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Laghonia - Etcetera (1971)

Laghonia to jeden z najważniejszych przedstawicieli peruwiańskiego rocka psychodelicznego. Zespoł powstał w Limie w 1965 roku, początkowo działał pod nazwą The New Juggler Sound by wraz z wydaniem pierwszego albumu zmienić nazwę na Laghonia. Nagrali jedynie dwie płyty, najpierw "Glue" w 1969 roku pod wyraźnym wpływem rocka brytyjskiego lat 60-tych, a następnie kończący działalność grupy album "Etcetera" w 1971 roku, na którym słychac już delikatne eksperymenty w łączeniu psychodelii z rockiem progresywnym.

Few countries in South America had such a fertile Psychedelia/Progressive scenario as Perú with great quality bands like the legendary Traffic Sound ("Mescalina"), Telegraph Avenue or El Polen, but all this groups had something in common, they all gathered to watch Laghonia in concert, not only to listen the only band in Perú and probably the first in South America that used a Hammond B2 back in the 60's, plus the obvious interest on the polyrhythmic songs they used to play.

The band was born on 1965 in the mind of brothers Cornejo (Saul on guitar, Manuel on drums) and Eddy Zaraus (Who made his own bass which he used all along his career in Laghonia).

Cornejo Brothers were very much into Classical music especially Tchaikovski, but it's not until they discover The Beatles that decided to form a Rock band, blending the previously mentioned influences with The Yardbirds, The Zombies (With their peculiar Baroque Rock), The Animals among others and later some clear Santana guitar riffs.

But they needed an extra guitar player (Power trios were not popular back in 65) and recruited Alberto Miller and a percussionist named Alex Abad, and they choose the name as The New Jugglers Sound inspired in the British rock invasion.

During the next three years they appear on TV shows, radio programs and even in schools, while writing almost 100 songs.

In 1968 Alberto Miller leaves the band and the rest of the members quickly notice that the musical scenario was rapidly changing, the British invasion was left behind by the USA and British Psychedelia so they start replacing their name for Laghonia (A play of words that sounds like The Agony -La Agonia- but with an extra h in the middle to join the words, the exact date of this change of name is lost in the mist of time, some say in 1968 others say in 1969).

They started the search of a new guitar player and one day Eddy Zaraus was walking on a park in a small city at the north and listens a kid who had moved from USA to Lima at the age of 16 named David Levene who was on a backpack hitchhiking trip through Perú.

The North American kid was sitting on a bench while playing his guitar, so an impressed Eddy asks this guy if he plays in a band and invites him for an audition, the rest of the band is delighted with his playing that combines Blues and Psychedelia creating a very pleasant atmosphere, so they recruit him.

In 1969 they record a song named "Glue" (in reference to a drug that Saul had read about) and for the B side "Billy Morsa" (Billy Walrus). But there was something missing, if the band wanted to keep on with the changes, they needed a keyboardist and they find Carlos Salom, who was playing Brazilian Jazz.

Due to this influence they release their first hitsingle "Bahia" (The guys were looking at a Brazilian calendar and all liked the girl that represented the city of Bahia), During their tours, they traveled in an old 55 Oldsmobile except Carlos Salom who traveled in a moving truck sitting on the Hammond B2 because he was terrified anybody could make a single scratch on it.

Their two LP's "Glue" and "Etcetera" are recorded almost on the run because on those days in Lima the studios were not the most advanced plus very expensive. It's important to notice that a great part of their material is based on personal experiences, for example, Lima is a city where never rains but one Monday night there was a heavy and absolutely unusual rain, so Samuel and Saul wrote Everybody on Monday, another day they were talking about life after death and immediately got the idea for Someday, which IMO is a masterpiece.

While recording their last album Etcetera, Eddy and Alex left the band in order to make a spiritual journey. So Manuel, Saul, Carlos and David finished the album, but soon after the band broke, but not without leaving behind a great musical legacy that proved they were probably the Peruvian band of the 60's that was closer (if not part) of Progressive Rock genre.

Cornejo brothers and Carlos Salom later formed We All Together, more oriented towards the lighter side of the Beatles (Paul McCartney and The Wings) music, but that's another story.

Just found that Laghonia has recently released new album with rare versions and previously unreleased material named "Unglue", which I believe it's worth buying. (Iván Melgar Morey)

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