Ruby Icon Girlz!: Vainica Doble

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Vainica Doble (1971-2000) was a Spanish pop duo formed by Gloria Van Aerssen and Carmen Santonja that had a significant influence on Spanish pop bands such as Le Mans, La Buena Vida and Family.

Although they began making music in 1966, Gloria and Carmen debuted in the 1969 film Carola de día, Carola de noche, starring legendary Spanish actress Marisol. A TVE executive put an eye on them and invited them to play on TV. Vainica Doble wrote the music for the TV series Fábulas, by Jaime Arminán, and collaborated with several musicians and arrangers. Gloria and Carmen also wrote several songs for the band Nuevos Horizontes and for Iván Zulueta’s film Un, dos, tres, al escondite inglés. They recorded their debut single with Pepe Nieto, entitled Vainica Doble (with songs later covered by Los Planetas), released on Columbia. The single went a bit unnoticed. Vainica Doble recorded their debut album in 1972 and released it through the Ópalo label. The album featured Guru Zakun Kin Kon, about an alien dragon that meets the human race. They had to face Franco’s censorship.

On the following year, Vainica Doble released a Christmas album in collaboration with Aguaviva. This was their last Opal release as the label went out of business shortly afterwards. They signed with Ariola and worked with Pepe Nieto again. This time around, the production was more elaborated and featured orchestral arrangements. Gloria and Carmen appeared on TV on several occasions, including a performance in the children’s program Hoy también es fiesta. In 1975, they recorded the soundtrack for the film Furtivos, and a year later they released Contracorriente, which features Déjame vivir con alegría, a song with sitar arrangements that became very popular, although they weren’t very happy with the production.

In the 80s Vainica Doble released three albums, featuring songs such as Crónica Madrileña, about the artistic and socio-cultural movement that took place in the city, also known as the Movida, and a song recorded with Joaquin Sabina for the cooking TV show Con las manos en la masa, presented by Carmen’s sister.
In 1997 the duo released Carbono 14, an album aimed at a more mainstream audience, which featured collaborations by Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bosé and Ismael Serrano, artists who had never had anything to do with the band. It became their best-selling album but the least appreciated by their hardcore fans.
In 2000 Vainica Doble said goodbye with En Familia, released on the indie label Elefant Records. The album features the Carmen’s and Gloria’s children and grandchildren. Carmen died that year, and Gloria followed her five years later.

The Morsa publishing house released this year a lyrics compilation entitled Cancionero de Vainica Doble, which includes Carmen Santonja’s songs for the band and for RTVE, illustrated by Rubenimichi, Joaquín Reyes, Laia Domènech and Helena Exquis, among others.