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Medina Azahara

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Spanish group Medina Azahara was formed in 1979 by singer Manuel Martinez, guitarist Miguel Galan, drummer José Antonio Molina, bassist Manuel Molina, and keyboardist Pablo Rabadan. That same year, the band signed with CBS, issuing a self-titled album produced by Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo that featured their first hit, a song called "Paseando por la Mezquita." That album was followed by 1980's La Esquina del Viento and 1982's Andalucia. Around that time, the band started being mentioned as one of the major parts of a local movement known as Rock Andaluz. Before issuing 1995's Caravana Espanola, Pablo Rabadan left the act, replaced by keyboardist Antonio Fernandez. When the group moved from CBS-Sony Records Limited to the independent Avispa S.L., En Al-Hakim was made. A 1990 live performance was recorded and released as En Directo. The 1992 studio follow-up Sin Tiempo became the band's breakthrough, yielding two hit singles, and the band went on to release a slew of successful records throughout the next two decades. Two of the most interesting were 1998's Tanger, which saw them collaborating with North African musicians, and 2003's Aixa, which featured the Córdoba Symphony Orchestra and won them two awards -- for best album and best song -- at the seventh annual Premios de la Música Aragonesa awards. Medina Azahara underwent considerable lineup changes over the years, but Manuel Martinez continued to front the band, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009 and released its 17th studio album, La Memoria Perdida, in 2012. ~ Drago Bonacich & John D. Buchanan

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