Not to be mistaken for the photographer – though the group did use his name as a sort of homage – the Argentine pop group Man Ray are popular throughout the country for their perky, upbeat songs.
A group along the lines of New Kids on the Block, but with a female lead, their songs might be lacking a certain kind of depth but are the kind of music a person either loves or hates – depending entirely on their mood.
The group formed in 1987 when Hilda Lizarazu, from the province of Corrientes, joined forces with Tito Losavio to make up the integral duo that became the backbone of the group. Laura Gómez accompanied on bass guitar, while Paul Buratti played drums. Together they recorded and released seven original records between 1987 and 1999: ‘Man Ray’ (1988), ‘Perro de playa’ (1991), ‘Hombre rayo’ (1993), ‘Aseguebu’ (1994), ‘Piropo’ (1995), ‘Ultramar’ (1997) and ‘Larga distancia’ (1999).
But the band wasn’t together for the entire stretch of time. There were years of financial difficulties when – between 1989 and 1991 – the two leaders separated to play with other bands. After 1991, the group came into enough funds to keep playing and put together another album. They kept going until 1999, when they eventually went their separate ways. Since that time, the lead singer Lizarazu in particular, has gone on to become a successful independent artist.
Besides achieving great sales success in the 90s, Man Ray also toured most of Latin America. They had their big introduction to the music world on 27th December 1988, when they played at the Festival of Democracy on Av. 9 de Julio in front of 150,000 spectators gathered to see popular Argentine musicians like Soda Stereo, Spinetta, Fito Páez y Los Ratones Paranoicos. Afterwards, the band added countries such as Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay and Mexico, as well as the United States and Spain, to their tour roster.
During the height of their popularity, the band also had the chance to play along with some big names, like Phil Collins and Guillermo Piccolini. While their music follows simple themes, Lizarazu’s voice is airy and pleasant, and the tunes are generally cheery. That said, the perkiness can be a bit jarring if you don’t want cheery backdrop to your day.
If you’re looking for a more modern take on their 80s and 90s hits you’re likely to find it. Man Ray’s iconic songs, such as ‘Extraño ser’, have made easy cover subjects for other musicians like Suéter and Chilean singer Nicole.
Dates active: 1987 – 1999
Famous for: Iconic popular songs that are easy to sing at karaoke
Most famous song: ‘Caribe Sur’
In their own words: “There is no further progress to be made in art, like making love; there are simply different ways of doing it.”
Best lyric: “Though I try, I cannot forget / To be close to you is happiness / Strange it is, I’m so alone, worshipping you.”
Best to listen to: On a lazy Saturday afternoon, when you’re cleaning up the mess from the night before and need something a little bubbly, but can’t handle more champagne.