TRIGAL’S FIVE YEAR MUSICAL ODYSSEY.
Trigal’s Five Year Musical Odyssey.
When Trigal signed to Belter Records in 1975, this was the start of a musical adventure that would last five years and see the band release two albums and four singles. They featured Trigal’s unique and inimitable fusion of gypsy rumba-funk and flamenco pop, which found favour with audiences the length and breadth of Spain. Especially between 1976 and 1977, which was Trigal’s “classic period.” Sadly, though, nothing lasts forever, and by 1980,Trigal decided to call time on their career, as their popularity was declining. The Trigal story was over but the trio had made their mark on Spanish music.
Although Trigal signed to Belter Records in 1975, the bands roots can be traced to 1961. That was when seventeen year old Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez started work as a technician for Radio de Nacional Espana, in Malaga. When he wasn’t working at the radio station, Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez became involved with various local bands. For the teenager, he was doing what he loved.
Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez had learnt to play the guitar when he was eight, and since then, had been passionate about music. Even then, there was an inevitability that Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez would embark upon a career as a musician.
When he did, it was with Los Tres Del Sur, a trio that featured Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera and Rafael Romero. Los Tres Del Sur were influenced by Los Guacamayos, Los Panhcos and Los 3 Sudamericanos, and their set list usually featured a variety of Latin classics. This proved popular when Los Tres Del Sur took to the stage at venues on the Costa Del Sol during the summer holidays. This was where Los Tres Del Sur spent the first few years of their career, gaining experience and honing their sound. By the late-sixties, Los Tres Del Sur decided to leave the Costa Del Sol behind.
They were one of a number of acts who were hired to play on US military airbases. For the next three years, Los Tres Del Sur travelled the length and breadth of America, and played wherever American troops were stationed. This resulted in Los Tres Del Sur performing in Cuba and Jamaica. For Los Tres Del Sur this was valuable experience and they became a better band.
In 1972, Los Tres Del Sur returned home having completed their three-year contact. When they returned to Malaga, Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez and Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera who were by then a couple, decided to marry. Not long after this, Rafael Romero left Los Tres Del Sur.
This could’ve been a potential disaster for Los Tres Del Sur, who were by then an experienced band. Fortunately, Los Tres Del Sur found a more than suitable and experienced replacement for Rafael Romero. Guitarist Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter was only twenty-four, but had a wealth of musical experience in the Spanish music scene. He was also regarded as a virtuoso guitarist and would add a new dimension to Los Tres Del Sur.
Los Tres Del Sur’s new lineup now featured Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez, Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera and Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter. They spent the next three years playing live and building their fan-base. This paid off, and in 1975 Juan Barcons ‘Jaobim’ the founder of Belter Records offered the trio a recording contract. There was one caveat though, and that was that the group change their name. The three members of Los Tres Del Sur agreed, and Trigal was born in 1975.
Having signed to Belter Records, Trigal were now rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in Spanish music. This included Rhumba Tres, and would later, cover some of their songs. That was still to come.
Before long, Trigal was introduced to the man who would play an important part in their sound and success, Ramon Farran. He was thirty-six and vastly experienced, having spent twenty years working in the Spanish music industry.
Ramon Farran’s career began at an early age when he played drums in his father’s big band. Since then, Ramon Farran had worked as a session musician, arranger, producer and was a successful and experienced composer. That was why Belter Records’ Juan Barcons ‘Jaobim’ entrusted Ramon Farran to modernise Trigal’s music.
To do this, Ramon Farran would introduce fashionable, moderne arrangements, and braying, blazing, jazzy horns that more than hinted at his love of Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins. Ramon Farran also incorporated elements of hook-laden rumba pop. This was something that Ramon Farran was familiar with, as he had previously written and produced a number of rumba pop singles. He knew that the secret of a hit single was a catchy chorus. However, there was also an experimental side to Trigal’s music, which would emerge over the next five years.
Having signed to Belter Records and been introduced to their new producer Ramon Farran, Trigal began work on their eponymous debut album. Eventually, Trigal settled on ten tracks which featured on Trigal’s eponymous debut album. This included a number of songs that were written by the three members of Trigal.
The album opener Gol was penned by C.A. Diaz and Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez, who wrote Tamara with J.L. Carretero. Meanwhile, Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez had formed a successful songwriting partnership with Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter, who had been a member of Trigal for three years. They wroteToma Que Dale, Recuerdos and Por Culpita De Mi Mal Peens. These songs would become part of Trigal which was recorded with Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera in Barcelona, which was home to Belter Records.
Later, in 1976,Trigal released their eponymous debut album. Trigal was released on Belter Records and was an ambitious genre-melting album. Trigal married a variety of different musical genres and influences including flamenco pop and gypsy rumba-funk which were combined with jazz, rock and soul. There’s even a nod towards the Blaxploitation movies that had a cult following during the first half of the seventies.
Trigal unleashed thunderous drums which joined forces with the bass in the rhythm section. They were joined by searing guitars, a myriad of percussion and dancing strings. Meanwhile, stabs and bursts of blazing, braying horns which flit between jazz and funk and are and sometimes joined by wah wah guitars. The final piece of the jigsaw were the gypsy female vocal which veered between heartfelt and hopeful, to sassy and soulful. From the opening bars of Gol to the closing notes of Si Te Quiero, Trigal’s debut album was an irresistible combination of musical genres and influences.
Soon, Belter Records’ Juan Barcons ‘Jaobim’ decision to sign Trigal was vindicated as they became a popular band. Trigal’s debut single Gol was released in 1976, and featured Por Culpita De Mi Mal Pensá on the B-Side. The followup was Toma Que Dale was incredibly catchy and had a radio friendly sound. Tucked away on the B-Side was the hidden gem Recuerdos which fused funk, pop and stabs of brassy horns. Recuerdos was too good to languish on the B-Side of a single. Toma Que Dale was released by Belter Records later in 1976 and saw the Trigal success story continue.
Baila La Rumba.
After the success of their debut album, Trigal began work on what became their sophomore album Baila La Rumba. It featured another ten new songs, including Baila La Rumba, El Gitano Andrés,Temporal, Déjame, Sacromonte, Vente Conmigo and Si Te Quiero. They were all penned by the songwriting team of Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez and Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter.
The ten tracks that became Baila La Rumba were recorded in Barcelona with the third member of Trigal, Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera. When Baila La Rumba was completed, it was scheduled for release in 1977.
Just like Trigal, Baila La Rumba was released to praise and plaudits. Baila La Rumba was another musical potpourri, where musical genres and influences are combined by Trigal. This included flamenco pop, funk, and gypsy rumba-funk, jazz, rock and soul. There were elements of Blaxploitation and disco on Baila La Rumba which was Trigal’s most eclectic album.
Baila La Rumba was also another album of irresistible music where the hooks hadn’t been spared. The majority of the tracks were uptempo and dance-floor friendly. Some featured disco strings, while others featured a funkier sound. Occasionally, a rocky sound emerged from the carefully crafted arrangements. Other times, including on Vente Conmigo, Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera delivers an impassioned, soulful vocal. The role she played in Trigal’s can’t be underestimated.
After the release of Baila La Rumba, Trigal’s popularity continued to grow. They released Baila La Rumba as a single later in 1977, with Vente Conmigo on the B-Side. However, Baila La Rumba was the last single that Trigal released during what was their classic period.
Between 1976 and 1977, Trigal enjoyed the most successful period of their five-year career. By 1978, Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera was expecting her first child. Little Tony was born later in 1978.
In 1979, Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter announced that he was leaving Trigal. His replacement was Enrique García González who had been a member of Fresa y Nata and Group 69. This was the third and final lineup of Trigal. They entered the studio with arranger and producer Joan Barcons ‘Jobim,’ and recorded
Trigal’s fourth single A Los Mundiales, which featured Toca Las Palmas on the B-Side. Alas, the single failed to replicate the success Trigal’s previous releases. Little did the three members of Trigal know that this would their final single.
With Trigal’s popularity declining, it was no surprise that in 1980 the band decided to call time on their career. Making the announcement was Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez. He and his wife had been with Trigal since the sixties, when they were still called Los Tres Del Sur. They had been about to enter their third decade as a group.
Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez had another announcement to make that day in 1980. He had decided to retire, and would never again take to stage.
Instead, he spent the next nine years selling sound equipment. However, in 1989 Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez decided to open his own recording studio ACM Records in Malaga. This was the start of Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez’s long career as a producer.Later he began to write songs with his old songwriting partner Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter. They picked up where they left off in 1979.
Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez and Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter played their part in the sound and success of Trigal’s two albums. They also collaborated on another project Los Percheleros, who released a trio of albums. This began with 1974s Las Mejores Rumbas Del Año, 1976s Nuevos Aires De Rumba and the band’s swan-song Los Percheleros in 1977.
Many people will remember Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez, Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter and Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera for the two albums they released as Trigal between 1976 and 1977. These two albums, Trigal and Baila Mi Rumba feature Trigal’s unique and inimitable fusion of flamenco pop, funk, and gypsy rumba-funk, jazz, rock and soul, which sometimes incorporates Blaxploitation and disco. This musical potpourri found favour with audiences the length and breadth of Spain, and transformed the career of Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez and Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera.
By the time they signed to Belter Records, they had spent the best part of a decade playing in holiday resorts and army camps as part of Los Tres Del Sur. The addition of Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter in 1972 was the final piece of the jigsaw. When Trigal signed to Belter Records in 1975, they were ready to make the next step, and between 1976 and 1977, their music was part of the soundtrack to daily life in Spain
Trigal’s Five Year Musical Odyssey.
- Posted in: Blaxploitation ♦ Funk ♦ Jazz ♦ Pop ♦ Rock ♦ Soul
- Tagged: A Los Mundiales, Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmona Martínez, Baila La Rumba, Belter Records, Enrique García González, Gol, Juan Barcons ‘Jaobim, Los Percheleros, Los Tres Del Sur, Manuel Gallego Carretero Carter, Maria Victoria ‘Vicky’ Cabrera, Rafael Romero, Ramon Farran, Trigal