Alaska (singer)

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Alaska
Alaska (2016) (30609549320).jpg
Alaska in 2016
Born
Olvido Gara Jova

(1963-06-13) June 13, 1963 (age 55)
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actress
  • disc jockey
  • businesswoman
Years active1977–present
Home townMadrid, Spain
Spouse(s)Mario Vaquerizo (1999 and 2011-present)
Parent(s)América Jova Godoy
Manuel Gara López
Musical career
Genres
Labels

María Olvido Gara Jova (born June 13, 1963) better known as Alaska is a Spanish-Mexican singer, DJ, and television personality famous in Spain and Latin America. She was one of the founding members of the La Movida Madrileña, the cultural and artistic movement that followed the end of Francoist Spain. This movement, in which music, the arts, cinema and fashion erupted and collided to show what Spain had become under Franco. She has participated, since the late 1970s, in several music groups: Kaka de Luxe 1977, Alaska y los Pegamoides 1980, Alaska y Dinarama 1983, and since 1989, the Spanish electropop band, Fangoria. Today, Alaska continues to perform and has become an icon of 1980s Spain.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Alaska was born in Mexico City, Mexico on June 13, 1963. Her father, from Asturias, Spain, was in Mexico living in exile during the Spanish Civil War along with her Cuban mother, who also living in Mexico in exile from Castro. In 1973, a few years before caudillo Francisco Franco died, her parents decided to move to Spain, settling in Madrid.

Alaska was a big fan of artists such as Lou Reed or T-Rex, but David Bowie was her biggest influence. She even told her mother that she would love to be a boy just so she could be gay. The birth of punk also had a big influence on the young Alaska, who soon decided to form a band. She went to El Rastro, a famous flea market in Madrid, looking for band members, where she met Nacho Canut and Carlos Berlanga.

1970s and 1980s[edit]

Alaska performing in Madrid, Spain

In 1977, Alaska along with Fernando Márquez, Nacho Canut, Carlos Berlanga and Enrique Sierra, among others, formed the band Kaka de Luxe, one of the first Spanish punk rock bands. Alaska played the bass guitar. In 1979, Gara, Canut, Berlanga, Ana Curra and Eduardo Benavente formed the band Alaska y los Pegamoides. Alaska was lead singer for the first time with the group "Pegamoides". They took the name as a tribute to one of the bands they admired: Siouxsie and the Banshees. Due to some artistic differences, Carlos Berlanga left "Pegamoides", and with Nacho Canut they formed "Dinarama". At this time, Eduardo Benavente and Ana Curra were involved in Parálisis Permanente, one of the first goth bands in Spain. A few months after Carlos Berlanga left the band, "Pegamoides" split up. In 1982, Alaska joined "Dinarama" and the band released their first album in 1983 titled Canciones Profanas under the name Dinarama + Alaska. The band decided to use the name "Alaska y Dinarama" in their following album, Deseo carnal, and they kept the name until 1989. In 1989, Carlos Berlanga left "Alaska y Dinarama" in the middle of their tour of their last album Fan Fatal where all songs are tribute to the bands they loved and admired over the years: Ramones, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode, Aviador Dro, Parálisis Permanente, etc.

When "Alaska y Dinarama" split up, Nacho Canut and Alaska decide to call themselves "Fangoria". They changed their music style to electronic pop, in the style of Pet Shop Boys. They released their first album Salto Mortal with Hispavox, their record company since forming "Pegamoides". After that they left the company and released a trilogy with different independent companies: Un día cualquiera en Vulcano I, Un día cualquiera en Vulcano II and Un día cualquiera en Vulcano III. They did not play many concerts. It was during this period that Alaska became an icon for the LGBT community and became very active supporting Madrid Gay Pride.

Subterfuge, an important indie company released Fangoria's next album: Una Temporada en el Infierno, considered by some to be a masterpiece of electronic music. Fangoria started selling loads of CDs and the band became very popular. Another album with Subterfuge, Naturaleza muerta proved that Fangoria was an amazing electronic band and that Alaska was a fantastic performer. Some creative differences with Subterfuge forced Fangoria to leave its new recording label. In 2004, DRO (Warner) released their next album: Arquitectura Efímera.

In the late 1980s, Alaska was the host a Spanish children's show on Televisión Española called La Bola de Cristal.

21st Century[edit]

In 2006, Fangoria visited Mexico to promote their new album El Extraño Viaje. Alaska appeared on two sketches of Telehit's Desde Gayola (a Mexican parody show). In the first sketch, she appeared as herself in an interview with Tesorito, in the second one, she played the character of Galaxia (a DJ) with Supermana, Chef Ornica & Manigüis.

Since 2011, she starred as herself in the MTV Spain reality program Alaska y Mario, alongside her husband/manager Mario Vaquerizo.

Collaborations with other artists[edit]

In 1980, Alaska appeared as Bom in the Pedro Almodóvar film Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón. She has also had cameo roles in films like Airbag, Más que amor, frenesí, etc.

Alaska has collaborated on the soundtracks of The Killer Tongue (La Lengua Asesina) with Robert Englund, The Bear Cub (Cachorro), Bandid Lover (Amante Bandido) in Miguel Bosé's Papito (2007), etc.

Reception[edit]

American academic and social critic, Camille Paglia, discovered Fangoria's music video "El Cementerio De Mis Sueños" ("The Cemetery of My Dreams") thanks to a reader of her column on www.salon.com, and had the following to say about Alaska in her column dated January 10, 2008:[1]

Discography[edit]

Kaka de Luxe[edit]

  • Kaka de Luxe (1978)
  • Kaka de Luxe/Paraíso (1982)
  • Las canciones malditas (1983)

Alaska y Los Pegamoides[edit]

  • Grandes Éxitos (1982)
  • Alaska y Los Pegamoides (1982)
  • Llegando hasta el final (1982)
  • Mundo Idómito (1998)

Alaska y Dinarama[edit]

  • Canciones Profanas (1983)
  • Deseo carnal (1984)
  • No es pecado (1986)
  • Diez (1988)
  • Fan fatal (1989)

Fangoria[edit]

  • Salto mortal (1991)
  • Interferencias (1998)
  • Una temporada en el infierno (1999)
  • Naturaleza muerta (2001)
  • Arquitectura efímera (2004)
  • El extraño viaje (2006)
  • Absolutamente (2009)
  • El paso transcendental del vodevil a la astracanada (2010)
  • Cuatricromía (2012)
  • Canciones para robots romanticos (2016)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paglia, Camille. "Hillary without tears". Salon. Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2012-03-31.