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Radio Tarifa PDF
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 00:00

Whatever happened to Radio Tarifa?
No, not a radio station, but a unique band that emerged onto the world scene in the early 90s.  After nearly 20 years of touring throughout the world and the release of four albums, the group gave its farewell performance in Barcelona in November 2006.

A friend gifted me a copy of this band’s second album, Temporal, shortly after its release in 1997.  She hadn’t heard them play, but liked the cover!

Well, the cover was indeed good, but the music was even better. It was sensational! A fascinating and unique fusion of several styles, including Arab, Oriental, German Medieval, old Andalucian, Sephardic, Sanabrian, Flamenco and Andalucian Folk music and some themes composed by band members.

I checked them out and found they had released another CD, Rumba Argelina, in 1993.  So I bought that too!

During a tour of paradores in Extremadura in 2001, my wife, son and I discovered that Radio Tarifa were due to play in an International Music Festival in Plasencia, one of the places we were due to stay.

The festival was in the town square.  Radio Tarifa eventually came on stage shortly after 1.00 am.  Tom, 14 at the time, had long since gone to bed, but Mrs W and I persevered.

After a mesmerising first set, the band came and sat at tables amongst the audience. Inquisitive as ever, I approached the bass player, who had been introduced to the crowd as El InglésDavid Purdye, a Geordie, had only been hired as a stand-in the week before, when the group’s regular bass player fell ill.  Despite having no Spanish, he had fitted in perfectly, soon learned the repertoire and was having a whale of a time.  He was hoping to be kept on.

Two years later when we saw them play to a packed Bridgwater Hall in Manchester, David was still there and still having a whale of a time.

Another year later at the poorly attended Pyramid in Warrington, he was still there on stage thumping out the bass rhythm and still having a w.... 

And Tom, who’d missed them in Spain and Manchester, came with me and was more than impressed.

After that the group seemed to disappear under the radar after releasing only two further albums, Cruzando el Río (2001) and the live disc, Fiebre (2003).

Then, in 2006 came the news that they were to perform their final concert in Barcelona. “After 14 years of intense live shows, records, tiring trips, jokes, arguments and good feeling, we are taking a break for an indefinite period of time.”

They will be sorely missed, by this fan at least ...



The name RADIO TARIFA is an explicit reference to the type of musical wave that the group wanted its listeners to catch - Cape Tarifa is the point of Spain which is closest to Africa. According to the group : "Tarifa is a frontier town, a no-man´s land and, above all, the Mediterranean´s balcony". RADIO TARIFA´s world is one of Iberian musical styles - flamenco, Arab-Andalucian, medieval and Castillian - where unfolding melodies and an enriched rhythmic base permit continued dialogue between the percussive instruments, wood and string sections, and voice.



•    Rumba Argelina (1993)
•    Temporal (1997)
•    Cruzando El Rio (2001)
•    Fiebre (2003) (live at the 2002 Toronto Small World Music Festival)



•    Benjamín Escoriza - vocals
•    Fain Sánchez Dueñas - darbuka, plato, backing vocals
•    Vincent Molino - ney, crumhorn, poitou oboe


Guests (for live concerts)

•    Jaime Muela - flute, soprano saxophone
•    Pedro Esparza - soprano saxophone
•    Amir Haddad - oud, backing vocals
•    Wafir Sh. Gibril - accordion
•    Ramiro Amusategui - buzuki
•    Jorge Gómez - flamenco guitar, electric guitar
•    Sebastián Rubio - pandereta, bongos
•    David Purdye - electric bass, backing vocals
•    Peter Oteo - electric bass

©  Paul Whitelock


See also:

Buena Vista Social Club

Entrevista con Carlos Santana


If Wolves Could Speak ...

Tags: Radio Tarifa, Temporal, Rumba Argelina, paradores, Plasencia, El Inglés, David Purdye, Paul Whitelock, Bridgwater Hall, Pyramid, Warrington, Cruzando el Río, Fiebre,


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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