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Vainica Doble Taquicardia Vainica Doble Ilustración Carmen Santonja
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In 1984 the Spanish Movida movement was in full bloom and the people taking part in it professed the same devotion to Vainica Doble than British punk displayed towards teen idols such as Marc Bolan. But it would be hard to find a record from those years more impervious to the Movida than “Taquicardia”, the authors of which seemingly didn’t know about such admiration or didn’t care about it. Eternal dilettantes, it wasn’t strange that the career of Gloria van Aerssen (born in 1932 in Dos Hermanas, Seville) and Carmen Santonja (San Sebastian, 1934) moved forward, most of the time, due to the encouragement of a fan. But this “jump without safety net”, as Mario Pacheco described it, only could have happened on a label as pathologically respectful towards its artists as Pacheco’s Nuevos Medios imprint, and at a vital point such as the one the duo were going through during the middle of the decade. It was his enthusiasm which took them out of their silence to record their sixth album and the end of a cycle, as their later recordings would finally be an epilogue of what culminated here magnificently.

Elegant, classic, austere and, nevertheless, sounding at times like genuine avant-garde, “Taquicardia” is the reflection of a critical stage in the life of its authors. Disillusioned by the poor repercussion of their two previous albums for Guimbarda, the outstanding “El eslabón perdido” (1980) and “El tigre de Guadarrama” (1981), Gloria and Carmen had found themselves at the peak of mature age and empty-handed. One a sworn celibate, the other facing her marriage’s collapse, tired of a thousand moves and a thousand useless enterprises, the duo delivers here their most personal, introspective and bitter work, which surprisingly becomes, as if by magic, a superb collection of calls to chaos, libertarian fables and exultant love songs. Love which resembles a fantasy of desire and which until then had appeared chastely fabled, when not caricatured, due to the discretion they always showed.

We find passion that becomes idolatry, gallant coplas (Spanish popular songs) touched by grace, pieces of marital bitterness, all of which culminates in an anthem of incredible beauty such as ‘Sígueme’, clean, stripped, overwhelming. Gloria declared being so ashamed of the track’s almost pastoral tone that she refused being credited for it. (Later, by mistake, her name was deleted from the credits of ‘La funcionaria’.) Of course, it’s her voice which will make the song remain forever. A voice through which all tradition is channelled, through which a whole country can be heard.

Stripped off the glitz they had displayed in the preceding years, it’s harder to find here the source of popular and academic music which could usually be heard in their music. But that clarity allows us, more than ever, to enjoy the boldness of many of their song structures and, of course, their vocal harmonies. An array of elements where the presence of Gloria’s offspring is decisive: the compositions by Laura and Álvaro de Cárdenas are probably the most spine-chilling moments of the record.

Vainica Doble’s career offers an outcome of incalculable value for our music, comparable to any landmark of pop music in any language, of any period, anywhere. These two pieces of vinyl contain their most refined work.

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