SANTANA — Festivál (review)

SANTANA — Festivál album cover Album · 1976 · Latin Rock/Soul Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
After an incredible stretch of excellent-to-sublime albums (bar the weaker Welcome), starting with their debut, Festival was the first album that I would call less progressive than all of its predecessors, Carlos’solo albums included. But is Festival weaker? Well it certainly appears so, but there are still some marvelous moments on this slice of wax. Graced with a rather bland artwork (snake in a rose?), the album is rather aptly titled as it implies many festive moods and celebrates happiness.

After the opening trilogy of very happy tracks Carnival/Children Play/Jugando, well-known to fans as those were present in the first parts of their concerts and are therefore part of Lotus and Moonflower, the album seems to be gliding on rather bland sort of sung-funk-jazz, such as the brassy Give Me Love or Reach Up, Try A Little Harder Now etc... interupted by much more intersting tracks: the wondeful and cosmic Spanish-inflected Verhao Vermelho (with its Portugues/Brazilian name) or the early-group-feeling Let The Music Set You Free or the Miriachi-inflected Caracoles.

Overall, sonically speaking we are on the way towards the much more succesful 76’s Amigos album, but this album is not essential in the group’s discography. But after having discovered their early gems, should you wish to extend your discovery of the group, this album would be welcome in a second or third wave of acquisition. While not indispensible, still worth the occasional spin.

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