Cineplexx’s 10 Favourite Argentine Songs

By 18 September, 2014

We asked singer/songwriter Sebastián Litmanovich aka Cineplexx to choose 10 of his favourite songs from his native Argentina. Cineplexx’s last album, Florianopolis, was an infectious slice of psychedelic cool, not to mention one of our albums of the year, and built on his reputation as one of Argentina’s most interesting songwriters working in what we can only loosely call the pop canon. His selection of tunes is quite simply a great introduction to Argentine music…

Putting together a list of 10 Argentine songs was a really difficult task to do! I tried to put together a list that in some ways influenced different aspects of my music. It would be unfair not to mention the music I listened to while I was a kid, like Julieta Magaña, El Capitan Piluso (check the “Fascinerosos” song), Titanes En El Ring (a wrestling TV show, listen to “La Momia Negra”!); the bigger artists that came later such as Charly Garcia, Oscar Aleman, Fats Fernandez (when I was 16 or so jazz was the only thing I listened to), Dino Saluzzi, Los Twist, Viuda e Hijas de Roque Enroll (great female band with lots of humour and good taste for 50s vocal harmonies, something very rare in Argentine music), Los Encargados, Soda Stereo; the great folk musicians such as Miguel Zurdo Martinez and Atahualpa Yupanqui; 60s bands like Los Gatos, Moris and Pescado Rabioso; or the 90s indie explosion with bands such as Resonantes, Estupendo, Francisco Bochaton, Avant Press, Demonios de Tasmania and so many more.

So here we go with the list in no particular order:

Daniel Melero “Descansa En Mis Brazos” (Rocio, 1996)

Daniel is one of the most interesting musician/producers from Argentina, is considered the Argentinian Brian Eno by many after his amazing productions for Soda Stereo (on the big seller Canción Animal) and others.

Rocio (1996) is my favourite of Melero’s album, but Travesti, Conga, Cámara, and the album by his previous 80s band Los Encargados, are also worth a mention. When Rocio was released it transformed my perception of Argentinian music. His music welcomes romance, mystery, science, melancholy, naïvety, minimalism, humour, even psychology! I was very lucky to work with him on my Electrocardiograma (2002) album, he is one of the most open minded and creative artists I know, just check his groovy experimental album Disritmia (2013).

Gustavo Cerati “Pulsar” (Amor Amarillo, 1993)

Gustavo was the great mind behind the big band Soda Stereo (sadly he passed away recently), another creative soul who also worked with Melero on their fabulous collaborative album Colores Santos (1991). This song is taken from his first solo album Amor Amarillo (1993). Gustavo clearly loved electronic music (check his various projects such as Plan V or Ocio) and his vocals are sensual and enigmatic.

Luis Alberto Spinetta (originally credited as Pescado Rabioso) “Todas La Hojas Son Del Viento” (Artaud, 1973)

Luis Alberto Spinetta is considered one of the most important Argentine musicians (if not the most!), he had so many bands since the 60s, he completely changed the local scene. He loved surrealism, UFOs, he was a visionary who crafted through the years a beautiful portrait of us, the “porteños” (how we call the citizens of Buenos Aires). Check his bands Almendra, Pescado Rabioso, Invisible, Spinetta Jade and his solo albums, my favourite album is Artaud for its free form (both lyrically and musically).

Suarez “Rio Parana” (Excursiones, 1996)

Directly from the Buenos Aires underground, Suarez became one of the biggest indie experimental bands. Rosario Blefari, the singer and spirit of the band, had the power on stage to attract the public, the media and everybody in the underground indie scene. To me they were the centre of the indie explosion of the early 90s. This song is so perfectly crafted, so pop! It brings to mind all those gigs in the 90s when I first starting doing my own thing. Check also Rosario’s solo albums and Martin Rejtman’s (one of my favourite film directors from Argentina) film Silvia Prieto in which she performs the lead role.

Tanguito (originally credited to Ramsés VII) “La Princesa Dorada” (single, 1967)

Tanguito became a legend in Buenos Aires (some of his songs became hits when performed by other bands), and was part (maybe he was a satellite) of the very beginning of rock & roll in Argentina in the 60s. I particularly love this song, giving us a taste of what he could have done later, if he had survived (there are many speculations around his death). There are traces of Syd Barrett, Spinetta, even The Velvets! There is also an improvised recording of him singing his songs with an acoustic guitar (all first take of course), in which you hear other people in the studio with him, it seems that they were recording late in the studio, trying to help him to put his songs on tape. His most iconic song is “La Balsa”, in its popular version by Los Gatos.

Sandro “Trigal” (Sandro, 1969)

Sandro was our Elvis in a way, with 52 albums released and 16 films, he also rented (with other rock musicians) the key venue where rock music started in Buenos Aires, La Cueva. It was the place to be for music and poetry and so many bands started there. Later he became a star on the silver screen. Trigal has everything I like about Sandro, it is sexual (“dame tu surco y dame vida”), elegant, groovy and complex. Don’t miss the music video to have a good portrait of who Sandro was.

Leonardo Favio “Mi Tristeza Es Mia Y Nada Más” (Fuiste Mia Un Verano, 1969)

Actor, screenwriter, singer, film director (check his acclaimed film El Dependiente). Maybe this song is sad in a way (“my sadness is mine and mine only, to me the moon is just a place, I don’t believe in anything nor in a flower”), Favio was undoubtedly a rara avis, a big artist and producer.

Astor Piazzolla “Fuga y Misterio” (Adios Nonino, 1969)

When I first listened to Astor‘s music I fell in love immediately, the first album I heard was Adios Nonino, a master piece you cannot miss, melancholic, orchestral, jazzy, cinematic and very innovative in its arrangements and performance. His music was rejected by the local tango scene at first as he introduced many elements from classical music to jazz, something the conservative musicians could not decode yet, but his version became the new tango – in fact, one of his bands was called Quinteto Tango Nuevo.

Virus “Sin Disfraz” (Locura, 1985)

New wave band led by the Moura brothers with Federico as frontman. Virus was one of the freshest bands in the 80s with Federico’s amazing voice and Roberto Jacoby’s great lyrics making them one of the top bands in Argentina. It is hard to find indie bands that don’t mention them as one of their influences. I wonder what Federico would be doing these days if he was alive.

Charly Garcia “No Me Dejan Salir” (Clics Modernos, 1983)

Charly Garcia is the most well-known Argentine singer-songwriter, musician and producer, he led great iconic bands: Sui Generis, La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros and Seru Giran, and later continued his solo career. Clics Modernos is a great album, full of hits and fresh arrangements; I especially like all the electro funky new wave in it. Check the video.

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