Giant Darth Vader head falls victim to dark forces on streets of Madrid

The Dark Lord is apparently not so powerful in Spain - a larger-than-life replica of his head in Madrid has been the target of vandalism.

Giant Darth Vader head falls victim to dark forces on streets of Madrid
Photo: Comunidad Star Wars España

The official Star Wars Community of Spain posted quite a sad Facebook message on Sunday, lamenting that they had to dismantle part of a giant Darth Vader helmet on display in Madrid due to vandalism.

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Por si la expo de Face the Force no había tenido suficiente con las pintadas del casco de Stormtrooper, hoy nos despertá…

Posted by Comunidad Star Wars. on Sunday, November 15, 2015

“In case the Face the Force expo had not had enough with the paintings on the Stormtrooper helmet, we woke up today to see damage to the helmet of Darth Vader on the Bilbao roundabout.”

The Face the Force exhibit in Madrid features various, towering helmets from the movie on display around the city. They have been a popular destination for thousands of people, taking selfies to post online, according to Spanish daily 20minutos.

But they have also been the targets of repeated vandalism, first a Stormtrooper's helmet and now the Darth Vader mask being damaged, according to the Star Wars group. The group said it had to remove the upper part of the Dark Lord's helmet until it can be repaired.

Still, the incomplete headpiece hasn't seemed to have made the sculpture less popular with social media photographers, though some seemed to think it had been stolen.

“They stole the helmet of Darth Vader at the Bilbao roundabout belonging to the Face the Force Expo.”

“They left Darth Vader bald at the Bilbao roundabout.”

Some did seem a quite upset over Darth Vader's new look, blaming the “scum” who defiled him.

“Damaging this is the work of one or more imbeciles, scum who don't understand dreams, work or respect.”

“Bastards – that is what the people are who did this.”

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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.