File this one under “Why On Earth Weren’t They Massive?”.


Espiritu– in their best, early period –were a duo of singer Vanessa Quinones and instrumentalist Chris Taplin. When Quinones moved to England from the Canary Islands, she settled in Brighton and met Taplin, who’d jumped ship from another near perfect pop group, Frazier Chorus.

In Espiritu, Taplin swapped his clarinet for a bass guitar and, with Quinone’s vocals and songwriting, the two cooked up a stream of Latin jazz-soaked dancet racks that, annoyingly, never managed to squeeze into the UKTop 50. Conquistador was their second and summed the group up perfectly: urgent, breathless and brassy.

Sabres Of Paradise remixes added to their kudos, as did other great near-miss singles like Francisca, Los Americanos and Bonita Mañana.But their album, Manifesto, failed to get a release and, when Taplin left, Quinones took the name and the music off into other directions, from handbag house (a cover of (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me with Tin Tin Out) and drum and bass (the Another Life album). All of which means Conquistador is lost to the mists of time, absent from compilations and iTunes. But we didn’t make this all up, honest!