Thursday, September 16

Isidoro and the Sevillian underground

In the beginning it was Smash, a group of hairy men formed in Seville in the late sixties. In their brief, but intense life, they combined psychedelia with flamenco and blues with progressive rock, thus originating what was the alternative tune of a city wrapped in the smell of Paschal wax of the liturgy.

Gonzalo García-Pelayo, Gualberto, Manuel Molina and Julio Matito were some of those involved in this genuine group influenced by the Californian underground and by the guitarist Diego del Gastór, in equal parts. For these things, the Smash would be pioneers of what was called Andalusian rock with groups like Triana, but also of flamenco rock with groups like Veneno or Pata Negra.

We will talk about Gonzalo García-Pelayo, Gualberto and Manuel Molina on another occasion, because today we will talk about Julio Matito, bassist, voice and ideologist of the Smash, whose story appears in a recently published book entitled “Rare Histories of the 20th Century “(Intellectual code), and which is signed by Eduardo Bravo, a popular culture activist who spends his life sinking the key and telling curious stories, the kind that geeks like me so much like. In the book of yore, Eduardo Bravo tells us a story so little known about the Smash that it seems fictitious; but we already know that the truth in life and the truth in literature were never identical, hence the confusion.

When the Smash group disbanded, Julio Matito set up a chiringuito in Chipiona where guys of all fur and condition passed to eat fried fish and have a few beers. One of those guys was a chubby lawyer with the lip of a snake charmer, a talkative and friendly boy who called himself Isidore and who, from underground, ran a political organization that was then outlawed. Yes, the PSOE.

According to Eduardo Bravo, this Isidoro “invited Julio to put his talent at the service of the workers’ struggle,” to which Julio Matito was delighted to agree. The result was the only solo album that Julio Matito recorded, a long-playing vinyl financed by the PSOE and recorded in hiding in the studio that Josele Moreno had improvised at home. Franco had just died and things were not enough to show off much.

The vinyl was pressed in Germany and some copies were distributed by the bajini in the Houses of the People. It was an album closer to the signature song than to the rock that the Smash marked, but the times called for another type of war. In this case, the music mattered less than the message, and the weight of the album was borne by the lyrics inspired by the poems of José Miranda de Sardi, the Chipionaire assassinated at the beginning of the Civil War by the fascist hordes.

As Eduardo Bravo recounts -and finishes off- in his chapter, with the passage of time Julio Matito will be disenchanted with the PSOE and institutional politics. He will change the Communist Manifesto to the Edge Manifesto, which was the original manifesto that gave rise to the Smash. But a traffic accident forever truncated the rebirth of the group. Julio Matito passed away at the age of 33. Today, only memory remains of the Smash; ashes from those embers that burned Seville when Spain dressed in charcoal gray and religious liturgy. That is why it is necessary to celebrate that guys like Eduardo Bravo bring to the present what has remained under the rubble of the misnamed Transition.

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