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MUSIC

Benicássim 2013 music festival saved by buyout

The organizers of the major Spanish music festival Benicássim have scotched cancellation rumours with a statement on their official Facebook page confirming new owners have been found for the event.

Benicássim 2013 music festival saved by buyout
Fans of acts including headliners Arctic Monkeys, who played at the festival in 2011, sought reassurance that the event would still take place. Photo: Flickr/fiberfib

Claims and counter-claims about goings-on at the Benicássim International Music Festival (FIB) have been circulating on the internet for several days.

Thousands of music lovers travel each year to the resort near the port city of Valencia for the event which was voted 'Best Overseas Festival' at the 2012 UK Festival Awards.

This year's Benicássim is set to take place between July 18th and the 21st, with a line-up featuring a host of big-name stars.

But cancellation rumours sent waves of panic around social media as visitors feared their trips could be in jeopardy.

Alleged problems with event planning and news that majority shareholder Vince Power was looking to sell out only fuelled the online gossip, leading organizers to issue a statement on the festival's official Facebook page on Wednesday.

“Denis Desmond and SJM Concerts have jointly acquired a major shareholding in Maraworld SA, parent company of Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB),” the statement read.

“Vince Power remains a shareholder in Maraworld SA. He will continue in charge as Managing Director until August 2013.

“FIB is in no way affected by the acquisition and this year’s festival will go ahead as planned 18–21 July 2013.”

Vince Power commented: “The difficult economic climate coupled with the bad year suffered by Music Festivals PLC has prompted my decision to sell a major shareholding in Benicàssim festival.”

“I am pleased that two of Europe’s best known Festival Promoters are now taking part,” said Power in the statement.

“FIB is one of the world’s most established and best-loved live music events and I wanted to ensure the future of the festival for many years to come.”

This year’s festival headliners include The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys.

Other major acts taking part number Primal Scream, the Kaiser Chiefs and Dizzee Rascal.

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MUSIC

Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop

Spanish rapper C. Tangana was taking a big risk when he started mixing old-fashioned influences like flamenco and bossa nova into his hip-hop -- but it's this eclectic sound that has turned him into a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop
Spanish rapper Anton Alvarez known as 'C. Tangana' poses in Madrid on April 29, 2021. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

The 30-year-old has emerged as one of the world’s biggest Spanish-language stars since his third album “El Madrileno” — the Madrilenian — came out in February. That ranks him alongside his superstar ex-girlfriend Rosalia, the Grammy-winning Catalan singer with whom he has co-written several hits.

C. Tangana, whose real name is Anton Alvarez Alfaro, has come a long way since a decade ago when he became known as a voice of disillusioned Spanish youth in the wake of the financial crisis.These days his rap is infused with everything from reggaeton and rumba to deeply traditional styles from Spain and Latin America, with a voice often digitised by autotune.

“It’s incredible that just when my music is at its most popular is exactly when I’m doing something a bit more complex, more experimental and less
trendy,” he told AFP in an interview.

And he is unashamed to be appealing to a wider audience than previously: his dream is now to make music “that a young person can enjoy in a club or someone older can enjoy at home while cooking”.

‘People are tired’

The rapper, who sports a severe semi-shaved haircut and a pencil moustache, has worked with Spanish flamenco greats including Nino De Elche, Antonio Carmona, Kiko Veneno, La Hungara and the Gipsy Kings.

In April he brought some of them together for a performance on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk Concert” series, which has already drawn nearly six million
views on YouTube.

Shifting away from trap, one of rap’s most popular sub-genres, and venturing into a more traditional repertoire was a dangerous move — especially for someone with a young fanbase to whom rumba, bossa nova and bolero sound old-fashioned.

“I think people are tired. They’ve had enough of the predominant aesthetic values that have previously defined pop and urban music,” he said.

Parts of his latest album were recorded in Latin America with Cuban guitarist Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club, Uruguayan
singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, Mexican folk artist Ed Maverick and Brazil’s Toquinho, one of the bossa nova greats.

“What struck me most everywhere I went was the sense of tradition and the way people experienced the most popular music, and I don’t mean pop,” he said.

A new direction

C. Tangana started out in 2006 rapping under the name Crema. When the global economic crisis swept Spain a few years later, hard-hitting trap was
the perfect way to voice the angst of his generation. But after more than a decade of rapping, things changed.

“When I was heading for my 30s, I hit this crisis, I was a bit fed up with what I was doing… and decided to give voice to all these influences that I
never dared express as a rapper,” he said.

The shift began in 2018 with “Un veneno” (“A poison”) which came out a year after his big hit “Mala mujer” (“Bad woman”).

And there was a return to the sounds of his childhood when he used to listen to Spanish folk songs at home, raised by a mother who worked in
education and a journalist father who liked to play the guitar. The Latin American influences came later.

“It started when I was a teenager with reggaeton and with bachata which were played in the first clubs I went to, which were mostly Latin,” he said.

Studying philosophy at the time, he wrote his first raps between stints working in call centres or fast-food restaurants.

As to what comes next, he doesn’t know. But one thing he hopes to do is collaborate with Natalia Lafourcade, a Mexican singer who dabbles in folk, rock and pop — another jack of all musical trades.

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