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The Ear… a Cut Above 2006-07-08

Posted by clype in Humanities.
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GuapaBy now, many people are aware that La Oreja de Van Gogh translates as ‘Van Gogh’s Ear’. But not everyone may realise that the Spanish quintet has become one of Latin music’s most popular acts, selling more than 5 million albums worldwide.

The group’s most recent album, ‘Guapa’ has surpassed global sales of 600 000 since its release in 2006-05, according to Sony BMG. In Spain, where ‘La Oreja’ is in the midst of a 50-city tour, the album has spent eight weeks at No. 1.

  • Despite such success, the members of ‘La Oreja’ — singer Ms.Amaia Montero, keyboardist Mr.Xabi San Martin, guitarist Mr.Pablo Benegas, bassist Mr.Alvaro Fuentes and drummer Mr.Haritz Garde — retain the look and attitude of unassuming university students who just happen to have a pop band.

Indeed, the five met as students, forming the band in 1996. Today they are stars, but they are still not into glam. A recent weekday morning in Miami found them walking 10 blocks from a meeting to their hotel rather than waiting for a company car.

Xabi San Martin
‘We feel a little strange in this showbiz world,’ Mr.San Martin says.

‘We were college friends who did this because we loved it. And suddenly, we see ourselves in this dynamic of making albums. We try to conserve a bit of cynicism and sarcasm so that we don’t start to believe all of it.’

The band members say they have little concern about fame or industry honours. They have declined to be the face or provide the music for an advertising campaign — although the band has paired up with brands for its tours. The current ‘Guapa Tour 2006 Seat’ is named after the new ‘Ibiza Seat’ automobile.

The secret of ‘La Oreja’s’ success can be found in the basics: original songs that connect with an audience. It’s clever material with clever arrangements, yet easy to sing.

The band had immediate success in Spain with its first album, 1998’s ‘Dile al Sol.’ But sales outside its home market arrived only with the ensuing ‘El Viaje de Copperpot’ in 2000, which ‘La Oreja’ promoted heavily in Mexico. That served as a trampoline for a strong U.S. American entry. The band’s first album to hit ‘Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart’ was its third, 2003’s ‘Lo Que Te Conte Mientras Te Hacias La Dormida,’ which has sold close to 250 000 copies in the United States of America, according to ‘Nielsen SoundScan‘.

The members of ‘La Oreja’ say ‘Guapa,’ which loosely translates to ‘good looking’ and features lush, complex arrangements, represents their current, satisfied state of mind.

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