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La Banda Trapera del Río La Banda Trapera del Río
  • La Banda Trapera del Río (lp)-1 La Banda Trapera del Río (lp)-2
    LP MR-SSS 17
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They appeared as froth at the mouth, puked into the nothingness, out of the nothingness. Cornellá, a satellite town in the outskirts of Barcelona, a depot for immigrants abandoned to its own rotten luck. Spain, a country that'd been in the dark for 40 years, then pushed to make a quick move if it wanted to join the capitalist orbit. La Banda Trapera del Río emulsified by surprise within such confused context, with devastating certainty and precise aim. Their uniqueness was their ability to naturally present a social critique of the two realities they belonged to, without any other mirror than their own reflection. "Nobody is nothing," they said, "we are everything."

Their conscience was exposed to working class militance and they were musically anointed in the hard rock that was blasted in bars and discos at the time, but La Trapera possessed their own will. Arrogant, provocative, disobedient, they provided a mythical and poetic credibility to the plain character of the outskirts juvenile delinquent. Through their music La Trapera forged a new archetype: the curriqui, ie the little thief that lives precariously, an expert in other people's car radio cassette. With hash, a Xibeca beer and proletarian cheekiness, unafraid to speak their mind, with nothing to lose, they didn't give the curriqui a revolutionary voice, but they gave him something to think about.

La Trapera only wanted to have as much fun as possible. If they wanted to change anything, it was the collective perception of a rock scene that, in their eyes, had become complacent. In order to do that, they had their singer Morfi Grei's shocking stage immolation, Raf Pulido's naturalist lyrics and the inspired guitar of Tío Modes, without forgetting about the enthusiasm of their manager, Chiri, and the contacts of Carlos Carrero. The latter was one of the few receptive and independent journalists of the local press, and acted as a Svengali who, among other things, got them a contract with Belter, the Mecca of Spanish popular music, the only record label that gave them a chance, without knowing the risks they were taking.

Produced by Carrero, and the origin of a stir in stuffy circles, their first single, a daring call for menstrual normalization, appeared in the same period that produced the debuts of Madrid's Burning and Ramoncín & WC, originators of the cheli sound. Although they came out the losers out of those three bands in the commercial sense, La Trapera were winners in the legend stakes. Their first LP was released a year after it was recorded. Just five hundred copies reached the record shops. With the band split up, leaving an unissued second album, that first LP was an isolated statement which captured all the mystery they left behind. Successive generations got to know the band through the oral transmission of the trace left by their seminal gigs. Many would see the light thanks to the countless bootleg tapes of their LP that spread around the street markets of Madrid and all over Spain.

Apart from their live energy, the essence of La Trapera is preserved intact in an unsatisfactory record for its authors, but nevertheless extraordinary in many ways. A frantic collusion of blues rock, hard rock, prog and proto-punk, its eclecticism is still surprising, charting the path of a precocious evolution that would take shape in their best and most remembered songs. Although they reformed years later, never again would La Trapera be as immediate and universal, nor would they enjoy a more fertile balance between chemistry and skills.

Jaime Gonzalo

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