America is the land of milk & honey and España the land of los toros y flamenco, no?
Yes some people in Spain do actually still listen to Flamenco. But not in the way that you would expect. Listening to RadioOle, the station with the traditional flamenco songs has become taboo, or at least just very un-cool for young folks, like me. However, this does not put a stop to the flamenco infused rock (arguably called Gitano Rock), pop, fandango, chill wave, and lots more coming over the rest of the radio stations and DJ booths. Among my favorites of the groups I’ve been exposed to are the ones you’ll see below….I love, love, love Estopa. It takes a while to get used to the rhythms in their rock music, because they’re flamenco rhythms and not your typical pop 4 by 4 hook snap crack your fixed for the next three weeks kind of thing. Nor are they what you hear all of the time now coming from our American airwaves–this brand of dub step inspired pop–which I have to admit, I’m waiting on the Flamenco infused dubstep…2014, chiquillo!!
So without further ado, here are the Best Songs of Flamenco Pop or Rumba Rock or.. Direct from Spain to you, with lots of love…
by Fuel Fandango
This duo is part of an important movement in global music making the traditional, new, and the new, traditional. You can hear all kind of things in the music of the duo from Madrid and Cordoba: electro, funk, rock, but also flamenco. Their name comes from one of the classic flamenco derivations, the “fandango,” similar to the bolero. This name is partly because of collaboration between a man and a woman, the beautiful high pitched voice of singer Nita and the music of Ale Acosta who has loads of experience, he is amongst others member of Mojo Project. Their debut album Fuel Fandango was recorded in 15 days, to keep things fresh. And that’s what they did. It has become an organic mix. I haven’t heard of too many people listening to them yet, but they are up and coming.
05. “Caminando Por la Vida”
Early on during my time here in Spain a friend who is no longer a friend asked me if I knew who Melendi was? I said, no. He said what the hell you can’t be here in Spain and not know who Melendi is. And here is where my journey with this Asturian musician born in 1979 began. Now I have fallen in love with his pop songs and cara de gilipolla and also his song that pretty much summarizes the Spanish way (estereotype alert) of walking without rushing….See the video here.
Chambao is a group from Malaga, Andalucía, Spain that croons some downright chill flamenco inspired tracks. (In case you hadn’t realized, Flamenco and the rest of the things traditionally associated with Spanish culture come from Andalucía, from the hot south, sureñaaa.) It makes you want to put on some candles and paint your nails and feel fulfilled that you are making the right decisions by following your dreams, and self-centered, egoista life plan. No, but really Chambao is a special group that occupies a special place in Spanish culture as they are recognized as the leaders of this movement of music that has made Flamenco cool-ish again, sometimes, in very specific situations. I love this song and also pokito a poko and papeles mojados–yes, an immigration song!! Sometimes this group is totally righteous. <3
Well, some people might try to fight me on the inclusion of this song is this top list, saying it is too old, however they can just fuck oofff!!! Peret is the founder of Rumba Rock, which is what we are here to talk about today, it’s another way to talk about Flamenco pop and other derivations of Spanish grassy rooty culture. Also, they should be informed that in 2001 Peret, our gypsy king, recorded an updated album of his songs with who else but DAVID BYRNE!! Peret’s no borroquito como tu is an act of pure musical genius. Also, I think it is said that he was a gypsy, openly, and proud of it. That is big points in my book. Also, the video is so cute and so sixties, seventies, you know? The important thing to know here is that the song is still alive and will play at pretty much any family function in any part of Spain, it’s totally classic ya’ll so just enjoy the vintage jams and listen to that clap!
So I totally have a little story about this song. My friend who, well, is basically an enemy now introduced me to the song some 5 months ago. He said, I don’t know why they recommend that people have their coffee and caña (beer) together that sounds gross. To which I asked, well do people actually do that? …is that a thing? Because to me it sounded perfect. Sometimes you want a pick-me-up and a relaxing beer at the same time, without thinking about the fact that mixing stimulants and depressants comes highly unrecommended, no? HA HA. So from then on I started asking for un cafe y cañaa, porfa. Until one day I realized that brown sugar in its raw form is also called caña, and then I CURSED ALL MY Spanish friends for leaving me to look like a tontaaaa. Well, now all you have to do is just enjoy the song and don’t worry about the contents I’ve got those covered for you, — it is totally addictive. (Then try to sing along, seriously it’s really fun.)
Estopa is my group in Spain. I am going to let you in here. My favorite class of students at the University of Salamanca sang me this song once upon a time, guitar in hand and clapping a long and I could have died on the spot because it was friggin’ awesome, and moving, and I will never forget it. So after that “class party” I am forever a huge fan of Estopa.
Estopa, on the other hand, are big fans of singer-songwriter Joaquín Sabina. The brothers David Muñoz and José Muñoz formed the duo in 1999, they wanted to take after their mentor.
Estopa can be heard regularly at parties, on the radio, being sung during botellón. Some people say they find them to be without rythm. To me they have it all, an embracing sound, modern and traditional, good looks, and are innovaters. Not to mention the millions in sales that they earned with their first album. Now they have reaffirmed their style over the course of many albums bringing catalan rumbas and flavors to the rest of us all.
Aaand here’s one more just released by Fuel Fandango this month, a kind of honorable mention:
More by Juli:
Salamanca Diaries 3: Porto, Portugal, losing 3000 dollar watches and sheet
Salamanca Diaries 4: Madrid, Strikes, Illegal Status and Hipsters
Salamanca Diaries 5: Music Videos to Make You Rethink Spanish Rap + ¡Don’t Date El Rapero!