Sumo (band)

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Sumo
Segunda formación de Sumo en 1983.jpg
The second Sumo line-up in 1983:
Luca Prodan, Alejandro Sokol, Roberto Pettinato, Germán Daffunchio, Diego Arnedo.
Background information
Origin Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Genres Post-punk
Alternative rock
Reggae
New wave
Years active 1981–1988
Associated acts Los Violadores
Os Paralamas do Sucesso
Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota
Hurlingham Reggae Band
Members Luca Prodan (vocals)
Ricardo Mollo (Guitars)
Germán Daffunchio (Guitars)
Diego Arnedo (Bass and Keyboards)
Roberto Pettinato (Saxophone)
Alberto "Superman" Troglio (drums and Percussion)
Alejandro Sokol (vocals, Bass and drums)
Past members Stephanie Nuttal (drums)
Ricardo Curtet (Guitars)

Sumo was a 1980s Argentine alternative rock band, merging post-punk with reggae.[1] Headed by Italian-born Luca Prodan, it remained underground for most of its short activity, but was extremely influential in shaping contemporary Argentine rock.[2] Sumo introduced British post-punk to the Argentine scene, with many lyrics in English. And provided a visceral counterpoint to the progressive and nueva canción influences then dominant in Rock en Español.[2]

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Luca Prodan was born in Rome on 17 May 1953,[3] and he had not only Italian origins but Scottish as well.[3] He was born after the return of the Prodan family from China:[3] his father had set up a prosperous business in ancient Chinese pottery that became untenable after the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.[4]

In his youth, his parents sent him to the prestigious Gordonstoun College in Scotland; The same school where Prince Charles of England attended; Where he escaped a year before graduating. After that, he moved to London.[5]

He moved to London in the 1970s and worked at EMI.[6] While in London, he formed his first band, The New Clear Heads, which shared aesthetics with contemporary punk bands like XTC, The Fall, Joy Division (from which he named the first Sumo album after: Divididos por la Felicidad, Spanish for Divided By Joy) and Wire.[6]

After living in London and Manchester, hanging out with the members of Joy Division, Prodan accepted an invitation to visit a farm in the Traslasierra zone of Córdoba province to kick his heroin habit and relax (he was devastated by the death of Ian Curtis).[3] Arriving in 1981, he started composing and recording songs in a homemade studio. After some time, tired of the quiet life in the countryside, he took off to Buenos Aires (specifically to Hurlingham), looking forward to join its underground music scene.[3]

Luca in Argentina and early Sumo[edit]

First Sumo line-up, 1981: Alejandro Sokol, Ricardo Curtet, Germán Daffunchio, Stephanie Nuttal, Luca Prodan.

Argentina was under a repressive military dictatorship, and many music and performing-arts acts kept a low profile to avoid problems with police (Café Einstein in the Balvanera district was a favorite venue for such acts, as were some pubs in Olivos). Luca soon found musicians willing to join his reggae-rock vision.[7]

Sumo's initial formation was: Prodan on vocals and guitar, Germán Daffunchio on guitar, Alejandro Sokol on bass, and Stephanie Nuttal (an English friend of Luca's and former member of the band Manicured Noise) on drums.[7]

Luca Prodan during a show with Sumo in early 1980s.

The first incarnation of Sumo played mostly around Prodan's neighborhood of Hurlingham, Buenos Aires province, and in Café Einstein. Nuttal returned to England when the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur) started, so Sokol took on the drums, and Diego Arnedo joined on bass. Sax player (and later media star) Roberto Pettinato was a frequent guest; he later joined the band in full.[8]

Because they sang mostly in English, Sumo did not enjoy the extensive airplay given to Argentine bands in the wake of the war. Nevertheless, it became a pillar of the underground scene together with Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota and Los Violadores.

Sumo's music had different sides: hard-edged rock with an experimental touch, influenced by the sound of British post-punk acts (such as Joy Division or The Fall), funky post-punk guitars and strong dub-like bass lines (close to those of A Certain Ratio and Gang of Four), and a typically British brand of reggae and ska. After a halt due to Prodan's spending some time in Europe, the band committed fully to rock in 1984, and spun off the Hurlingham Reggae Band. Ricardo Mollo was added on guitar, and Alberto Superman Troglio replaced Sokol on drums, but he stayed in the band as vocalist, bassist (When he plays bass, Arnedo plays keyboards) and drummer (When he plays drums, Troglio plays percussion.

Success and consecration[edit]

Sumo in 1985 with its final line-up: (up): Luca Prodan, Germán Daffunchio, Alberto Troglio. (down): Roberto Pettinato, Diego Arnedo, Ricardo Mollo.

Sumo started achieving popularity in the mid-1980s, as Luca's in-your-face style was popular with teenagers, but he could also display a mellower streak. He would shout "fuck you" randomly, or sing a scathing song about dumb blondes, and immediately swoon about his appreciation for common men drinking ginebra at a bar.[9]

In the later releases, some Spanish language lyrics were added to the band's repertoire. Many of Luca's lyrics featured irony, wordplay, and references to drugs, dance parties, sex, and other aspects of young people's lives, while remaining aloof of the political and economic changes of the 1980s.

Sumo's history was linked to entrepreneur Omar Chabán, who was the owner of Café Einstein and then of Cemento, where Sumo played many times.

Due to his drinking and a very fast rock-and-roll lifestyle, Prodan's health deteriorated. He died of a heart attack on December 22, 1987, two days after their last show.[9] After Luca's death, the band dissolved, but its legacy was carried on by two bands, Divididos (led by Mollo and Arnedo) and Las Pelotas (Sokol and Daffunchio). Some of Sumo's outtakes, as well as their initial effort (Corpiños en la madrugada, originally sold in cassette format only) were released commercially, as well as two solo efforts by Prodan, recorded mostly between 1981 and 1983, were released after his death in 1987: "Time, Fate, Love" and "Beautiful Losers".[9]

Tributes to Sumo include a 1995 double disk, appropriately titled "Fuck You", in which Argentine musicians covered Sumo's songs.

On April 12 of 2007 surviving original band members reunited and played three songs: Crua Chan, Divididos por la Felicidad and DeBeDe during the "Quilmes Rock Festival" in River Plate Stadium: Alejandro Sokol (vocals), Ricardo Mollo (guitar), Germán Daffunchio (guitar), Diego Arnedo (bass), Alberto Superman Troglio (drums), Roberto Pettinato (sax) and Marcelo Rodríguez "Gillespi" as guest (trumpet).[10]

On January 12 of 2009, former vocalist, bassist and drummer, Alejandro Sokol, died.[11]

Band members[edit]

1981-1982[edit]

1982-1984[edit]

1984-1987[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • Corpiños en la madrugada (released as demo, 1983)
  • Divididos por la felicidad (1985)
  • Llegando los monos (1986)
  • After chabon (1987)
  • Fiebre (posthumous, 1989)

Compilations[edit]

  • The Collection (1991)
  • Greatest Hits (1991)
  • Corpiños en la madrugada (remastered release, 1992)
  • Obras Cumbres (2000)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Fan's page Retrieved January 28, 2017
  2. ^ a b Sumo en Rock.com.ar Consultado el Retrieved January 28, 2017
  3. ^ a b c d e Biografía de Luca Prodan Retrieved January 28, 2017
  4. ^ IMDb. "MIchela Prodan" (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 December 2016. 
  5. ^ IMDb. "Luca Prodan". Retrieved 26 December 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Juan Morris. "A 20 años de su muerte, el mito sigue vivo" (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 December 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Biografía de Sumo (spanish) Retrieved January 28, 2017
  8. ^ Pettinato, Roberto (2009). Sumo. Buenos Aires: Mondadori. p. ?. ISBN 978-987-658-033-5. 
  9. ^ a b c Jalil, Óscar. "Vida y muerte de Luca Prodan, un mito del rock nacional" (in Spanish). infobae.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  10. ^ Sumo emocionó Retrieved January 28, 2017
  11. ^ Noticia sobre la muerte de Alejandro Sokol Retrieved January 28, 2017

See also[edit]

External links[edit]