A week ago on Sunday was the Día Europeo de la Música (European Music Day), a continent-wide celebration of the start of summer with a bunch of free music concerts! Started in the 80s in France, the celebration now takes places in Rome, Athens, and Madrid, as well as other major European cities.
Here in Madrid, there were a bunch of small open-air concerts playing everything from reggae to rock. Before taking part in the festivities, a few coworkers and I went to FotoCam 2009, a photojournalism exposition at Sol, in the heart of Madrid.
After that, we started el Día by taking in some “flamenco fusion” music by the Fulanos y Mengana Band. Flamenco fusion? Turns out its a progressive mix between classical flamenco vocals and rock, with a little hip-hop influence for the beat. Needless to say, the music, combined with the small, cafe-like atmosphere, made for a great experience!
We then took the metro to Retiro Park, where there was music by a bunch of small mariachi groups and other sideshow entertainers in addition to the main attraction, a marathon of classical pieces by local music conservatories. We sat down on the grass near the large gazebo where the orchestra was. Interestingly enough, the event organizers decided to play a house mix in between performances, which I guess was a welcome change from the slow-paced orchestral music.
By nightfall, after a few escapades trying to find some out-of-the-way concerts, a few of my flatmates and I ended up at Café Jazz Populart, where the Canal Street Jazz Band was playing some old-school American jazz. Since it began hosting concerts, the small cafe has been the center for jazz music in Spain, having been the starting place for many Spanish jazz players. It also featured the big band of Lionel Hampton at one point in its short history.
There were dozen of other concerts around the city, including a packed venue at Matadero Madrid in the south. If only there were something like this in Boston…