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A pop/rock band from Madrid, Spain, El Canto del Loco ("Song of the Madman") was started as a project by two acting students who shared a passion for Spanish power pop. Daniel Martín García (aka Dani Martín) and Iván Alejandro Ganchegui were soon joined by guitarist David Otero, drummer Alejandro Velázquez Insua (Jandro), and bassist José María Ruiz Casares (aka Chema Ruiz). After recording a demo and signing with BMG-Ariola, El Canto del Loco recorded a self-titled album produced by Alejo Stivel, featuring the band's first hit, "Pequeñita," and a cover of Camilo Sesto's "Vivir Asi Es Morir de Amor." Their second album, A Contracorriente, edited in March 2002 and produced by Nigel Walker (producer of La Oreja de Van Gogh, among others) sold over 85,000 copies and reached number ten on the Spanish sales chart. After this album, Ganchegui departed the band, resulting in a four-member lineup. Their third album, Estados de Ánimo, also produced by Nigel Walker, was released in 2003 and hit number four on the sales chart after selling more than 100,000 copies and going Platinum. En Directo Bikini 30-12-2003, a recording of a live set in Barcelona, was released in the beginning of 2004. The next year, El Canto del Loco released their fourth studio album, Zapatillas, featuring the title track as a single. This effort cemented the band's reputation; it reached the top of the sales chart after selling over 100,000 copies in the first week of its release. With this album, El Canto del Loco joined Hombres G for a tour around Spain. After the release of two more live sets, Pequeños Grandes Directos and Directo Desde la Sala Oasis; their fifth album, Personas, was released in April 2008 with great expectations, and its success was a sure sign that El Canto del Loco had become the most popular band of early 2000s Spanish pop. Later that year they played the inaugural Spanish edition of the Rock in Rio festival franchise, and re-released Personas in a special edition, entitled De Personas a Personas, with six extra tracks. In 2009 a documentary film about the band, also titled Personas, was released, and they produced two more albums: one, Radio La Colifata Presenta, was a live set recorded in Buenos Aires, while the other, Por Mi y por Todos Mis Compañeros, was a collection of covers of Spanish pop standards. The following year, however, the band broke up, its members wishing to pursue solo careers. Dani Martín released a solo album, Pequeño, while Chema Ruiz went on to form a new band, Belgrado, whose eponymous debut album came out in 2011. ~ Alfonso Goiriz & John D. Buchanan