Alaska (i Dinarama / Fangoria)
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13 June 1963

Alaska (born Olvido Gara Jova in Mexico City) is a Spanish singer, famous in Spain and Latin America. Her father was a Spaniard exiled during the Spanish Civil War and her mother a Cuban exiled by Castro. Some years before Francisco Franco died, her parents decided to move back to Spain.

Alaska was a big fan of Lou Reed, T-Rex, etc, but David Bowie was her biggest influence. She even told her mother that she would love to be a boy just to 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 (Madrid flea market) looking for band members, where she met Nacho Canut and Carlos Berlanga.

In 1977 she, 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 Pegamoides. In 1980 they released their first single "Horror en el hipermercado". Due to some artistic differences, Carlos Berlanga left Pegamoides in 1982. The farewell single was "Bailando". Together with with Nacho Canut and Alaska he formed Dinarama. In 1980, Alaska also appeared as Bom in the Pedro Almodóvar film "Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón".

In 1982 Alaska & Dinarama and the band released their first album in 1983 "Canciones profanas" under the name of Dinarama & Alaska. The band took the name of Alaska y Dinarama with their following album "Deseo carnal". The second single of the album "Un hombre de verdad" turned out to be their breakthrough hit. At the same time Alaska was asked to host and act in a children’s TV show called "La Bola de cristal" (The crystal ball). She did the show for four years untill 1988. The title song "Abracadabra" was a solo single of Alaska. Alaska y Dinarama became increasingly popular until the departure (again) of Berlanga in 1989.

Once Dinarama splits up, Nacho Canut and Alaska adopt the name of Fangoria. They released their first album "Salto mortal" with Hispavox, their record company since Pegamoides but after that they left the company. During the nineties Fangoria released a trilogy of albums but failed to reach the success they had in the eighties. It was in this period that Alaska openly became a gay icon and became very active supporting Madrid Gay Pride. Subterfuge, an indie company released Fangoria's next album: "Una temporada en el infierno". The new found fan following amongst the gay community and the new label gave Fangoria new energy. Una temporada sold better then they did in years. But is was the follow up album "Naturaleza muerta" that proved that Alaska and Fangoria were back. Some differences with Subterfuge forced Fangoria to leave. DRO (Warner) released their following album: "Arquitectura Efímera". This was followed by the 2006 album "El Extraño Viaje". In 2007 she appeared on the Miguel Bose project "Papito" where the did a new version of his eighties hit "Amante Bandido". In 2009 Alaska presents the shows around the Eurovision pre-selection. In 2013 they team up with four producers, Guille Milkyway of La Casa Azul; Sigue Sigue Sputnik; Florent and Banin of Los Planetas; and Jon Klein (Siouxsie & The Banshees) to create a set of four EP's compiled as 'Cuatricomia'.

On the web:

- Fangoria´s website: http://www.fangoria.es

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts

Donatella Rettore (Italy)

Colonia (Croatia)

Les Rita Mitsouko (France)

What do we think:

DB: Briljant act. Spanish electro pop at its best. Alaska as flamboyant eye catcher is enough to gave any stage act the right push. And who cares if she hasn’t the best singing voice in the world. When a person like this gets her act together there’s no stopping. She amazed the audience in the USA who couldn’t believe a singer build like a tank, with a voice makes walls crumble and flaming orange hair could be so popular. Alaska has the dominance of the old Flamenco dancers and the synth beats to whip up the crowd. And the gay icon thing…helloooo…one good look at the cover of Deseo Carnal should be enough.

PR: Cher meets Catherine Ringer from Les Rita Mitsouko... Crazy, creative and very, very expressive. The songs are catchy, the voice hard and deep, and the image is very cautiously built. Perfect material for (gay) disco's in Madrid and Barcelona. If this music does not make you wanna dance...

Recommended albums:

♪♪ - Grandes éxitos (Alaska y los Pegamoides) - 1982

? - Canciones profanas (Alaska y Dinarama) - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - Deseo carnal (Alaska y Dinarama) - 1984

♪♪ - No es pecado (Alaska y Dinarama) - 1986

♪♪♪ - Fan fatal (Alaska y Dinarama) - 1989

  ? - Una temporada en el infierno (Fangoria) - 1999

? - Naturaleza muerta (Fangoria) - 2001

♪♪♪ - Arquitectura efímera (Fangoria) - 2004

? - El extraño viaje (Fangoria) - 2006

♪♪♪ - Absolutamente - 2009

♪♪♪½ - Cuatricomia - 2013

- Canciones para robots románticos - 2016

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided