983 when Spanish legend Triana called it a day (because of the tragical death of their keyboardplayer/singer Jesus De La Rosa) the Spanish fans consider Medina Azahara as the successors of Triana, the masters of the Prog Andaluz movement. 
On their debut album Medina Azahara delivers a very pleasant blend of melodic rock (mid-tempo songs like En La Manana and Se), neo prog in the vein of Marillion (lots of Mark Kelly-like synthesizer flights) and Prog Andaluz (mainly ballads and slow rhythms) with strong hints from Triana like in the exciting titletrack (a flamenco rhythm with heavy guitar riffs, howling guitar and emotional vocals) and En La Manana and Busco (parts with flamenco guitar). A very strong point on this album is the guitarwork, from sensitive and howling to electric rhythm guitar that creates a flamenco atmosphere, this matches perfectly with the emotional Spanish vocals that contain a wailing undertone you can often hear in flamenco singing. 

Medina Azahara still makes music (in 2003 they released their latest studio album entitled Aixa and in 2007 a tribute to Triana entitled Se Abre La Puerta) but during the years the sound became more polished and straighforward rock so I consider this band as a heavy version of Triana, not every album is interesting (even melodic hardrock) but they have made some very good records like En El- Hakim and En Vivo (live), especially their early work is worth to check out…..by erik neuteboom ….~


This band comes from Andalucia, like their glorious predecessor Triana who came from Seville while Medina Azahara obviously has its roots in Córdoba. 
The music proposed by Medina Azahara has a more rocking angle. It is even heavy during their debut album (Paseando Por La Mezquita or Hacia Ti). 

The later is a real upbeat song and features some splendid (electric) guitar from Miguel Galán. Hacia Ti is a very melodic track and is extremely enjoyable. It is a highlight. 

This album is actually very catchy, the Spanish language being a wonderful add-on to this heavy- symphonic music (a new genre maybe). A song as Si Supieras, even if it holds some basic lyrics, is a very emotional moment of this work: the song is again dominated by the great guitar work as well as moving vocals. 

Busco is also worth the mention. It is the most Andalusian track so far; mainly thanks to the vocals which are somewhat flamenco oriented. But the lead singer Manuel Martinéz is not at all exaggerating this aspect. He is not as exuberant as Molina (from Ñu) or de la Rosa (Triana). He is more sober but as efficient as both of them. 

I really like their guitar-oriented symphonic music. Still, the other band mates are not staying behind: the rhythmic section is particularly solid: this is particularly confirmed during Se during which the flamenco style also gets a chance to emerge. A fine song as well. 

It is a pity that this band is not better known outside of Spain. They also have very little exposure on PA. But the same applies to Triana and another great band from that country: Ñu. 

Medina Azahara really deserves your attention. Guitar lovers and progheads looking for something different: this album is highly recommended….. by ZowieZiggy ….~


This was Spain’s MEDINA AZAHARA’s debut released in 1979 surprisingly the same year MEZQUITA released their debut. What a double bill that would have been! Two hard rocking Spanish bands with incredible vocalists and both albums have but a touch of the Flamenco thing I’m not that into. Tough to pick one over the other although MEZQUITA’s is possibly proggier. Still I rate them both highly for that year. We get plenty of synths and keyboards in general although the guitarist and the vocalist steal the show here. The bass is very upfront the way I like it as well. This has been an absolute pleasure to listen to, especially those first three tracks. 
“Paseando Per La Mezquita” was love at first listen and my favourite off the album. The guitar is raw as bass, drums and keyboards kick in. So good! The guitar starts to solo over top at 1 ½ minutes. A calm 2 minutes in to a drifting psychedelic vibe as the vocals eventually join in. The guitar replaces them but not for long. The guitar is back as the vocals step aside to the end. 

“En La Manana” opens with cymbals as the bass joins in then some raw guitar as drums and a full sound follow quickly, synths too. The vocals are next before a minute. Great sound here. The vocals and guitar trade off then we get some flamenco guitar and percussion before 3 minutes to end it. 

“Haciati” has this relaxed guitar and percussion as synths then bass join in. Spacey synths come in over top then drums a minute in. A new sound 1 ½ minutes in then the vocals return after 2 minutes. Love those passionate vocals. Catchy as well. The guitar starts to solo before 3 ½ minutes as the vocals step aside. Nice. Vocals return a minute later but the guitar ends it. 

“Si Supieres” opens with synths as drums and multi-vocals join in. Guitar and bass as well. This is kind of melancholic. The vocals step aside before 1 ½ minutes as the tempo picks up briefly. Almost spoken vocals follow and the bass is upfront. The guitar starts to solo as the vocals stop. A calm with synths after 3 minutes as the vocals return. Themes are repeated. 

“Busco” opens with the synths swirling as drums and some aggressive guitar join in. Nice bass here as well and the vocals join in before a minute. Some flamenco guitar is added. The guitar solos before 2 minutes as the vocals stop but they return after 2 ½ minutes as themes are repeated. “Amiga” opens with synths along with drums in this dramatic intro. It does settle some. The tempo picks up 1 ½ minutes in with the guitar helping out. Nice bass here as the vocals and guitar trade off. 

“Se” opens with pulsating keys as outbursts of power come and go before it settles in. The guitar and bass are excellent here. Synths will come and go. Check out the bass solo after 2 ½ minutes. Oh my! Vocals 3 minutes in with the guitar lighting it up. “Recuerdos Delayer” starts out with relaxed guitar and spacey synths before the guitar and drums kick in around a minute. Vocals after 2 minutes and they will come and go as will the guitar ripping things up. A really good closer. 

Highly recommended Spanish Prog right here that rocks hard with killer vocals. My kind of music…..by Mellotron Storm …..~


Credits 
Bass – Manuel Molina* 
Drums – José Antonio Molina* 
Guitar – Miguel Galán* 
Keyboards – Pablo Rabadán 
Vocals – Manuel Martínez*


Tracklist

Paseando por la mezquita 
En la Mañana 
Hacia tí 
Si supieras 
Busco 
Amiga 
Sé 
Recuerdos del ayer




Discography

1979 - Medina Azahara (Paseando por la Mezquita) 
1980 - La Esquina del Viento 
1982 - Andalucía 
1985 - Caravana Española 
1989 - …en Al-Hakim 
1990 - En Directo 
1992 - Sin Tiempo 
1993 - Donde Está la Luz 
1995 - Árabe 
1996 - A Toda esa Gente 
1998 - Tánger 
2000 - XX 
2001 - Tierra de Libertad 
2005 - La Estación de los Sueños 
2009 - Origen y Leyenda 
misceláneos: 1994 - Rockandalus 
1995 - en Navidad 
1999 - Baladas (10 años con Avispa) 
2007 - Se Abre la Puerta 
2003 - Aixa 

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