|Country Of origin:||Argentina|
Manal were a Buenos Aries-based power trio similar to Almendra but with a grittier blues-rock approach. They are almost universally considered to be the creators of Argentine rock, and are also often credited as the first Argentine group to sing blues in Spanish.
Formed in 1968 around the scene at the famed La Cueva club, the original trio included guitarist Claudio Gabis, Javier Martínez on drums and vocals, and Alejandro Medina on bass and vocals. Martínez was their lead vocalist and principal songwriter. Heavily influenced by the British scene at the time, they followed in the footsteps of English beat groups like The Beatles and the Animals, but also soaked up the loud, blues-based hard rock being created by Cream, and American Jimi Hendrix. They recorded a slew of demos, all of which were rejected by numerous record labels. Undaunted, they approached producer (and campadre) Jorge Alvarez. Compelled by Manal's live sound, he teamed up with Pedro Pujó to found the legendary Mandioca label, which they dedicated to releasing Argentinian-born rock in general and fostering and releasing Manal's recordings in particular.
The young label issued Manal's first two singles in '68 ("Qué Pena Me Das" and '69 ("No Pibe" b/w "Necesito Un Amor") respectively. Buoyed by their near-constant live presence at festivals and in clubs, prompted the issue of their self-titled debut longplayer in 1970 and a lead single in "Jugo De Tomate." The recordings were not only well-received by club and concert goers, thewy were rewarded with massive radio play, drawing the attention of RCA who signed the band. In 1971, Manal released El León, but reception was nowhere near as positive. Ironically, despite better distribution, the label put little money into promotion and the recording, much more polished in production than Manal's predecessors, was not nearly as well received. While they still played live nearly constantly, there were tensions within the ranks. When they entered the studio to cut their third long player, it became obvious to RCA that the rock and roll sound had evolved; it became softer and more introspective as it melded folk with rock. While the recording was reportedly completed, it was never released; combined with growing friction within the trio, the band ended up splitting. Medina and Gabis went on to join the rotating cast of producer Billy Bond's supergroup la Pesada. In 1981 Manal reunited briefly and cut one more studio offering entitled Reunion and embarked on a series of well attended concerts. the old animosity between Gabis and Martinez reared its ugly head again and the band split the same year. Despite this, they remianed on the radio and their albums were repressed due to playing concerts. A live document of that tour titled Manal en Obras was released in 1982.
In 1987, Martinez reformed Manal again, this time as a quintet without any other original members. This incarnation reconvened somewhat regularly for tours. They issued two-mid-nineties live sets in Manal En Vivo ('94) and En Vivo en el Roxy ('95) before splitting again. Despite the paucity of recorded material, the influence of Manal is in the history books of Argentine rock is indelible. ~ Thom Jurek~ Rovi