Cumbia pegassera is a very popular and distinctive style in cumbia is what is denoted or tagged as "estilo Pegasso", Spanish for "Pegasso-style". According to Federico Estevan, "owner and founder" of the original band in Cerralvo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico(LIC. REG. # 533577) and United States of America(LIC. REG. #3129130), stated that the style was created and founded by him with the help of Juan Antonio Espinoza, Hector Olavarrieta, Daniel Olavarrieta, Félix Iñiguez, Jorge Puig and Jose Santos Rodriguez Moreno,all original members of this band.
Other phrases used to describe this style is "onda pegassera", "sonido pegasso", and "musica pegassera". This style of cumbia has roots with the great Rigo Tovar when he introduced acoustical instruments into his band ensemble. Although this cumbia style had its glory years in the 80's decade and early 90's throughout Mexico and the United States, it is still popular in the northern Mexican states of Nuevo León, Coahuila and Tamaulipas. These states' bordering cities with Texas and throughout Texas such as Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth still have a large fan-base of this style. Outside of Texas, there is still an audience for this cumbia style in other US states.
The band that is credited with this style is Grupo Pegasso, bearing the name that connoted the phrase "onda Pegassera" and the such. Due to the band's popularity in the early 1980s and 1990s, its style was instilled onto hundreds of other bands which followed with a very similar, yet distinctive "style". Among these bands which gained popularity during those years were Corcel Negro, Cupido, Toppaz, and Zaaz.
One of the basic foundations that shaped this cumbia style was the introduction of the Hammond organ, specifically the Hammond B200, which gave a more richer, brilliant sound that allowed the prolonged reverb and killer vibrato to bring feeling to the music along with the beautiful guitar riffs by Federico "EL POLLO" Estevan with his white Fender Stratocast and special effects of reverb, delay and a light elegant touch of 'wow' effect for the ballads, which inspired other guitarists to follow and even use his nickname to honor Federico Estevan. Among musicians they would call themselves Pollo Tamaulipas, Pollo Houston, Pollo Califa's, Pollo Matamoros, Pollo San Anto, Pollo Chicago, etc.
Although the first recorded album in 1979, released 1980, seized attention only locally, it was not until their second record in 1981 that this music became widely known in Mexico and in the United States. It is agreed as well as argued by many fans that one other complement to the organ and guitar style was the voice of vocalist Emilio Reyna.
Except for the music, the original vocalist's voice, Juan Antonio Espinoza's give away with almost the other members of the band in 1979, and all them was replaced with the voices of Baldo Toscano, Jose Santos Rdz., and Emilio Reyna in this correct order before the release of the first album. Prior to the release, all members of the band, except owner Federico Estevan and José Santos Rodriguez(hired gun), dropped out of the band giving way to new band members whom would be considered Grupo Pegasso.
The first album's music, which was released in 1980, was very fundamental and had simple and beautiful arrangements on guitar and organ/piano that were very captive and made the Pegasso style different from the rest. The song tracks were mainly love lyrics, whether about disenchantments or triumphs, but after the new elements began recording the second album, the style began taking shape to what is now known as "el estilo pegasso" and were already announced on the radio stations as "EL GRUPO QUE NACIO PARA PEGAR..EL PEGA..PEGA..PEGASSO". Years later the slogan "EL GRUPO QUE NACIO PARA PEGAR...EL PEGA-PEGA" would be used as a band name for Emilio Reyna after losing a ten year legal battle in court to Federico Estevan.
The second album "Se Tambalea" launched them to stardom making Pegasso "the international band" that had the best stage show(dance and perfumed pink, red, yellow and purple smoke), lights(all colors), and best sound systems that money can buy. Their songs were so beautiful and the atmosphere was so great, that people not only went to dance, but to fall in love.
In 1983 during the recording of their third album "El no te quiere", Mario Garza and Victor Camacho leave "Pegasso" and two fine talented members are brought into the band by Federico Estevan to finish the third album, Marco Vinicio(drums) and Reynaldo Flores(organ/piano), who became the famed organist/keyboardist of the band. He is credited by many loyal followers and musicians of this style as being the "king of kings", the one who was responsible for the more drastic change in this musical style, mainly due to his highly technical and complicated way of playing the keyboards with amazing speed. He opened way to many other great keyboardist to come.
Many of the organ arrangements and structure consist of melodies played over the ionian mode scales, using both hands in parallel 10th interval motion between left and right hand notes. The Hammond B200 organ sound was accompanied and followed with a short piano tune, or any combination of piano/organ melody. Also, the style integrated within its songs the piano montuno, which is heard and is very popular in salsa music. Non-the-less, fundamental blues scale passages could be identified within this music, as well as augmented triad or augmented fifth and dominant seventh chords. One of the most unique techniques introduced by this style is what is known as a "repiqueteo", although this technique can be traced to the improvisations within Jazz and Salsa.
In 1985,after the album "Como una estrella" the band split leaving Federico Estevan solo. Pegasso continued the use the of the original sound that started it all...the Hammond B200 as well as the Hammond B300 which has been used to record all their albums to this day. Also, added to the "Pegasso" style pop music such as their hits: La Duda, El Talisman, De Vacaciones, Y tu como si nada and Siete Primaveras. Pegasso introduced the "Ensonique Mirage" "Miame Brass" sounds/HI-SLIDE effect and natural violins combined with beautiful electric pianos in the background and gave some of their songs a real orchestra feeling. They also interpreted classic light rock such as: Esa vez llore and El ultimo beso. These two styles inspired other bands to follow Pegasso's footsteps, such bands being: Liberacion, Toppazz, Temerarios, and many others. The original vocalist, Juan Antonio Espinoza, had returned once again as the lead vocalist for Grupo Pegasso in 1986 by choice of Federico Estevan. Juan Antonio's strong and melodic-high pitch-vibrato-voice and smooth dancing on stage while singing, set a standard and gave the distinction from that of Emilio Reyna's simple, yet light-tone voice while just standing there barely making the vocal chord pitch with a cigarre in one hand and his other hand on the side of his head with a finger in his ear to try and hit the pitch better.
The musical structure in this band didn't change much from its origins. One of the differences in style to that of "Grupo Pegasso" is the Hammond B200 and B300 (organ sounds, piano, violins), as opposed to the Technics SX-C600 used by el Pega Pega. For their electric piano arrangements in their songs Pegasso originally used the Hammond piano and started using the Yamaha DX7 for piano in 1989 , which became a very popular synthesizer with many bands throughout the world.
Pega Pega de Emilio Reyna began using the Technics SX-C600(samples from the original HAMMOND ORGANS) organ model, and gave it embellishment of the organ and piano arrangements in the songs and adding more to the upbeat.
In 1987, with a vacancy for a keyboard player in Emilio's Pega Pega band, came along the integration of talented keyboardist Oscar Mata, considered to Kurzweil K1000]have given the final and definite touch to this musical style. In his second album "Adolescente y Bonita" recorded in 1988, he introduced the [http://www.kurzweilmusicsystems.com/Product.php?product=163&tab=downloads amazing choir into the music arrangements of this style and also using a YAMAHA DX-7 for amazing string sounds, giving a gospel feel to the songs. These synthesizers became a fundamental part of this musical style for this particular band. Later they did away with the DX-7 synth. and used other string sounds.
In 1988 Roberto Benavidez(manager) and Miguel A. Quiroz left Pegasso. Benavidez had a fatal accident in the San Antonio area in which he died.
Also in 1988, Juan Antonio Espinoza betrays Federico Estevan for the second time by accepting an offer from DMY records to finish an album that "Pegasso" left pending due to contract issues between Federico Estevan and DMY records. Juan Antonio formed another Pegasso and finished the album titled "Muchas Razones" for DMY records. Federico Estevan was tipped off by a reliable source and took care of business as usual in a legal matter and fired Juan A. Espinoza on the spot and his services were not requested ever again.
The two bands continued to have the fundamental style, yet each took it to a separate level giving each an identifiable style. The rhythm continued to be lively and danceable to the beat. The style has kept its syncopated beat on the electric bass guitar against the drum's hi-hat. The congas, cowbell (cencero), güiro, and drums, especially the introduction of the Simmons SDS8 electrical drums have been essential to this musical style.
Federico "EL POLLO" Estevan is touring in Mexico and United States celebrating the 30th anniversary of his GRUPO PEGASSO with a disc release. being newly released tracks with the hit "Con tu adios". "Dos Tequilas" and the beatles hit "Till There Was You" (Siempre Te Amare) Emilio Reyna with "Pega Pega" also edited new musicals productions "No Llores Mi Niña" (2007) "Me haces falta" (2009) and the considered the best production of the new age of the cumbia pegassera: "Cosas del Amor" (1996).
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