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All Around The World: Bauda

Songwriter César Márquez turns Chile’s breathtaking landscapes into atmospheric, progressive melodies.

If you’ve never visited Chile, you might not realise how varied the scenery is. There’s the parched Atacama Desert, the lush South Pacific Ocean and Karukinka Natural Park, which has the type of snow-capped mountains you might expect to see in Iceland. This natural diversity and the changing landscapes have been inspiring César Márquez since Bauda’s inception in 2006.

“I started it as a solo folk project,” he says. “I was in a black metal band and I wanted to create something on my own, without any distractions. I’m always looking for new sounds, new textures and new music. The musicians I’m now working with are all from black metal because I love that atmosphere, but Bauda has more ambience and soundscapes.”

Márquez’s far-flung influences range from Latino progsters Los Jaivas to Jethro Tull, via Tool, Brian Eno and The Gathering. They all add intrigue to Bauda’s sound, which has developed over three studio albums. The most recent, Sporelights, was produced by The Gathering’s co-founding guitarist René Rutten.

“I have loved The Gathering from the beginning; I love the way that every album is different,” Márquez reveals with enthusiasm.

Rutten travelled from the Netherlands to Chile’s capital Santiago, where Bauda are based, and helped push the band’s sound to the next level. He returned in January to perform a very special gig with his new friends. “He played guitar on some songs from our new album and we played some songs by The Gathering, too. It was very beautiful.”

Sporelights is about human awakenings and it sounds as if Márquez and his team have had a few of their own. The album is released this month via Scandinavian label Temple Of Torturous and the band’s growing European connections have helped build interest in touring outside their home country.

“The crowds in Chile are crazy,” laughs Márquez, “but it would be really good to move because progressive music isn’t that big over here. My friends in Europe say we have to come and play there so I hope we can arrange this for next year.”

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Natasha Scharf

Dark prog (and chocolate) fan Natasha has been a Prog regular since 2009. News Editor between 2014 and 2019, now Deputy Editor, she is the only member of the team to have appeared on Prog's cover.