Sunday, March 1, 2015

Arco Iris - 1970 - Arco Iris

Arco Iris
Arco Iris

01. Quiero Llegar
02. Hoy Te Mire
03. Camino
04. Coral
05. Te Quiero, Te Espero
06. Luli
07. Cancion de Cuna para el Niño Astronauta
08. Y Una Flor
09. Tiempo
10. Y Ahora Soy

11. Lo Veo En tus Ojos
12. Cancion para una Mujer
13. Luisito Cortate el Pelo
14. Solo Tengo Amor
15. Blues de Dana
16. Quien es la Chica
17. Es Nuestra la Libertad
18. Zamba

Gustavo Santaolalla - Guitar and vocals
Guillermo Bodarampe - Bass
Ara Tokatlian - Flutes
Horacio Gianello - Drums and percussion

Arco Iris were/are a group from Argentine who brought a unique blend of ethno folk with jazz, and  progressive music, with pre-Columbian associations. They lived under extreme discipline under lead of the spiritual guidance of Dana, with Tibetan backgrounds. The group made several music concepts worth to trace. Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla, together with Altar Tokatlian and Guillermo Bordarampé, formed several bands in the 60s (The Rovers, The Blackbyrds, The Crows) to play covers at first and later on, their own songs.
After recording a 3-song demo tape for their group "The Crows", they met producer Ricardo Kleinman (owner of the successful radio show "Modart en la Noche") who agreed to sign them with the condition that they sing in Castilian and change their name!
From that time, in 1967, the group Arco Iris or "the Rainbow" was formed and entered at the same time a new area in their life, still at that time with Gustavo Santaolalla (guitar and voice), Altar Tokatlián (winds) and Guillermo Bordarampé. Some drummers came and went from whom Alberto Cascino stood out. At that time Arco Iris was the group that investigated the South American sounds much more.

The following year they published their first single with a late 60's pop tune "Lo veo en tus ojos"
(="I see in your eyes") and "Canción para una mujer" (= "Song for a woman")(-there's no relation with the Vox Dei song with the same name) with orchestral arrangements by Rodolfo Alchourrón. another Kleinman demand -note the great similarities with the first Almendra single-) :

1969 - Lo veo en tus ojos/ Canción para una mujer (RCA Vik 31Z-1486)

Months later Arco Iris released a second disappointing single
1969 - Solo tengo amor/ Luisito cortate el pelo (RCA Vik 31Z-1569)

and met former Jean Cartier model Danais Wynnycka (a.k.a. Dana). The life of the members of Arco Iris ("Rainbow") changed radically when they met her because Dana turned out to become their 'spiritual guide'. Arco Iris became a community that worked in an old large house of the Buenosairean district of San Telmo. There, yoga in all its branches was practiced: the spiritual one, mental and the physical one, under the indications of Dana, who was also the daughter of a yoga teacher who emigrated from Tibet to Argentina. The Rainbow became the symbol that lead them. They called themselves "the housewives of rock". There was much mysticism around. They all had also a symbol around their neck recalling the meaning of "the evolution of the man in the universe" and followed many rules for living. On the other hand they were also lead by almost too many rules and discipline. That part wasn't particular an pleasant memory, sometimes wondering if it still was healthy or necessary to do so, but they loved her presence (and lead) at the same time. The background of Dana is rather interesting and has significance in the story worth to mention:

Danais Wynnycka was born in the Ukraine, like her parents. She was a survivor and third daughter, after two sisters passed away to short age. Her mother was a sensible and demanding psychologist. Her father was a diplomat and singing lyrical songs. For that reason Dana grew up in Rome, until in an accident, her father lost his appraised gift : the voice. This distressed everything in such a way that they travelled to Tibet looking for a solution. Although he did not recover his voice, he found a spiritual teacher  that changed his life. He lived three years in a monastery, from where he returned to his family to give them too spiritual guidance, slightly westernised. From the more negative vibrations that emanated from post-war Italy, they now emigrated to a full site of positive vibrations, in the opposed pole of the Himalayas: the Mountain range of the Andes. With him it brought his wife and Dana, who was then 10 years old.
"The Mountain range is an important pole of feminine energy. It is necessary that the Argentineans realize this, and they take advantage of it, although our geographic place is so isolated and near the pole. All our country is a very good place at vibratory level, and is so that there are great changes possible. Until that vibration becomes reality, the negative part makes pressure against it. As greater the light, as greater its shades". Dana was a kind disciple of the lessons of its father. She said that "never I was in the pavada ? one, nor I had fiancès ?. I listened my father and learned with him the bases of the spiritual search. I always used the principles of the medicine Ayurveda, the Feng Shui, acupuncture, the homeopathy, macrobiotic with him. With Altar we are vegetarian, never in the life we proved meat, neither we took alcohol, nor we used drugs, nor we smoked".
Dana studied Laws, just as her father. Then she left to study journalism.
"In a summer in the coast, I was chosen to 'Miss Sea'. Then I knew designer Jean Cartier, that prepared me to become mannequin. With which I won in the parades I paid the studies of my definitive race: I made Musicotherapy in the University of the Salvador."
The nexus with Arco Iris made one lady of which helped with the changes express it of clothes to leave to the footbridge: she said to him that friends of their son were interested in their Eastern philosophy.
"As soon as I knew them, I followed with them as their spiritual guide. I had a special capacity to give answers that filled peace to these boys of 18 years. They called her a teacher, because in addition she knew much of yoga and Zen culture..."

By the end of 1969 Arco Iris had begun already some sessions for their first LP "Arco Iris" (for RCA) , to be released finally in May 1970. The pink cover showed a triangular logotype that represents the philosophy of the group. The album includes some very beautiful songs penned by Santaolalla in a vocal pop-folk style with both acoustic and electric instruments. Among them "Hoy te miré", "Te quiero, te espero", "Canción de cuna para un niño astronauta", "Tiempo", and the lengthy "Y ahora soy". The latter sort of previewed the instrumental development of future releases.

Alberto Cascino quit in unease with the "community life" (this is the reason why he is not in the album cover). Several drummers replaced him until Horacio Droopy GIANELLO took the job. In January of 1970 the group was celebrated in the Beat Festival with the song "Blues over Dana" which became their third single for RCA afterwards. "The day which we arrived at the Sea of Silver, in an omnibus where all the groups went, we entered by Av. Constitution and there was a hallucinating Rainbow on the sea". It was as if that symbol indicated already that they were going to win.
Almost simultaneously with the release of the singel the first LP of the band "Arco Iris" was released.
1970 - Blues de Dana/ Quién es la chica (RCA Vik 31Z-1639)

They performed their debut album the 7 of April in a concert in the Lorange Theater of Buenos Aires.
In the month of November of 1970 they participated in the first editing of the Festival B.a.rock that was carried out in the Municipal Velodrome.

Arco Iris kept working at the studio, and released a single in January 1971: "Es nuestra la libertad" with B-side "Zamba", which showed their first attempt to mix rock with argentine folkloric music -style they developed ever since.
1971 - Es nuestra la libertad/ Zamba (RCA Vik 31Z-1814)

At this point they changed the record company. Now in Music Hall label, they cut a highly successful single, the now classic "Mañana campestre" (="Rustic Morning") (with a non-LP b-side "I am a left piece of sun" ) this time for the label 'Music Hall'. It became a classic at that time one of the great successes of the group and it initiated their folkloric tendency to come with their next two LP's.

1971 - Mañana campestre/ Soy un pedazo de sol (Music Hall)

Released in 1May 1970, the first album from this Argentinean band is very fresh and cheerful. A mellow folk with traditional south american influence, nice voices and an early psychedelic side. On an instrumental level, the guitar is clearly the most impressive instrument with excellent fuzz and wha wha parts. The flute is gentle and contributes to this warm, sunny and soft mood. The band successfully combines gentle pastoral folk and genuine psychedelic inspiration. A promising debut album from an original band.



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