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Silvio, Rock and Roll and the light of spring

Writing about Silvio is very difficult for me. What can I say about a figure who borders on legend and whose records have become an object of worship? What to comment on this extravagant rock myth?

Silvio Fernández Melgarejo, born in La Roda de Andalucía (Seville) in 1945, represents that small group of Spaniards who, in the midst of the Franco age, had the privilege of knowing the first Rock and Roll themes thanks to the radio stations from the North American bases.

Excited by these sounds, he would very early go from the drum of the processional march to the drum rhythms of his early bands. Silvio was part of that Seville that, in an extremely conservative city, lived in the moment and created such imaginative alternatives as the band Smash.

Protagonist of an arid biography that bears a striking similarity to any bluesman or Rock singer from deep America, it was when he was thirty that Pive Amador crossed his path and encouraged him to switch the drumsticks for the microphone. A proposition that culminated with Silvio and Luzbel’s first album, Al este del edén (1980), a title which reflected their connection with the process of Andalusian autonomy.

A little bit later, during the 1980s, he tried to take the leap to Madrid. Influenced by La Movida (The Madrid Scene), a second album appeared: Barra libre (1984), in which he would present songs such as La Ragazza, made in the Italian way and executed with the surrealist wittiness that only men of the world can display.

Despite amassing a legion of followers of his same underground style, Silvio returned to Seville, to his usual bars and to recordings with Sacramento, the band that accompanied him in his maturity. Together they conceived Fantasía occidental (1988) and En misa y repicando (1990), both albums full of catchy hymns which preceded the last one of his career, this time with Los Diplomáticos: A color, to África from Manchester (1999).

Beyond the crazy character full of excesses that some people wanted to see without taking his music into consideration, Silvio’s true geniality was always in his concerts. He shone on stage, accompanied by his loyal bands that never let him slip not even once.

Upon his death, in 2001 at the age of 56, a brief but heartfelt farewell put an end to an existence of constant hangover which nonetheless knew how to find lucidity.

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