- Introduction: a short personal story about my passion for rock Andaluz
- Chapter One : new rock Andaluz bands between 2016 and 2020
- Chapter Two : new rock Andaluz bands between 2021 and 2023
- Post Scriptum: Muchas gracias, señor Juan Antonio Vergara!

a short personal story about my passion for rock Andaluz

My passion for the Spanish rock Andaluz started in the late seventies, during a visit at the house of the Dutch prog collector Peter van der Laan, in Schiedam, near Rotterdam. We listened to lots of interesting unknown prog bands from all over the world, and I told him about my appreciation for flamenco music. Peter smiled, then he walked to his huge collection of prog albums, took a brief look and came back with two albums from Triana. From the very first moment I listened to their albums El Patio and Hijos Del Agobio and I was blown away!
Erik Neuteboom
Imagine: you love prog and flamenco, and then there is Triana, you cannot beg for more: varied and dynamic compositions featuring lush vintage keyboards, howling electric guitars, sparkling flamenco guitars and intense flamenco inspired vocals, wow! But not until the mid-nineties, I discovered that the music of Triana was called rock Andaluz, and part of a vivid musical movement, centred in Andalusia, a province in southern Spain. From that moment I was determined to collect more rock Andaluz. Due to contact with Spanish prog head Angel Romero from Madrid, I could purchase LPs from Medina Azahara, Cai and Mezquita, top notch rock Andaluz. During the years, I gradually built up my rock Andaluz collection, mainly due to the invention of the CD: lots of rare LP's were put on CD, from bands like Iman, Azahar, Mezquita, Alameda, Cai and Gualdalquivir, and more recently Montoro and Mantra. Most of these CDs I bought at Greg Walker's Syn-Phonic prog rock mail-order service in the USA, and also rock Andaluz compilations, very interesting to discover more rock Andaluz: so many bands blending all kinds of musical styles with flamenco, totally unique! To my huge delight the rock Andaluz movement kept on making music since the late sixties, the peak was in the seventies, but also nowadays rock Andaluz is still alive. Even Medina Azahara is still there after more than forty years. Their 1979 song Paseando Por La Mezquita has turned into the unsurpassed rock Andaluz anthem: goose bumps, time and time again! A very important person within the world of the current rock Andaluz is Juan Antonio Vergara, owner of the 5Lunas label. He released many albums from new rock Andaluz bands, like Qamar, Anairt, Sherish, Arabiga and Varekai, along old reissues and new Spanish prog CDs. Now let's take a look at interesting new rock Andaluz albums, between 2016 until now.

Triana -
El Patio
Medina Azahara -
En El-Hakim
Mezquita - Recuerdos
De Mi Tierra
Alameda -
2-cd collection

Chapter One:
New rock Andaluz bands between 2016 and 2020

JUAN ANTONIA VERGARA & Various bands and artists:

Periplo: Navegando Por Los Mares De Mi Interior (book and 2-CD, 2016)

Periplo is an awesome musical project by Juan Antonio Vergara, the owner of the Spanish website mail-order service 5Lunas, dedicated to the cultural movement Rock Andaluz. In 2016 he released his first book consisting of 162 pages entitled Periplo : Navegando Por Los Mares De Mi Interior, featuring his personal emotional experiences about his wife, two children, family, money, dignity, work and music . This book is supported by a double CD that contains thirty tracks, inspired by the Periplo story, and performed by an interesting selection of fifty musicians, mainly from old and new rock Andaluz bands from Smash, Cai, Azahar, Qualdalquivir, Alameda, Mezquita to Taifa and Mendigo and Spanish prog bands like Storm and Bloque, an incredible bunch of Andalusian talent, experience and passion! The thirty tracks on the double CD Periplo deliver not only many rock Andaluz sounding songs, but also a wide range of musical styles. An impression of that huge and pleasant variety.

Obertura Inesperada: wonderful old school symphonic rock with hints from Pink Floyd and Camel.
In La Raiz De Mi Destino: folk meets heavy prog with virtuoso flamenco guitar runs, hand clapping and a heavy electric guitar solo by Juan Delola.
Empujado Al Precipicio Galopando Por Mis Deseos and Mis Besos En Esta Canci'n: rock Andaluz and passionate vocals by Alameda legend Pepe Roca.
Dibujando Sue'os, Mirada Al Infinito, So'ando Con La Luna and Algazara: flamenco guitar intros and outros by Juan Delola.
Date Coraje: neo-prog sounding like the 'Andalusian Pendragon'.
Perro Callejero: swinging blues rock.
Isla Del Amor, Futuro and Reflexiones: electronic sounds from sequencing and spacey synthesizers to rock Andaluz and psychedelia with a distorted Steve Hillage-like guitar solo.
Descendiendo De La Ca'ailla: a folky duet between flute and guitar in the first part.
Isla De Los Sue'os (djembe) and Tetralog'a: ethnic prog with sitar, tablas, wah-wah drenched guitar, a spectacular Moog solo, and finally Spanish guitar.
Al Abordaje: a sitar-like sound and finally a Peter Frampton-like talk box.
Encontrar La Vida: a romantic ballad.
La Gaviota, El Cangrejo Y Yo and Singular: jazz rock played by several band members of Quadalquivir.
Buscando La Semilla Del Amor Eterno: Santana-like guitar with propulsive ethnic percussion.
Doble Caracola: blues
Una Simple Oraci'n: instrumental with romantic Spanish guitar.

Mar De Fondo Andalusi: a very special mentioning for my highlight, a compelling eclectic track. It features a spacey intro, then mellow organ, hypnotizing percussion and moving guitar work that evokes Eric Clapton, and finally a Morish sounding synthesizer solo. Wow!

Highly recommended to all rock and prog Andaluz aficionados!

TAIFA - Embrujo (2016)

My first musical encounter with Taifa, founded in 1996, was their second album Alhambra (2008), on which the band is scouting the borders between heavy metal, rock Andaluz and ethnic music: an exciting musical encounter of different worlds. So, I was very curious to Embrujo, the band's fourth effort.

On this album Taifa consists of Luis Massot (vocals, bass, bouzouki and palms), Miguel Maya (guitar) and Antonio Medina (drums). These three outstanding musicians blend their metallic climates, heavy outbursts, thunderous Metallica-like rhythm section beats, Black Sabbath-like fat guitar riffs and blistering guitar runs with sultry sounding ethnic instruments: the Indian string instrument sarangi of Rafik Ahmed, the oud or ud, a pre-lute Middle-East instrument from the Moroccan-Andalusian musicians Ahmed Abdelaziz, the tar a lute-like Persian instrument from Choubani Abdou, darbouka a small drum from North-Africa and the Middle-East, like an Indian tabla from Chaouki Omrani, the violin from Khalid Masmoudi and the Mediterranean dulzaina an oboe-like reed instrument of Jordi Mascarell.

Taifa live
Tan Solo La Lluvia: in this song female singer Hanna Touk delivers an awesome Arabic voice.
Escrito En Mi Piel: in this composition we can enjoy the art of flamenco with the handclapping of Ricardo De La Concepción (palmas) and the flamenco guitar of Juan Delola. What a sensational contrast with the biting electric guitar. Wow!
All tracks are topped with excellent vocals, very powerful and intense, in the vein of great rock Andaluz singer Manuel Martinez from the legendary Medina Azahara.

If you are up to an adventurous and fascinating blend of metallic rock and ethnic music Embrujo is an album to discover.

ALPESA - Renacer (2017)

Alpesa was established in 1993 and during the years the band released cassettes and vinyl. In 2017 the band released the first CD entitled Renacer, a compilation of old and new songs. From that moment,
Alpesa became more active with concerts and festivals. Alpesa reminds me of Zaguan, but more adventurous and varied, and the lead vocals by Antonio Lozano are more passionate. Another strong element is guest musician Eduardo Trassierra on the flamenco guitar, with hints from the legendary Paco De Lucia. Most of the eight tracks contains slow rhythms with a melancholically undertone, fuelled by the excellent, flamenco inspired vocals and the exciting flamenco guitar. My highlights:

Enamorado and Dinero: in these two songs the band surprises with a reggae rhythm featuring captivating interplay between an omnipresent organ and flamenco guitar, embellished with strong, wailing vocals, a nice contrast with the swinging reggae sound.
Fantasia: between mellow with tender vocals and intense acoustic guitar runs to more dynamic with emotional vocals, wonderful piano runs, virtuoso flamenco guitar runs and propulsive electric guitar riffs that rock, and finally moving interplay between the flamenco guitar and vocals with that wailing undertone, the blues from Andalusia.
Fuego De Ti: after a dreamy first part featuring a slow rhythm with emotional vocals and delicate flamenco guitar, the music becomes lusher with sparkling piano and propulsive electric guitar riffs, the vocals sound very passionate, topped with awesome work on the flamenco guitar.
Para Ti: this final track sounds unique, a duet from the singer and the keyboard player, with a grand piano sound. The interplay is outstanding, loaded with emotion, featuring sparkling piano work and passionate vocals, I am delighted!

Alpesa live Qamar band

QAMAR - Todo Empieza Aqui (2020)

Quamar is a new Andalusian band that released its debut album entitled Todo Empieza Aqui in 2020 on the Chilean prog rock label Mylodon Records. Qamar features four members playing drums, bass, keyboards
and guitars, and has invited a wide range of guest musicians, on saxophone, flute, vocals, flamenco guitar and violin.
From the first track until the final one the musicianship and interplay are awesome, the sound has a strong and compelling Arabesca flavour, blended with elements from blues and hard rock to symphonic rock and neo-prog. The music is loaded with dynamics, tension and strong, varied work on guitar and keyboards. So, I am delighted about Qamar, what a promising prog Andaluz band!

Todo Empieza Aqui: the highlight is the instrumental epic title track. A dreamy intro with sparkling grand piano and flamenco guitar, then a propulsive mid-tempo piece with rock guitar and exciting play on guitar, keyboards and saxophone, with an obvious Arabesca undertone. Next flamenco guitar and flute, evoking the Paco De Lucia sextet, then fragile electric guitar and swinging piano with flamenco guitar evoking Iman. In the final part moving violin and exciting flamenco guitar, culminating in a short, sumptuous eruption to end. Wow!

Chapter Two:
New rock Andaluz bands between 2021 and 2023

ANAIRT - Nuestro Tiempo (2021)

Anairt was founded in 1995 by five musicians who listened to classic rock like Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and rock Andaluz, especially legendary Triana, but also Alameda and Medina Azahara. When you read Anairt from right to left you'll get... Triana! During the years Anairt played a lot of gigs but there was a period of almost twenty years of inactivity due to family priorities, and other dedications. Then Ainart reunited to record songs that the band arranged between 1995 and 1999. First they did the mix, and then a few more concerts. Finally, the band recorded their album entitled Nuestro Tiempo, released in 2021.
Many of these tastefully arranged ten tracks feature a mid-tempo, strongly evoking Triana and Medina Azahara, especially due to the excellent native vocals. The music is embellished with lots of flashy synthesizer flights, heavy work on the electric guitar, organ and piano play. The rhythm section does an outstanding job, from tight to dynamic. The flamenco guitar and handclapping (palmas) by guest musicians Juan Espinosa and Raúl Rivas in four songs evoke that special rock Andaluz flavour. Other guest musician Ángel Ruíz, who is the guitarist from the Spanish heavy prog legend The Storm, delivers a long and fiery solo in the very Triana inspired Una Fiesta De Colores.

Anairt live
Escaparme De Ti: mellow oriented track from dreamy to bombastic with warm vocals and pleasant work on piano, flamenco guitar and synthesizer, along a heavy guitar solo in the end.
Ya No Queda Nada: another mellow oriented track embellished with slightly distorted guitar, romantic vocals, sensitive electric guitar, tender piano play and finally a howling guitar solo.
Quiero: last but not least this wonderful mellow track featuring guest singer Pepe Roca from the legendary band Alameda: from classical piano and intense vocals by Pepe to excellent work on flamenco and electric guitar and synthesizer. Goose bumps!

SHERISH - El Candil (2021)

This debut album by the very promising and Arabesca sounding new prog Andaluz four-piece formation Sherish was recorded in 2017, but it lasted four years before 5Lunas, in cooperation with the Chilean prog rock label Mylodon, finally released the seven tracks on CD, entitled El Candil.

Quiero Vivir: listening to this album I'm quickly in the prog Andaluz mood with this first track with handclapping, sumptuous Arabesca sounding synthesizer layers and passionate vocals with that distinctive wailing undertone blended with powerful rock guitar, including heavy, wah-wah drenched electric guitar soli and a tight rhythm-section.
The other compositions are also firmly rooted in the Arabesca oriented prog Andaluz, often evoking Medina Azahara.
Sigue Tu Camino: expressive vocals, sumptuous orchestral keyboards and a blistering guitar solo.
Busco En Tu Mirada: propulsive interplay, emotional dual vocals, and a moving harder edged guitar solo, in a bombastic and compelling atmosphere.
Sherish live
Sé La Verdad: a spacey electronic intro then heavy guitar, propulsive drums, that sumptuous orchestral Arabesca sounding synthesizer sound, an extra dimension, along the strong vocals, and a wonderful final part with tender piano, celestial female vocals and a sensitive guitar solo, culminating in a bombastic acceleration. Goose bumps!
Rock Andaluz: a bombastic mid-tempo featuring a heavy guitar solo with thunderous drums, bombastic keyboards, expressive vocals by Randy Lopez (Medina Azahara, Mezquita) and a sensational flashy synthesizer solo in an exciting climate, evoking El Suicidio by Mezquita. Wow!
El Candil: up-tempo heavy prog Andaluz with blistering guitar runs, halfway the music turns into a slow rhythm with a moving guitar solo and soaring keyboards, finally another flashy and sultry sounding synthesizer solo, with propulsive drum beats. What a spectacular prog Andaluz!
Libertad: finally, a typical prog Andaluz mid-tempo melodic rock song like post-eighties Medina Azahara with expressive vocals and heavy guitar.

ARABIGA - Amores Y Desenganos (2022)

The four-piece Arabiga sounds as a tight unit with good and inspired musicians. The music on this album often brings Medina Azahara to my mind, but the wonderful orchestral keyboard layers give an extra dimension along lots of heavy guitar work and passionate vocals.

Dejando Media Vida Atrás: power ballad with tender piano, cheerful classically inspired piano runs and a moving guitar solo. from gentle piano and acoustic guitar to a slow ¡Cuanto Hemos Cambiado!: another power ballad with sparkling piano runs showcasing the writing skills of the band, and the more romantic side with echoes from classic rock Andaluz bands Cai and Alameda.
Enamorando: This composition is the absolute highlight on this album, which features the band in its full splendour. It is the most Arabesca drenched track. First you'll hear a blend of piano, palmas (handclapping) and flamenco guitar, then exciting interplay between the flamenco guitar and the synthesizer followed by harder-edged guitar, blended with palmas, and finally a piano solo! Wow, I love rock Andaluz!

Arabiga live Randy Lopez live

RANDY LOPEZ - Apocalipsis? (2022)

Randy Lopez is the great voice of the legendary band Mezquita. Later on, he also sang in in Medina Azahara, one of my favourite classic rock Andaluz bands. Power, emotion, intensity, expression, he delivers it all, as the huge asset on his fourth solo album Apocalipsis? Randy Lopez has also turned into a multi-instrumentalist, not only vocals and bass as in Mezquita, but he also plays the keyboards and the guitar. On this album, he is supported by three guitarists, two keyboard players and a drummer as guest musicians.

The nine tracks contain a lot of energetic mid-tempo beats, embellished with strong work on guitars and keyboards, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section with hints from Medina Azahara, but also more elaborate and tastefully arranged varied songs.

Apocalipsis?: in the title track you'll hear an exciting break with strong interplay, Hammond and biting wah-wah guitar.
Mi Barrio Ya No Es Mi Barrio: wonderful Arabesca sounding keyboard orchestrations in this one. After an ominous intro and soaring organ, the music shifts to an up-tempo with fiery guitar and Hammond.
Pasado, Presente Y Futuro: a sparkling synthesizer solo with a swinging bass.
Maldición: this compelling track contains a dark sound with an aggressive undertone and raw and intense vocals, then blistering wah-wah guitar and sensational synthesizer flights.
¿Quién Mueve Los Hilos Del Mundo?: exciting track with heavy guitars and a swirling Hammond solo.
Un Mundo Sin Amor: lots of variety and tension in this dynamic track: from mellow with tender vocals to bombastic outbursts with heavy guitar 7 and sumptuous Hammond sounds.
Espinas Y Rosas: the final track starts with soaring strings and gentle acoustic rhythm-guitar, soon sensitive electric guitar joins, then a catchy beat with a fiery guitar solo, strongly evoking Medina Azahara.

VAREKAI - Me Siento Vivo (2022)

I'm impressed by Varekai. This band is a tight unit featuring very good musicians. To me their debut album is an exciting blend of rock Andaluz, mainly due to the powerful flamenco inspired vocals, and the classic rock bands from the seventies and eighties like Rush and Black Sabbath, but also Eric Clapton, Uriah Heep and Thin Lizzy. The duo guitar work delivers lots of wah-wah drenched soli, and propulsive riffs, supported by a solid rhythm-section.

Vivo: this track strongly evokes Another One Bites The Dust by Queen, but the fiery and biting wah-wah guitar play gives an extra dimension.
Te Debo Tanto: in this wonderful ballad guest musician Jose Fermin Fernandez plays delicate flamenco guitar in a fascinating way contrasting with the howling guitar runs and wah-wah sound. If you are up to guitar-oriented rock Andaluz, I highly recommend this album.

Varekai live Vandalus live

VANDALUS - Vandalus (2022)

This interesting four-piece rock Andaluz band plays varied melodic rock with strong prog rock tendencies. The keyboard player uses a wide range of sounds. My highlights:

Ensuenos: a wonderful Arabesca sounding intro, then a build-up to rock with blistering guitar and a powerhouse rhythm-section in the short instrumental.
Mujer: lots of fine musical ideas in this dynamic and alternating track, embellished within heavy guitars, organ and strings.
Hamman: a short instrumental with a flamenco guitar intro, then huge tension in the music featuring awesome interplay between the drums and the keyboards.

The final three compositions feature Vandalus in its most progressive mood and showcases the maturity and writing skills of the band.

Indifferencia: from tender piano and vocals to a mid-tempo with sensational synthesizer flights and thunderous drums. In between flowing changing atmospheres, omnipresent Hammond organ and howling guitar runs, Medina Azahara comes to my mind.
Salud Y Rock Andaluz: a bombastic and heavy tribute with passionate vocals and blistering guitar.
Fatigas: first bombastic with rock guitar and orchestral keyboards, then a slow rhythm with propulsive guitar riffs, the interplay is amazing. Finally, a long and spectacular Hammond solo with a strong Arabesca undertone. Wow, goose bumps! I love rock Andaluz!

SHERISH - Escampa (2023)

In 2021 the band released the promising debut album El Candil featuring seven tracks that were recorded in 2017. Now two years later Sherish delivers the successor entitled Escampa. I was very curious about their progress. Well, Sherish still presents dynamic and compelling rock Andaluz featuring lots of heavy parts and sumptuous outbursts, loaded with Arabesca sounding orchestral keyboards and fiery guitar play topped with wonderful flamenco inspired vocals. However, in comparison with their first album the songs on this new effort are more elaborate and contain more adventurous musical ideas.

Colores: the rap voice by Samuray King proves the more adventurous musical ideas.
El Mendigo Del Parque: contains a choir.
Escampa Acoustico: in between all those heavy and bombastic rock Andaluz this final track is a wonderful mellow piece, blending howling electric guitar, spacy synthesizer flights and passionate vocals.
Conqustando Del Miedo: one of the two longer compositions showcase the progress in writing. This one will carry you away to the heaven of rock Andaluz. Lots of changing atmospheres, dynamics and tension, embellished with awesome work on keyboards: from sparkling piano and flashy synthesizer to majestic Farfisa organ and a compelling orchestral keyboard sound, and heavy and howling guitar runs, fuelled by a powerhouse rhythm-section. Wow!
Contra Vineto Y Marea: an alternating long composition in which the Medina Azahara hints are obvious. The music shifts from mellow with dreamy guitar and spacy synthesizers to prog metal with biting guitar, spectacular synthesizer flights and thunderous drums, the interplay is amazing and very exciting.
Escampa: the elements of pivotal rock Andaluz formation Medina Azahara have led to an invitation to their singer Manuel Martinez in the first track. The sound shifts from mellow with gentle piano and soaring strings to bombastic with blistering guitar and Arabesca orchestral keyboards, topped with the powerful and emotional voice of Manuel.

Unfortunately, I am just told by the owner of 5Lunas that Sherish no longer exist, but the keyboard player has founded a new band named Almatraz, a trio playing symphonic metal.

Post Scriptum -
Muchas gracias, señor Juan Antonio Vergara!

Juan Antonio Vergara
This article about rock Andaluz is mainly boosted by the huge support of Juan Antonio Vergara and his 5Lunas label. I discovered it on the internet about two years ago. I was delighted to notice that my beloved rock Andaluz is still alive, with so many new fascinating bands, produced on the 5Lunas label. I ordered two times a bunch of rock Andaluz. Juan has also released reissues from excellent rock Andaluz bands like Montoro and Mantra, and from old and new Spanish progressive rock, from Storm and Expression to Khorus, Omni and Scaladei. Last month Background Magazine received an extensive promo package from 5Lunas. This article is based upon the rock Andaluz CDs in that package. Muchas gracias señor Juan Antonio Vergara! Keep on doing a great job with your 5Lunas label!

Erik Neuteboom (October 2023, edited by Peter Willemsen)

Rock Andaluz
Compilation 1
Rock Andaluz
Compilation 2
Rock Andaluz
Compilation 3
5Lunas label

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