Alaska (singer)

Born Olvido Gara Jova
(1963-06-13) June 13, 1963
Mexico City, Mexico
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actress
  • disc jockey
  • businesswoman
Years active 1977–present
Home town Madrid, Spain
Spouse(s) Mario Vaquerizo (1999 and 2011-present)
Parent(s) América Jova Godoy
Manuel Gara López

Musical career


Alaska (born Maria Olvido Gara Jova, June 13, 1963 in Mexico City) is a Spanish-Mexican singer, DJ, and TV personality famous in Spain and Latin America. She was one of the main characters in the La Movida Madrileña, the cultural and artistic movement that followed the end of the Franco dictatorship in Spain. This movement in which music, arts, cinema and fashion erupted and collided to confirm the actual society Spain had become under Franco. She has participated since the late 1970s in several groups of different success: Kaka de Luxe 1977, Alaska y los Pegamoides 1980, Alaska y Dinarama 1983, and since 1989, the Spanish electropop band, Fangoria. Today, Alaska continues to perform and has become an icon of 1980s Spain.

Life and career

Early life

Alaska was born in Mexico City, Mexico on June 13, 1963. Her father was a Spaniard exiled during the Spanish Civil War and her mother a Cuban exiled by Castro. Some years before Francisco Franco died, her parents decided to move back to Spain, settling in Madrid.

Alaska was a big fan of Lou Reed, T-Rex, etc., but David Bowie was her biggest influence. She even told her mother that she would love to be a boy just to be gay. The birth of punk also had a big influence on the young Alaska, who soon decided to form a band. She went to El Rastro, a famous flea market in Madrid, looking for band members, where she met Nacho Canut and Carlos Berlanga.

1970s and 1980s

Alaska performing in Madrid, Spain

In 1977, she, along with Fernando Márquez, Nacho Canut, Carlos Berlanga and Enrique Sierra, among others, formed the band Kaka de Luxe, one of the first Spanish punk rock bands. Alaska played the bass guitar. In 1979 Gara, Canut, Berlanga, Ana Curra and Eduardo Benavente formed the band Alaska y los Pegamoides. Alaska was lead singer for the first time with Pegamoides. They took the name as a tribute to one of the bands they admired: Siouxsie and the Banshees. Due to some artistic differences, Carlos Berlanga left Pegamoides and with Nacho Canut they formed Dinarama. At this time Eduardo Benavente and Ana Curra were very involved in Parálisis Permanente, one of the first gothic bands in Spain. A few months after Carlos Berlanga left the band, Pegamoides split up. In 1982, Alaska joined Dinarama and the band released their first album in 1983 Canciones Profanas under the name of Dinarama + Alaska. The band took the name of Alaska y Dinarama with their following album Deseo carnal and they kept this name until 1989 when Carlos Berlanga left Dinarama, in the middle of their tour for the last album Fan Fatal where all songs are tribute to the bands they admired and loved: Ramones, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode, Aviador Dro, Parálisis Permanente, etc. When Dinarama split up, Nacho Canut and Alaska adopt the name of Fangoria. They changed their style of music to electronic pop, in the style of Pet Shop Boys. They released their first album Salto Mortal with Hispavox, their record company since Pegamoides. After that they left the company and released a trilogy with different independent companies: Un día cualquiera en Vulcano I, Un día cualquiera en Vulcano II and Un día cualquiera en Vulcano III. They did not play many concerts. It was in this period that Alaska became an icon for the LGBT community and became very active supporting Madrid Gay Pride.

Subterfuge, an important indie company released Fangoria's next album: Una temporada en el infierno, considered by some a masterpiece of electronic music. Fangoria started selling loads of CDs and the band became very popular. Another album with Subterfuge, Naturaleza muerta proved that Fangoria was an amazing electronic band and Alaska a fantastic performer. Some differences with Subterfuge forced Fangoria to leave. DRO (Warner) released their following album: Arquitectura Efímera.

In the late 1980s, Alaska was the host of the children's TV show La Bola de Cristal.

21st century

In 2006, Fangoria visited México to promote their new album El Extraño Viaje. Alaska appeared on two sketches of Telehit's Desde Gayola (a Mexican parody show), the first one she apperared as herself in an interview with Tesorito, the second one playing the character of Galaxia (a DJ) with Supermana, Chef Ornica & Manigüis.

Since 2011, she stars as herself in the MTV Spain reality program Alaska y Mario, alongside husband/manager Mario Vaquerizo.

Collaboration with other artists

In 1980, Alaska appeared as Bom in the Pedro Almodóvar film Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón. She has had cameo roles in several films like Airbag, Más que amor, frenesí, etc.

She has collaborated on such soundtracks as The Killer Tongue (La Lengua Asesina) with Robert Englund, The Bear Cub (Cachorro), Bandid Lover (Amante Bandido) in Miguel Bosé's Papito (2007), etc.


U.S. intellectual Camille Paglia, upon being alerted to Fangoria's music video "El Cementerio De Mis Sueños" ("the cemetery of my dreams") by a reader of her column on, had the following to say about Alaska in her column dated January 10, 2008:[1]

Alaska, surrounded by Pete Best-style drag queens, is certainly a formidable character. Yards of bosom and assertive orange hair. She doesn't try to hide her age, the way American women actors and performers do. She's mature and flaunts it. No misty, baby-faced, shallow nymphet look for her! There are no parallels to Alaska in current American entertainment -- a mark of our cultural poverty and punitive gender norms.


Main article: Fangoria (band)

Kaka de Luxe

Alaska y Los Pegamoides

Alaska y Dinarama


External links


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alaska.
  1. Paglia, Camille. "Hillary without tears". Salon. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
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