Modern Spanish Music


pop-music-spainTop of the Pops may have just been killed of in the UK but in Spain the “Cuarenta Principales” (top 40) is going from strength to strength with several radio and television stations devoted completely to playing the hits.

In fact in June 15 million people tuned into a 7 hour “Cuarenta Principales “40th birthday concert. Pop music in Spain has never been so popular, exciting and varied!

Modern pop music in Spain started more or less during the sixties and at first it was mainly derivative of the Beatles, American rock and roll and French pop (!). During the seventies Spain came under the influences of the rest of Europe as tourism boomed and money started to roll in.

Kids had more money to spend and they began to get bored with the same safe music-Miguel Rios, The Gypsy Kings, and Julio Iglesias-stuff your mother would approve of! This is about the time punk started in the UK and the “la movida” movement which blossomed in Madrid was similar.

New styles appeared and pop music became more daring. By 1980 bands such as “Alaska and the Pegamoides” and Mecano had hit the charts and Spanish pop really took of. Now, mainstream pop has had to move over and make room for Latino, Hip-Hop, R&B, Indie and of course the increasingly popular Reggaeton!

Flamenco is still very much part of the modern music scene in Spain and there is always at least one or two flamenco stars such as Estrella Morente in the charts.

However mainstream pop is still the favourite and Spain now boasts some of the best pop in Europe-it’s a massive export industry, just think of Enrique Iglesias.

Because of the strong influence of flamenco a lot of pop music here is very melodic and with very distinctive guitar rhythms and therefore it is popular with all generations, not just the under thirties.

Bands such as Estopa, and Pastora and artists like Rosario Flores, and Alejandro Sanz are typical of this middle of the road appeal and radio stations such as Canal Fiesta, which plays non-stop MOR, can be heard blazing out of shops and houses all over Andalucia.

Boy bands, girl bands and family bands are also very en-vogue Good examples are the recent summer global hit Asereje by Las Ketchup a group of sisters, daughters of a famous flamenco guitarist “Tomatito” and Los Caños, from the Costa de La Luz, who were young school friends who took the charts by storm recently with “Niña”.

Now they have sadly split up- but one band member, Kiko has just had a chart hit, “Mienteme” with his sister Shara.. Las Chuches are another great example- 3 little girls from Cordoba who took the charts by storm with “Como ronea”.

We can’t leave out “Operación Triunfo” the Spanish equivalent of Pop Idol. All of Spain seems to be addicted to it (almost as fanatically as to “Gran Hermano” the Spanish Big Brother) and the training and voting is taken very seriously. (well not quite!)

Some very big pop stars have emerged from Operacion Triunfo, especially from the first series; David Bisbal (phoarr!) is now an international star and is currently recording his new album in London. Likewise Rosa, Bustamante, Chenoa and Natalia who all grace the charts and also do very well touring.

Spanish pop is varied, fun and the ideal accompaniment to a day at the beach or pool!


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