SPAIN is full of music. Whether it be children learning to play instruments, teenagers experimenting in rock bands, talented local groups, a sprinkling of international festivals, lively charangas in the streets at fiestas creating a whirlwind of happy dancing and singing, thoughtful poetry in their lyrics, passionate emotions in their performances, it’s deep within their artistic culture.
The music scene in Pamplona is nowhere near as developed as it could be. There is a collection of interesting cultural centres and venues that do see a few bands, though it often costs you a 30 minute journey to an industrial park and more than you’d hope to pay.
Nevertheless, last year I saw Muchachito Bombo Infierno in Totem, a venue in Pamplona. The band is from Barcelona and their performances are invigorating. A drummer with incredible dexterity, planting a rhythm for the brassy sax and trumpet, then the rapid plucking of the guitar strings, all staged against a huge canvas being painted live by the band’s artist. The concert only finishes when his masterpiece is completed. The canvas now hangs proudly in the club.
Furthermore, I’ve written in the past about some interesting localized micro-concerts that happen occasionally in Pamplona. There was also a week-long event organized by the government in Civivox where local bands performed. Entrance was free and Pamplona’s young up-and-coming artists designed the sets. The venue was full and the audience varied.
Of course, there are the huge annual international festivals in Spain such as Primavera Sound, which happened last weekend. Benicassim is popular. In this region, there is Bilbao BBK Live where The Cure and Radiohead are headlining. There’s some great diversity amongst the acts too, from Enter Shikari with its hardcore rock, to Four Tet‘s experimental electronic indie. The lineup is still overwhelmingly music in English, but there are a few local bands such as the Basque Zea Mays playing.
So, all hope’s not lost!
Finally, this unassuming city, Pamplona, has done something to promote Spanish music. This weekend is the Tres Sesenta Festival. Bands from all over Spain are preparing right now for the festival in the Ciudadela of Pamplona. I’m excited. I’ll report back soon.