El Combolinga
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El Combolinga

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"Stop! Don’t be in such a hurry ..."

“Mira qué bien”

“Stop! Don’t be in such a hurry if it’s you you’re looking for”. And in the end, they found each other. The journey was long and strenuous: recordings, tours, gigs at festivals... They reaped acknowledgement, stored heaps of experience in silos, and now they have collected the ideal spices to brew up a delicious fourth album: “Mira qué bien” (Well isn’t that great). El Combolinga is back in action, armed to the teeth. Over the course of these last few years, Markos, Guille, Juni, Punky and Cata took an overdose of black sounds, experimented with new instruments and took on a new lyric approach... In a nutshell, they have shaken off old prejudices about recording web-polished work, and have come up with the most complete and compact of their recording career, and self-produced to boot!. When few seemed to expect it, El Combo has managed to make even better music, causing the currently off-beat “crossbred” label to come back to the arena with a vengeance.

Like a traveller held up at a crossroads. That is the sensation one has when listening to “Mira qué bien”. The musical crossing jumps up at us at the very beginning of the record: ‘No corras tanto’ (Don’t be in such a hurry), the first single for which Punky has made a great cartoon videoclip with sand. He brings two different deserts together: the Sahara –evoked by the Arabic harmonies and the hynoptic voice of Ismael– and the North American Sonora desert - as represented by the Ry Cooder-style guitar music.

The journey continues and El Combo keeps proposing new routes: Iberian-Funk with Carioca dashes in ‘Daquipayá’, which is really an accurate self-portrait; full-blooded lyricism in ‘Cumbia caimanera’; pedigree Boogaloo in ‘Anda que no’, with a very inspired “Cata” playing traditional “Tres Cubano”; Tropical sounds and Reggae in the cheeky ‘Estilo Pixinguinha’; pure Peret-style Rumba in ‘Gazpacho’; Samba-Funk in the brutal discharge ‘Celébrala’, a theme that takes us back to Canecão in the seventies –a hall in Rio de Janeiro where Brazilian Funk was born–; dark and tribal Rock, with a Caribbean flavour in ‘A muerte’; Rumba-Disco-Funk in ‘Que corra el aire’ and, in the song that lends its name to the album, where the hoarse voice of Markos intertwines with the sweet song of Bebe, while the synthesizer brings back memories of Irakere.

We also come across a real jewel which is hard to catalogue: ‘El Olivar’, a crossbreed between the Neo-Folk of Devendra Banhart and the local Tanguillos, a risky adventure which comes out on top as Cata’s lyrics speak of the landscape and folk of the Madrid district of Lavapiés.

As a gift, the Divertimento: the glorious ‘Crosstown traffic’ by Jimi Hendrix all shaken up in the group’s cocktail mixer. Pure delight. El Combolinga never sounded this way.

Try them: they are a tasty dish. - Atxeh


Still working on that hot first release.



Over one decade has gone past since the five Madrid musicians decided to pool together their individual influences and create El Combolinga, a group that stands out for its original sound. It was in 1996 that Juni, Punky, Guille, Cata and Álvaro began to lay down the basis of a new crossbreed, a coherent cocktail in which there is room for everything ranging from Flamenco to Rock, with Reggae, Rumba, Pop and African roots along the way; these five guys were opening up a new route along which, years later, a wide range of Spanish bands would be making it. Since then, they have come out with ive records:
“El Combo Linga” (1998), “Agítalo” (2000), “Así somos” (2000), “Daquipaya”_ (2004) –in which Markos Bayón substituted the guitar and vocals of Álvaro– and the more recent “Mira qué bien” (2008). Their songs have made it to all the major festivals of the Peninsula, as well as others in Belgium and Holland (where the band has given various concerts). As of 2005, the band has also embarked on a tour with Bebe, enabling them to play in places such as Mexico City, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires or Paris. Cinema and television have also set their eye on El Combo: their songs have sounded in films such as “Muertos de risa”, “Año mariano” or “El penalti más largo del mundo”, and the song ‘Las tapas’ was the theme tune of the TVE1 programme “Vamos a cocinar con José Andrés”. Maturity and experience have enabled El Combolinga to achieve increasingly perfect and polished recordings, songs with lyrics that overflow with the magic of everyday experience. They come across as fascinating geographical-sound trips.