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
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.