[Hidden Rarities #15] El Ritual (Mex)

El Ritual is a Mexican band from the early 70s, and like many bands of the time, it produced little to split-up fast. The only album was made in 1971, a homonym LP of eight tracks plus a bonus added in reprint. Born in Tijuana, Baja California, from an idea of the musician and singer Frankie Barre√Īo, which involved Gonzalo Hernandez on bass to complete the lineup, Abelardo Barcel√≤ on the drum and on the voice is keyboards Mart√¨n Mayo. They arrived in the Federal District in 1971, long before the historic Avandaro Festival, to which they will take part, without obtaining great success. Both lighting and audio problems compromised the success, making it not a springboard for a newborn band.

The Festival Ticket

The “Rock and Wheel Festival” which was held in 1971 in Avandaro was considered the Mexican Woodstock, held on 11 and 12 September 1971 at the Avandaro Golf Club. Like Woodstock, it celebrated music, art, life, peace, love, ecology and experimental drugs in addition to art. Compared to the Woodstock Festival for psychedelic music, counterculture art, open use of drugs, the exercise of free love. Another similarity was that the Festival organized for a certain number of people saw a greater influx of people, it is said touching the 500,000 presences. Unfortunately the band after having published its debut of the same name in 1971, dedicated itself to a Rock Opera “The Land Of What You Talk To,” which would have been the greatest work of the band, but remained unfinished. In addition to the album, you can find several 45 rpm, which I will describe later in the editorial. The album that came to production enhances the qualities of the group, mixing elements of Psychedelia, Hard Rock with features of Latin Jazz that recalls the first Santana. Some argue that they are the most important group in the Mexican Rock of that period, with an international imprint given by the singing in perfect English. All the songs were written and composed by the band, showing off their many facets and influences, remembering bands like The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, the first Atomic Rooster and the Quick Silver Messenger Service. On the record, especially in the themes we find a certain presence of obscurantism and Satanism, even if the music is the melodies are dark only at times.

The band in 1971

The band thanks to the quality expressed, shortly after returning to Mexico, obtained a moderate success, and their faces painted in Kiss style helped to sponsor their image. An iconic band for Mexico, with their musical mix, a pity, the short life and the Rock Opera remained unfinished and lost. The eponymous album was produced by the label Raff in LP in 1971, reprinted by the same in 1974. In 1982, it was republished in LP by Cisne, in 1987 by Discos Y Cintas Denver in Cassette and in 1992 and 2012 in CD, while in 2019 in LP always from the same. Two other Raff versions on CD and an unofficial version on LP Limited Edition were produced on an unknown date. The band has also published several singles, all similar but in different editions, “Prostituta” containing the songs “Easy Woman-Prostituta” and “Beyond The Sun & facing God” in Side A and “Satanas” and “Tabu” in Side B for the Raff in 1971 and in 1975. “Easy Woman-Prostitute / Beyond The Sun & Facing God” inn three different Raff versions of 1971. “Easy Woman” containing the same four tracks of the first in two Raff versions of 1971. “Satanas / Groupie “for the Raff of 1972.

The band with classical painted faces

A band that for rarity of the disc, expressed musical quality and history, enters with merit in this editorial, like other groups quoted here a pity that the life of the band has been so brief. With more favorable coincidences, such as the drawbacks of the 1971 Festival in Mexico, they would have allowed a greater affirmation. The artistic qualities are unquestionable, the stage presence also, and for being a non-English-speaking band, the English expressed in vocals is almost perfect and equal to the native speaker. A recommended listening to lovers of the late 60s, early 70s in general, touching on various styles and facets of Rock. The result: a band hardly labeled bile, with merit, as it would restrict its qualities, a real pearl, this time from Mexico.



(1971) El Ritual [Raff]
(1971) Prostitute [Raff]
(1971) Easy Women/Beyond The Sun & Facing God [Raff]
(1971) Easy Woman [Raff]
(1972) Satanas/Groupie [Raff]


Gonzalo “Chalo” Hern√°ndez / Bass)
Alberto “Lalo” Barcel√≥ / Drums
Frankie Barre√Īo / Lead Vocals, Guitars, Flute, Songwriter
Martín Mayo / Keyboards

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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