It has been a little over a year and a have since my father, Alfonso Sáinz’s passing, but there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him, feel him near me, learn more about him, and thank GOD for giving me the greatest gift one could ever be given during their lifetime, such an incredibly loving and talented father.
Alfonso Sáinz Amoros
Born: March 2, 1943 in Alicante, Spain.
Alfonso is the second oldest child of five children and the oldest son. His family life was considered to be very traditional with conservative and religious values. His father, Alfonso Sáinz Diaz de Lamadrid, was an attorney and an engineer. Spain at the time was run by General Francisco Franco, a dictator for many. “In those days we did not care about politics, the only comment is that after the civil war won by Franco, he was probably the only choice for the country until a stable middle class was in place, capable of embracing democratic values.
“I was a very restless boy they use to tell my mother that I was made of “rabos de lagartija” (lizard tails).
While having quite a strict upbringing, his father instilling the values of a proper education, social awareness, religion and family, the summers were spent in their family home of over 300 years in the Cantabrian Mountains in a village called “Perrozo”. The family home, once called the “barracks” because it was occupied for military during the civil war, is a beautiful house overlooking the Picos de Europa, a place where they went hunting, played throughout the mountains and later rehearsing with the band Los Pekenikes. Summers were not all play though; a tutor was hired to make sure studies and education continued. Exposure to all aspects of life, people and economic cultures were a part of the education Alfonso’s father had planned. “Growing up we met General Peron president of Argentina who exiled to Spain, he was friend of my father’s and my father advised him in legal issues. He was a very sociable and intelligent man, but it was the travels with my uncle on a donkey to the mountain villages to visit his patients that made me want to become a doctor.”
At the age of fifteen, his father gave him and his brother Lucas a Bandurria and a guitar, not only beginning a musical hobby, but what later would come to be great a success and a change in the history of music in Spain. The two brothers began playing popular and classic music as a duo at the “Instituto Ramiro de Maeztu” in Madrid where they attended school. After meeting two classmates at the school, also aspiring musicians Ignacio Martín Sequeros and Pepe Nieto, the original “Los Pekenikes” was formed with Filipino singer Eddi Guzman. From there, a musical career that began in the ‘50’s when rock ‘n’ roll was a fresh new experience “Los Pekenikes began emulating the sounds of the times, like Elvis, Buddy Holly. Tony Luz was incorporated to the group as guitar and Juan Pardo and Junior as vocalist during the following years after Eddi ceased as vocalist from the group. The components founders of popular music group “The Pekenikes “: (bass), Jose Nieto (drums), the brothers Alfonso (sax) and Lucas (guitar) Sáinz, and Eddy Guzman (vocals and guitar).
“I remember that Juan Pardo was our singer in those days (Juanito el cadenas) he carried a chain, a necklace, in his hand when he sung, he was also very “rockero. I learned to play saxophone and my friends called Toneti a famous circus guy that played the instrument.
As he grew older, Alfonso’s talents turned to composing and arranging material with his brother Lucas, Ignacio and Tony Luz, for their band, Los Pekenikes. “Our record company was a way for us to record English hits in Spanish, soon realizing out musical destiny was to compose and create our own sound, each one of us contributing our own style that allowed for an original and unique sound for the band.”
In 1964, Los Pekenikes had their first gold record with “Los Cuatro Muleros”, an instrumental single which sold millions throughout Spain, Europe and Latin America. This was the beginning of the mixing of popular and flamenco music with the combination of rock, creating a very original experiment. Alfonso recalls “it was very difficult to start a rock and rock group with under a very strong censorship”, but despite the control, that proved to be a success for Alfonso and his band members as they continued on creating a distinctive sound and style of their own while leading the charts and producing more number one hits throughout Europe.
In 1966, Alfonso, now in his fourth year medical school, composed Hilo de Seda”; the trademark of the instrumental group was now set in place and the beginning of a golden era for the Pekenikes began. Their success was huge and extended abroad, being one of the first groups to take the Spanish dream beyond the borders of Spain. But as with all success; there are always difficult times and setbacks. These obstacles were not only felt by Los Pekenikes, but by many young remembered bands during that time, as the joining of the military service was a requirement. At the time, the army lasted for a long period and for many music groups involved, it was like handing them a death certificate and as well as a wake up to face the real world. Alfonso became private pilot so he could transfer to the air forces and avoid going to 3 summer of training via Milicias Universitarias. The Pekenikes survived as best as they could and recorded their third LP “Alarma”, without Alfonso’s brother Lucas, who was serving his Military duties at the time.
Yes, the story continues, but my point, this man, who wrote, composed, and produced so much music, many of which has been rerecorded by many other artist as he stayed in the back ground. This man who was just awarded last March by the Liebana and Peñarrubias area in Northern Spain as the founder of the most popular band in Spain’s history, while leading this band into number ONE spots on the charts internationally, making Gold records, attending the defamatory Spanish military, becoming a commercial pilot, married to my mother in 1964 and 3 children by 1969, and more… also became DR. ALFONSO SÁ INZ leader of Los Pekenikes in 1968. He left Los Pekenikes in 1971-72 when we moved to the states where he began to practice medicine as an OB/GYN.
What amazes me about my father is how humble and UNPRETENTIOUS he was. I cannot account for the earlier days as I was just a small child born in 1966, but having lived with him from the age of 13 on after my parents divorce, I can say this man was truly humble and grateful for all he had and worked so hard for.
The very hands and mind that created such talented and recognized music (even if you don’t know my father was behind it) with those same hands, he brought life into this world delivering babies, he saved lives by removing cancerous tumors, he created surgical techniques that allowed women who thought they could never have children, get pregnant and then delivered their babies.
The mind of this man was off the charts. Intelligent, creative, and always with a guitar at his side. That guitar proudly hangs on my wall and I thank his latest wife Tanya Sainz for giving it to me after my father passed.
PROUD, yes I am. I miss him everyday. I am grateful to all the members of Los Pekenikes as they all achieved success. And Ia m so GRATEFUL that God gave this man to me to love and to be loved by!
The emails I receive almost daily from the young stating it was because of my father that they play music to the emails from people of his generation who praise him and thank him for leaving this world such a beautiful gift, his music…. but lets not forget the beautiful lives he also brought into this world and saved.
He passed away shortly after turning 71 on April 17, 2014, but lives in the hearts of so many!
This May 2016 will be the 50th Anniversary of “Hilo de Seda”.
Featured Image above is of my father Alfonso Sáinz and Producer Tim Coons