Alfonso Lovo - La Gigantona. 1976 Nicaragua (archival)

Hailing from Nicaragua, Alfonso Lovo has quite a story to tell. In 1971, on the way back home from college in the US, his flight was hijacked. Being a member of the privileged class, specifically the son of the Minister of Agriculture, he became the terrorist's primary target. So when a defiant Costa Rican president comes to their diverted landing place - brandishing an automatic weapon no less - the situation escalated and they shot Lovo.

Fortunately he survived the incident, but not without permanent damage. He attempted to make it work in Nicaragua, but the situation continued to deteriorate, and he had to smuggle himself and his family across to Honduras, and eventually they finally settled in Miami. With a tape reel of La Gigantona in hand. Recorded in 1976, but with no place to press and release, it appeared the album would be lost forever. Until the enterprising Numero Group label shows up in 2012 and releases it on both LP and CD, some 35 years after the fact.

The backdrop is more exciting than the music proper, but nonetheless the album achieved immediate cult status upon release. It's easy to see why, given the eclectic nature of the recording. There's a wide array of sounds to be found on La Gigantona, including Andean folk music, indigenous percussion, salsa, experimental, jazz - and psychedelic hard rock. It's this latter element that drew me to the album in the first place, but it's somewhat limited. But tracks like 'La Bomba de Neutron' with its crazy echoed voice, and the piercing fuzz of 'Firebird Feathers', do make the album a worthy endeavor for underground prog/psych heads. Overall, it sounds more like a recording from the hijacking year of 1971, given its raw emotion and sound, verse the expected fusion of 1976. And that's a good thing.

Personal collection
CD: 2012 Numero Group (USA)

Jewel case housed in a slipcase. Copious liner notes that go into great detail regarding what I summarized above.

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