Article by Gerson Seregni
When you are a teenager your body is like a tree full of branches during spring, ready to welcome all fresh knowledge and develop it into those mesmerizing red autumnal leaves. My generation had the fortune to appreciate some of the most talented South American rock bands in history of music, and that made our trees eternal like the one described in Genesis.
It all started with my sister coming back from her studies abroad 20 years ago: – I brought you a present. A couple of CDs, you’d better listen to them; you will love them. I opened the envelope; inside there were 2 albums: ‘Sueño Stereo’bySoda Stereo and ‘UnBaiónpara el ojoidiota’by Patricio Rey y SusRedonditos de Ricota. I didn’t just love them, they literally changed my life. So, in the beginning there was melody, but my Genesis didn’t have a seventh day to rest, it became an eternal love affair with music. “Let there be rock”, and Rock there was, and rock there will be if you check out these South American bands that inspired me:
Los Prisioneros (Chile)
Los Prisioneros are one of the pioneers of South American rock. When they started their career in the late Seventies, they marked a beginning of a new era, leaving behind the folk scene that dominated the country until then, with artists like Victor Jara and Violeta Parra, but especially leaving behind a country suffering under military dictatorship, using lyrics that have been used by students to protest against Pinochet. They had to play in secret locations for a few years, which made them authentic legends in the continent.
Aterciopelados wereone of the first bands from Colombia to gain international notice. They’re famous for their mix of different influences, and their popularity increased despite their constant, noticeable stylistic transformations. The impressive metamorphosis between two great songs like ‘Florecitarockera’ and ‘Bolero Falaz’, would make our beloved Kafka proud.
an insane mixed rock/hard rock/funk band who used their controversial lyrics to attack corruption and hypocrisy, standing for minorities who they consider to be the
real leaders of this society. ‘DondeJugaránlas niñas’, their first album, has a curious anecdote. Because of its lyrics and cover, with explicit sexual contents, many stores decided not to sell it. They didn’t care and decided to sell their record on the streets. After winning 4 Latin Grammy Awards, they are probably the most famous band in their country. We all love to yell “¡Viva México, cabrones! ” in the song ‘Gimmetha Power’.
Soda Stereo (Argentina)
probably the most influential band in Spanish language, they were leaders of an entire generation. Nowadays many bands use their style, established as the perfect way to reproduce Latin rock. Suggest to listen to ‘Demúsica ligera’, ‘Persiana americana’, ‘Ella usómi cabeza como un revolver’, ‘Pasos’.
Los FabulososCadillacs (Argentina)
The first time I listened to the song ‘Matador’ I jumped on my bed like an insane person, with my parents probably thinking they were raising a new Jeffrey Dahmer. This band brought skato Argentina, and took it to the next level, mixing it with a lot of tribal rhythms.
IllyaKuryaki and the Valderramas (Argentina)
This duo of talented artists who dress like fashion nomads in New York, dance like old people doing Tai Chi in a park and speak like Mexicans who just left prison, are probably the most eclectic musical project in Argentina. Their modern language was taken directly from the streets and transported into their lyrics. ‘Chaco’ is with no doubt their best album, which includes the song that gives the title to this article.
Rata Blanca (Argentina)
I must finally mention Rata Blanca, who are considered to be fathers of hard rock and soft metal in Argentina. Starting their career in 1986 from a poor area of Buenos Aires, they could never imagine such overwhelming success, with more than 10 million albums sold, thanks to the powerful voice of Adrián Barilari and guitar virtuoso Walter Giardino.
La Vela Puerca (Uruguay)
This eight-piece band needs to be on this list. They combine reggae, ska and rock in a folkloristic fusion, where trumpet and sax perfectly blend in a combination of colors with the other instruments. I remember once, walking in the streets of Montevideo at nighttime and hearing some guys playing “Misemilla” with their guitars. Since then, it became one of my favorite songs ever.
I wish I could write thousands of pages, I wish I could mention all the bands that gave me a smile on those rainy days while looking outside my window; all the bands that made me play air guitar, pretending to be a rockstar while wearing just socks, underwear and a worn out Rolling Stones T-shirt; all the bands that gave colours to those leafless trees. Hope you will relish this short list and remember: none of us are equipped for a world without melody.