Garibaldi – “Garibaldi” (1989)

Garibaldi is one of those artists that could or could not fall within the genre of pop en español, depending on your definition of the group as a whole and I knew this article would have to come one day or another and well… I have the time to write it, so while this article will be a semi-review of the first debut album of the group, it will also discuss my love for a group that goes against everything I don’t like in Latin music. I was originally going to title this blog post, “Garibaldi: An Unexplainable Obsession”, but decided against it.  For those of you who do not know who Garibaldi is… here is a little recap.

Garibaldi made their original debut in 1989 on Siempre En Domingo and all existence of the group began in 1989 in spite of having a 1988 copyright on their album (I will get into that later). When the group came out, they had taken traditional Mexican folk songs and traditional Mexican folk dress and made it hip, though the music is still very traditional. That was the whole plan for Garibaldi. They were young, beautiful models who were to bring traditional songs from around the world to a new generation. And they did. My wife still questions when I can sing some random song at a Mexican restaurant and all I have to do is mention the word Garibaldi and she understands how I would know the songs. I don’t care for mariachi music, or nortenos, and anything that resembles traditional folk music from these Latin American countries. But I love Garibaldi.

I laugh at whoever wrote the Wikipedia page on Garibaldi. There was never any controversy over how the group dressed. Garibaldi’s wardrobe was never a fashion statement for a new generation, but there definitely was not controversy either. I was there from day one of Garibaldi’s career and for the group’s first four years, I lived and breathed everything Garibaldi…Hence my love for Patricia Manterola. Over the years and still, to this day, I have collected almost every piece of music for Garibaldi (up until 1994) and Patricia Manterola, as you can see this is my collection for just the debut album of Garibaldi.

After Garibaldi had released a few albums, there was talk in Mexico’s tabloids that the members of Garibaldi could not sing and that the first album was recorded by other members of the group and not the member’s we saw on stage. It was like a Milli Vanilli debate on Mexico and to this date, I believe that the tabloids have it half correct. The album was originally released in 1988 and produced by Carlos Gomez. For the most part, the voices on this album are the same as the original debut of Garibaldi, which was released in 1989 as we know them; but there are certain spots and various solo parts that seem to have been rerecorded. Not that the voices changed drastically, but significantly in some spots that could reflect a different person recorded them. And who these voices are, I still have no idea but the album cover does picture four people. Don’t know if these were the “members” or vocalist, or just random Mexican is traditional clothes.

Within the solo parts of both the original and the Garibaldi debut album, I can’t confirm nor deny that the voices are one of the eight members of Garibaldi. Here lies my issue. If you listen to a future album or live concerts of the group, the voices don’t match who is supposed to be singing. For example, in the song “Cuate”, Victor Noriega is supposed to be one of the first soloists that we hear. If you try to match that voice to Victor live or even Victor in future albums, it’s not Victor. Same with Patty and Carly. Carly had the weakest voice out of all the male members and needed help during a live show with Javier singing back up while Charly steps out in front view with his solo. Yet, I am supposed to believe that the member singing Charlie’s part in the last part of  “Cuate”, where the male voice is strong of prominent?

It is possible that those voices are of Patty, Luisa, Katia, Angel, Charly, Victor, Sergio, and Javier and that the studio did a magical job of making them sound extremely different than future albums but when I believe Garibaldi actually begin singing their own music was on the next album, “Que Te La Pongo”, the harmonies of the eight members sound so very different and so do the solo voices. You can actually hear Patty’s voice singing a rendition of Miami Sound Machine, “Congo”. And it is Patty’s voice. I don’t hear Patty in the so-called solo part of the debut album. Anyone with a musical ear can tell that the voices from this album and the voices from “Que Te La Pongo” and “Los Hijos De Buda” are not the same people.

So, why am I so in love with Garibaldi as a whole? I don’t even know if I can begin to understand why I can love a group who pretty much sings salsas, and bachatas; and when it comes to bachata as a whole, I loathe it. Maybe it is the people who I feel in love with more. Maybe I was in love with the members of the group so much at that time in my life that they became a happy memory for me. Is the music good? It depends on who you ask.

Are they Pop En Español? Everyone who has had a hand in the group has placed them in the pop category and they were considered a pop group. They never fell on a chart that wasn’t pop. Garibaldi was never played on the mariachi or ranchero stations. They were lumped into a category that featured Alejandra Guzman, Timbiriche, and Microchips. So, yes…Garibaldi is a pop group from Mexico who didn’t really sing pop songs, except for a few pop winners like “Que Te La Pongo” and “Gritos De Guerra”.

There isn’t much more to say about the album as a whole other than explaining that the album features four medleys of 8-12 minutes long of traditional Mexican folk songs that have been given a more modern feel. The country grew up listening to mariachi bands singing these songs, so when the album was released the audience already knew the music, which allowed the group to have a pretty well-accepted album. The group had a big success in Spain too who loved the Mexican influences these eight young singers and dancers presented. With these four songs, the group was able to make a name for themselves and rose to great fame very fast, which says a lot for the young people to enjoy the traditional songs of their grandparents.

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