Albert Valero: bass guitar, keyboards and backing vocals
Cecilia Bayo: lead and backing vocals
Cristina Cruz: lead and backing vocals
Pablo Jiménez: Farfisa organ, bass guitar, lead and backing vocals
Emanuele di Marzo: lead guitar and backing vocals
Ivo von Menzel: lead and backing vocals
Albert Solà: drums
LOS SOBERANOS is the band that represents the ye-ye scene in Barcelona, famous for their funny live performances. Now, at least, we can enjoy their exquisite selection of Sixties songs, ideal to give the best atmosphere to your parties at home, and the sound in this recording is the best you can imagine.
Let us tell you some information about the fascinating story of LOS SOBERANOS and their ye-ye crusade.
Summer of 64. Festivities of Gràcia district in Barcelona
Don Adrià Gual went out for a walk on a hot summer night in August, 1964. One after the other, he visited the bars and pubs he liked the most, trying the house specialties at every place. Sausages, spicy food, energetic and politically incorrect dishes, soaked in beer, red wine, soda and big shots of brandy.
By three o’clock in the morning, already in bed, the explosive combination made its effect. He started to feel bad, his hair grew long, and he fell to the floor.
A blinding white light illuminated the room. A voice that sounded like Charlton Heston‘s in “The Ten Commandments”, told him:
- You shall form a modern band specialized in the ye-ye sound, you shall be called LOS SOBERANOS and you shall spread everywhere the good news about the new sound that is bewildering the world’s youth.
After two weeks interned at the Good Samaritan hospital, Adrià started his holy mission and began looking for acolytes.
The next signal he received from above was an old suitcase he found by his door, inside of which there were five grey taylored suits and two dresses. Apparently, the suitcase belonged to The Joke, a family business specialized in disguises and funny items.
Now, he only had to find seven people of different sizes so he could make the most of this new wardrobe.
The first future member of the band he found was Emanuele di Marzo, aka "John Medajohn", an alias he got due to his flair for accomodating the guitar as if it was a necklace. John was out in the street, crying hopelessly. His father, a prestigious Italian wine-maker, had put him out of the family’s heritage, since he had found him drinking Moretti beer in a terrace down at piazza Cordusio. Emanuele had arrived in Barcelona hidden among the luggage in a bus full of Milan’s Inter supporters. He only had his guitar -"Enriqueta"- and a bunch of singles by his beloved Adriano Celentano. Adrià explained him his difficult mission, which John joined joyfully, since he was promised big financial benefits, all the beer he could drink and an exclusive diet based in greasy local Spanish dishes.
Soon they were joined by Albert Valero, “Valium”, who worked painting the walls outside “Can Pistoles” cinema, and as substitute illustrator for Patufet children’s magazine. He admired the existentialists and the beatniks, he was a football supporter, and spent his days practicing with the bass guitar and studying the body techniques of Yoga Sutras from Patanjali. He adhered to the impossible plan because he thought that, with the money he would earn, he could open a grocery store in front of his beloved Camp Nou football stadium.
Through an ad in the press, where they asked for a drummer, they met Albert Solà, “Bowie”, drummer in folkloric ensemble Terra Ferma. He was proud to tell that he had won during nineteen years in a row the fidelity prize given to its best customers by the Moritz breweries. Albert shared music with his job as the creator of different shades of colours for car paint at the Seat factory. Captivated by the modern sounds, he sat behind the drum kit.
The next one to join the band was to be the singer, Ivo von Menzel.
Ivo was escaping the German authorities with his family. His father had moved to Düsseldorf. After having worked for many years in the metal industry, he got a grant from the government to open a Spanish Cultural Centre. Ivo liked to singalong to the melodies that came out from an old gramophone. These were the records his father had brought from his much missed Spain (Marifé de Triana, Juanito Maravillas, Paquita Rico, Jorge Sepúlveda and El Mejorano). A sad day they received a delivery of Albanese wine. The sangria they served made fifty-six customers turn bald. The family wrapped their belongings and left the country at ultra high speed.
Pablo Jiménez, a retired marine, didn’t have any known occupation. He attended a casting for the movie that was due to be filmed by pop stars EL DUO DINAMICO, “Botón de ancla”. They were looking for men in uniform. At the job centre, Pablo read in an ad that LOS SOBERANOS were looking for a keyboard player. Pablo, a virtuous keyboard, had played organ since he was a child in the local church. He preferred to join LOS SOBERANOS, since the Dúo seemed a bit soft to him. He was mad about the new English band that was a revolution among the youth, the hairy foursome from Liverpool, the Fab Four, THE BEATLES.
The band started rehearsing with more illusion than skill, it must be said. After a few weeks, they realized the band’s sound lacked something. They had done a big mistake, they had not given their real importance to the two dresses that remained at the bottom of the found suitcase.
After a few days they were joined on backing vocals by Cecilia Bayo, “Sici”. Miss Bayo was studying tayloring in a private school in the neighbourhood. Besides of that Ceci, who in the past had run the family business –a successful fabric store in Pamplona-, needed to earn an extra money to raise her family by singing in nightclubs, since during the festivities of San Fermin some bad American tourists, drunk with sangria and calimotxo, had set the shop on fire.
A week later, another singer came to the rehearsal room asking for a job. She said she was called Cristina Cruz, “Cristi”. She explained she had abandoned her family, infamous flamenco clan the Morcillos, during a tour in Melilla. Sick of castanets, posh parties and open air fairs, she had asked for asylum at the Centre Català (Catalan Centre) of the city. Its only member and founder, Bonifaci Puig i Cadafalch, purveyor of women’s underwear for North Africa (in Algeria his head was wanted), paid for her travel expenses and gave her the address of the rehearsal room, of which his son-in-law was the doorman.
The following spring, the band got their first performance contract. The event was a success. LOS SOBERANOS were born.
Shows in a boite downtown kept coming regularly. But Adrià received his dead grandfather’s barber shop in Madrid (if you get the chance, do not miss his spectacular haircut, a work of a professional hand and a constant care), and he moved to the capital. The band had lost its founder.
Recordings and performances kept coming, though. They surpassed the Barcelona borders, and played the morning sessions at Madrid’s Price. People from all places and conditions joined them in their ye-ye crusade.
January 17, 1966, a US Force B-52, carrying four hydrogen bombs, crashes against a KC135 plane whilst they were recharging the fuel deposit on air.
The two planes fall, along with the atomic weapons they were carrying.
Two bombs set on fire due to the little explosion following the crash, letting the radiactive plutonium spread over a wide zone of the city of Palomares in the southeast of Almeria, Spain.
In that very moment, LOS SOBERANOS are loading their instruments and equipment after having played the Rocamar hotel at the party celebrating the filming of the movie, “The good, the bad and the ugly”. An immense cloud of radioactive dust covers their van. They enter a space-time loop, and end up in Barcelona, thirty years later.
Somehow surprised by the sudden change, they decide to look for a venue where they can keep on doing what they can do better: to play.
After being rejected many times, they end up in Pepe’s.
Don Doménech, Pepe’s owner, thinks the band’s a pure diamond. They debut the next day, and the show is a success.
The crowd in the late 90’s enjoys their sixties covers. The modern society surrenders. They perform regularly, and soon they record their first demo tape, which gets to the hands of infamous radio host Juan de Pablos, who since then is one of the fiercest fans of the band. The publicity he does of the band through his show Flor de Pasión makes interest about the band spread quickly everywhere.
In 1999 they play the celebrations of Flor de Pasión’s 20th anniversary, and they appear on the CD released with the best moments from these concerts.
Still in 1997 they recorded a video for TV channel Barcelona TV (BTV). They play regularly all over Spain, including several summer festivals (Cutre ye-yé, Lemon Pop), they play support for El Chaval de la Peca and they play several times the Operación Bikini series of concerts in Madrid’s Sala Siroco.
LOS SOBERANOS is basically a live band, with a very specific stage presence: matching suits, Beatle boots and perfect haircuts, and the funny moods of their singer, who tells hilarious stories between songs.
Constant touring delays the launch of the band’s first single, until Elefant Records releases an EP in 2001. That same year they play at the festival organized by Spanish Bizarro magazine in Barcelona’s Apolo, featuring LOS HERMANOS CALATRAVA and Fernando Esteso, among others.
They never stop playing all over the country.
In 2004 they finally record their first long play, which comes out in the next year. “Maratón ye-yé” features fifteen cover versions from the most famous artists in Spanish and international pop music from the 60’s. Songs by Bruno Lomas, Juan y Junior, Rocío Dúrcal, LOS MUSTANG, Arthur Alexander, Caterina Caselli, etc…
Fifteen direct, simple songs, fresh and full of humour; fifteen songs that will appeal to all and any kinds of public, from the toughest of the rockers to the most respectable of the family mothers.
The record features as well a videoclip where LOS SOBERANOS perform “Yo no tengo a nadie”, originally by the great Raphael.
Surprise your guests who come to the next meeting at your house. Fill the bar appropriately, prepare some snacks, dress up for the party and don’t stop dancing with “Maratón Ye-yé”.
With LOS SOBERANOS we’re not talking about the return of the ye-ye sound, but it has been here with us all the time.
With great pleasure we introduce you to a new reference on the Autopop record label, a sublabel of Elefant Records that builds a bridge to help fellow bands who want to self-release their recordings taking advantage of our structure.
Many are the ensembles who try their take on the sound of modern grooves, but unfortunately very few really devote their time to find a refreshing and cheerful style. After a twelve-year uninterrupted career, LOS SOBERANOS, ultimate representatives of the party lifestyle, are still proud bearers of the flag of fun. For all these years, they’ve given heart and soul to cover other bands’ hits and to recover the cream of Sixties music. “¡Fiesta sin fin!”, their new album, brings a new step forward, including five infectious tunes of their own that will leave no one indifferent: “Guapa”, “Pero te quiero”, “Un hombre tranquilo”, “La, La, La” (not to be mistaken with the Eurovision tune by Massiel) and “Siroco”.
The rest of the songs in the record, nine dynamic covers, frankly showing off their complete lack of pretentiousness and how they love to mess about. We find LOS SOBERANOS taking Manolo Díaz for a few drinks (“Bibí”), daringly having their take on a ballad by the great Rafael Martos “Raphael” (“Estuve enamorado”), paying tribute to their beloved BRINCOS (“Pareces gitana”), plunging headlong into the waters with MICKY Y LOS TONYS (No sé nadar”), vindicating LOS PASOS (“Nací de pie”), reminding us of a forceful tune by LOS HURACANES (“El calcetín”), deciding on Italian tonalities (“Il paradiso” by Patty Pravo and “Si chiama Maria” by the essential Pino Donaggio) and crossing the Pond together with Venezuelan band LOS SUPERSÓNICOS (¿Por qué te vas?). From day one you will have a crush on this album, until you become yet another Soberano. Let’s all celebrate we enjoy such an amusing line-up in Spain, hoping they start a trend many others will follow. And the party goes on!
Discografía en Elefant:
ER-230 LOS SOBERANOS “Yo no tengo a nadie” Single 7" (February 2000)
AUTO-006 LOS SOBERANOS "Maratón ye-yé" CD (June 2005)
AUTO-008 LOS SOBERANOS "¡Fiesta sin fin!" CD (November 2008)
Discografía en otros sellos:
- “Vive la vida”, en Fórmula Independiente (CD Al·leluia / Polygram, 1997)
- “No es nada extraño”, en No Mundo (CD Spicnic, 1997)
Canciones en recopilatorios
- “El turista 1.999.999” y “Qué chica tan formal” (en directo), en 20 Años de Flor de Pasión (CD Siroco Records, 1999)
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