Today, Saturday, late in the afternoon, the Wizink Center from Madrid welcomes Crazy for the music, a festival whose headliners they are old acquaintances of Spanish pop What Social Security, dead bullfighters, OBK, Stir Y Don’t step on me I’m wearing flip flops. Successful bands in the eighties and nineties that, in most cases, take to the stage again in the heat of nostalgia that awakens for many to once again enjoy live songs that they listened to over and over again in their childhood and youth, almost forty years now.
In a second block of artists, between Dangerous friendships, Tennessee and the singers of Unseen Dance or Border highlights the presence of the jumps, great dominators of the national pop-rock of the sixties and authors of undeniable classics of Spanish music. All this, achieved at least twenty years before his now fellow poster. These survivors of the sixties are not alone: in addition to the eternal raphael, artists and groups that started in that decade of the last century as The Pekenikes, The Sirex, The Savages, Jeanette or The 3 South Americans they are still incombustible and active, with different degrees of intensity.
“We would have liked to be on the poster in bigger letters,” he admits. Michael Morales, visible head of the current incarnation of Los Brincos, who adds, however, that it’s fun to rub shoulders with groups from the eighties: “They’re good people and they treat us well. We earn to fit in by sticking cane on stage”, he says. Morales is the little brother of Antonio Morales ‘Junior’ Y Ricky Morales, both members of the band in the past. He entered the group’s third incarnation, in the late 1960s, and was also a guitarist for the 1970s hypervitaminated rock pioneers. Barabbas. In the early 2000s he convinced Fernando Arbex, founder and sole owner of the rights to the name of the group, to return to the stage, and even to record eternal youth, the first album with new songs by Los Brincos in 30 years. On their return, they came to gather 40,000 people at a concert in A Coruña, but the death of Arbex in 2003 at the age of 62 would leave Morales as the only original member and leader of the Brincos to this day.
During these years, Morales has recovered his solo project, something he wanted to have done long before, but, as he says, “a disagreement with a CBS executive forty years ago prevented it.” After suffering a heart attack in 2016, he decided to record his own songs, and these days he is putting the finishing touches on what will be his third album.
“In Spain, the sixties is a cross that we carry, people who come from that time are not respected”
Miguel Morales considers that the sixties were “the best era of music, the birth of that modern sound: Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills & Nash…“, but this has not prevented him from developing an intense artistic activity in the 21st century. “The people who come to see us have great affection for us and give us the strength to continue as long as our bodies hold out”, confirms the musician who, instead , does miss a little more institutional recognition for Spanish music of the time: “in any other country, like the US, this would be totally different,” he says.”In Spain, the sixties is a cross that we carry with us, people who come from that time are not respected”.
On the verge of Los Brincos turning sixty years old, Morales flirts with the possibility that there will be new songs by the band to celebrate the event. “A couple of years ago, having a couple of whiskeys with John Brown -who was an original member of the group-, he liked the idea that we write new songs. I have to get back on the subject.”
The ones that are, and continue to work, are the songs that are the great classics of the Brincos. “Above all Lola: everyone sings it and remembers the lyrics”, says Morales, “also ‘A sip of champagne or Better’, which is the one that has a joy inside that makes people not stop moving, brings back very good memories,” he concludes.
Only for the pandemic
Far from the media and marketing hype that each new tour or record release by Raphael still entails, most of the survivors of the sixties maintain an activity through intermittent tours, performances at popular festivals, participation in solidarity concerts, and tributes of all kinds. .
The Pekenikes they were the first to celebrate the six decades of uninterrupted musical activity since 1959. The authors of ‘Hilo de seda’ have only stopped playing live due to the forced break imposed by the pandemic, and the Pekenikes brand, an important element and often the subject of disputes in these veteran groups, is still legally in force by one of its founding members, Ignacio Martin Sequeros.
For its part, Jeanette he has known how to maintain his own universe within the melodic song without having to make too many concessions. With a healthy performance schedule in Latin America Y Spain, the singer has seen how young aspiring artists cover her most popular songs in ‘talent shows’. Meanwhile, she has carefully chosen her collaborations, as evidenced by her duets with Bunbury, coke mesh or Miqui Puig.
From Barcelona, Los Sírex are still eager to continue making music, as evidenced by the album with star collaborations from Joan Manuel Serrat or Miguel Rios that they published in 2018. They are the visible head of a tireless batch of Catalan rock groups, such as The Devils or The Savages.
From Paraguay to Tarancon
Just as unaffordable as time goes by The 3 South Americans, that coming from Assumption (Paraguay) landed here in the mid-sixties, already being a sales phenomenon in Latin America and accustomed to touring all over the world. His irresistible, vital and cosmopolitan pop was a breath of fresh air for a Spain trying to shake off a thick layer of gray ash. They settled definitively in our country, linking success after success and gold record after gold record. Songs like Cartagena, Tamarind pulp, Perez told me or his version of ‘Goldfinger’ from Shirley Bassey They were huge hits that still sound powerful today.
Alma Vaesken Y Johnny Torales, heart of the group with Dioni Velazquez, now live in Tarancon. The couple, who married decades ago so Alma could tour her native Paraguay, have two daughters born in Spain, and one of them resides in this town of Cuenca with about 15,000 inhabitants. “It’s funny, because we used to come to Tarancón to play every year to play at a festival from the sixties that is celebrated here and, look, here we are,” says Alma Vaesken from the other end of the phone.
It’s about five in the afternoon when they talk to this newspaper and Alma and Johnny have just finished dessert. “We go to bed very late, and we also get up very late,” confesses Alma. His energy and liveliness go beyond the telephone receiver, even more so when he reviews his career. “We left South America on tour everywhere: Europe, the Middle East, because Beirut It was the mecca of performances at that time, also Greece, where a lot of work was done,” says Alma. “My grandfather was from Burgos and I have family in Medina of Pomar“, he remembers, “we came with a contract for several performances, but the success we had was tremendous and we decided to stay. We were totally different from other people who were here and that helped us a lot.”
“We had to suspend the last tour due to COVID but, if not, we would be taking our car to perform throughout Spain”
During the sixties and part of the sixties, the presence of Los 3 Sudamericanos on radio and television was common, and their records were always at the top of the sales charts. Sixty years later, the enthusiasm for bringing his compositions to the public remains intact. “At this point in my life, I never imagined I would be touring,” confesses Alma. “We had to suspend the last one due to COVID but, if not, we would be taking our car to act throughout Spain. The Spanish roads now are fabulous.”
Alma openly admits to being in love with a country that, in her words, welcomed them with open arms from the first moment. “When I got here I also fell in love with Ramon Arcusa, of Dynamic duo, but that’s another story,” he says.
Nor does the singer of Los 3 Sudamericanos miss greater recognition of her career spanning more than half a century: “When we go out there on tour we think there will be few people and we fill up,” she says, “we are left with our mouths open because Young people come and they even bring us the records so that we can sign them. That is the greatest recognition that an artist can have, “he says. Vaersen further celebrates the current global dominance of Latin music: “I follow the Spanish music of today a lot and I am glad to see that sounds so dear to us triumph. I also love artists like Chenoa.”
During the telephone interview, Alma often laughs, unfolds a whole arsenal of quips and even starts to sing a few verses. “Call me another day, even if it’s not to interview me, and we’ll chat for a while,” he says goodbye. Perfect summary of how the survivors of the sixties Spaniards: far from looking back in anger, they move forward with vitality, self-confidence and without complexes.