Radio Tarifa Biography

This roots ensemble was formed in Madrid, Spain, in 1992, by Rafael ‘Fain’ Sánchez Dueñas (12 November 1951, Spain; percussion), Benjamín Escoriza (b. 20 December 1953, Spain; vocals) and Vincent Molino Cook (b. 1 October 1958, France; flute). Dueñas and Cook had been playing a mixture of flamenco, Arabic and medieval music as Ars Antiqua Musicalis since the early 80s. Following a trip to Morocco, Radio Tarifa was formed to explore further these Spanish and North African musical styles. The trio recorded Rumba Argelina, in Dueñas’ one-track home studio, overdubbing a diverse range of instruments, including Spanish guitar, bagpipes, bazouki accordion and Arabic flute, to obtain a truly multicultural sound. Intended as a document of the trio’s musical research and explorations, Rumba Argelina was released on the tiny local Sin Fin label in 1993, by which time Dueñas had moved to Germany to work as a architect (all three members of the band still had day jobs at this point). On his return to Spain a year later, Dueñas put together the full eight-piece line-up of Radio Tarifa to perform live concerts following much interest in the album’s haunting and understated sound. Rumba Argelina was released internationally in 1996 following a demand created by the enthusiasm of world music writers and DJs. The band, comprising Sebastian Rubio Caballero (b. 26 January 1964, Spain; percussion), Juan Ramiro Amusategui Prado (b. 26 July 1963, Spain; guitars), Pedro Pablo Oteo Aguilar (b. 18 March 1966, Spain; bass), El Wafir Shaikheldin Gibril (b. 4 April 1964, Sudan; percussion), and Jaime Muela Quesada (b. 3 February 1957, Spain; flute/saxophone), toured across Europe and Japan in the same year to promote the album. Their live concerts featured a flamenco dancer performing with the band. Their sound was fuller and livelier than on their debut album and this was reflected in Temporal, the follow-up, which took the basic formula of Rumba Argelina a stage further by adding Sephardic Jewish and seventh-century French music to the Spanish-Arabic fusion. Following a tour to promote Temporal, Gibril left the band in December 1997 and was replaced by Eduardo Laguillo Menendez.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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