Opa is a trio from South America, and the Milestone album titled Goldenwings is their first North American album-but when you’ve said that you really haven’t even begun to describe this unusually exciting, versatile, and togetherunit.
For one thing, calling them a "trio" is really selling them short. Brothers Hugo (piano) and George (drums) Fattoruso and bassist Ringo Thielmann actually make up a multi-instrumental group also covering all keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, and vocals. For another, whichever American continent you refer to fails to cover the full range of melodic, funky, Latin-tinged, and jazz-related music they offer. It should help to note that this trio appeared as a unit on Airto’s celebrated Fingers album and toured with his band of that name; they also formed the basic rhythm section on Flora Purim’s first national tour; and it was Airto who brought them to Milestone’s attention and produced their initial album for the label. (Also featured as guest artists on that album are the brilliant Brazilian flutist Hermeto Pascoal and guitarist David Amaro.)
When Opa first formed in Uruguay in the early Sixties, they were known as "Los Shakers." During 1965-67, they recorded five albums and became absolute stars. They had hit after hit-several of their records were Number 1 in Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.
"We were very successful," recounts George, "but after you’re Number 1 in South America, there’s nowhere to go but North. Besides, we wanted to be Americans too. All in all, it’s turned out very good."
When the group came to the U.S. in 1969, they changed their name to Opa and settled into a three-year dues-paying period. They played in a wide variety of musical situations, including club and concert work, and they’re quite familiar with the Vegas lounge type of work. But at the same time, they were composing and playing their own music, hoping for a way to break through to the American record industry.
The big break for Opa came when they met Airto. Their natural affinities for each other obvious, Airto immediately asked them to join his band, Fingers, and their careers have been intertwined ever since.
A highly talented, imaginative, and mature group, Opa is certainly going to make their mark on the contemporary music scene today-and, for the first time, in North America!