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23 May · alleventshotels · No Comments

Catalan Rumba, mestizo essence of Barcelona

Catalan Rumba, Pescaílla, Peret and Gato Pérez

Popular and traditional music in Barcelona’s streets

The artistic expression of the people is part of their essential identity, and if we talk about the Catalan gipsy people of Barcelona, we have to talk indisputably about the Catalan Rumba. It was born in the Gracia, Raval and Hostafrancs districts from the mix between the flamenco music (typical from gipsies that lived in these areas), with some new Latin rhythms coming from Cuba, creating a cultural mix full of joy, peculiar in the Catalan Rumba.

In the 1960s some gipsies started to stand out, like El Pescaílla or Peret, which are both considered fathers of the Catalan Rumba. The flamenco music, that they used to listen since childhood, was the starting point of La Rumba, but in the 1960s, in Barcelona some new rhythms and melodies were integrated which changed their vision of flamenco forever. The Catalan rumba, with Africans backgrounds, is a kind of music interpreted only by percussion instruments and voices for the melody. Its joyful rhythm captivates the gipsies of Barcelona, which together with the new Rock rhythms, add their own vision of the flamenco, creating the Catalan Rumba.

This new style, the Catalan Rumba, include rhythmical innovations, like the percussion made with the guitar, strumming it a frenetic rhythm inviting you to dance and enjoy at any party.

rumba catalana

Gipsy singing with Cuban rhythms

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“La rumba nace en la calle, hija de Cuba y de un gitanillo y su hermana que es la Habanera, vive entre marineros” (The rumba born in the streets, it is daughter of Cuba and a gipsy and its sister which is the “havanera” lives between sailors). This is a part of the chorus of a famous Rumba, the Rumba of Barcelona by Gato Pérez, another of the big artist of the Catalan Rumba and the lyrics explain perfectly that origin.

During the Barcelona Olympic games in 92 , the Rumba was present with a very big success, by the hand of Peret and Los Manolos. These gipsies covered some hits of that time in Rumba Catalana cover.

Peret said that the Rumba is a way to live and understand life. Everything is done because Rumba: you shop because of Rumba, you dance because of Rumba and you do Love because of Rumba.

Tres de Rumba

The lyrics of the Catalan Rumba talk mainly about daily life issues of streets of Barcelona, and in some cases have a tragic context (deaths, robberies…), but the joy and the cheerful atmosphere of the rhythm of La Rumba, give them a lighter meaning. The instruments use to play La Rumba ,were Spanish guitar, the clap of the hands and bongo drums. But nowadays, some new instruments are used to play La Rumba Catalana, merging new rhythms and creating new performances. Groups like Txarango, la Troba Kung Fu, la Pegatina, Ojos de Brujo…are very popular, and are he inheritors of that Rumba born from a cultural mix and a musical fusion. Nowadays gipsies and  non gipsies offer us new versions of these festive and joyful rhythms.

The Rumba is a way of understand Barcelona’s life


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