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MUSIC

Ibiza fury as song suggests party island has drug culture

A song about taking drugs in Ibiza has become a smash hit in Europe and the United States, annoying the Spanish holiday island, which is desperate to ditch its reputation for debauchery.

Ibiza fury as song suggests party island has drug culture
The song highlights the debauched side of Ibiza. Photo: Jaime Reina / AFP

The remix by Norwegian duo Seeb of US singer Michael Posner's “I took a Pill in Ibiza” was top of Britain's singles chart this week and also among the top ten in the Billboard singles chart in the US.

The video for the remix has been viewed over 60 million times on YouTube.

The lyrics, which include the line “you don't want to be high like me”, describe Posner's comedown after taking drugs at a party on the Mediterranean island, whose turquoise waters and packed nightclubs have made it one of Europe's top beach destinations.

The video for the remix shows a young man whose head morphs into a giant cardboard mask after he swallows a pill at a nightclub. He is then seen surrounded by revellers who dance, take drugs, throw up and have sex in the bathroom of the nightclub.

“We have invited the author of this song to discover Ibiza because we have much more to offer besides the nightlife which is known worldwide,” the island's tourism director, Vicent Ferrer, told AFP.

“We have museums, beaches, culture, gastronomy, we have a wide offer but unfortunately we have been typecast this way. Unfortunately someone who wants to consume pills or alcohol can be found in any tourist destination, the fact that it is only us who are pigeonholed does not seem fair.”

A former haven for hippies, Ibiza has become an electronic music mecca which is home to several sprawling nightclubs like Privilege and Amnesia that draw top DJs from around the world. It is often listed in guides as a “party capital”.

Last year, US television station MTV dropped plans to film a reality TV show, which would follow the booze-fueled exploits of a group of young people who share a house on the island after the project ran into fierce opposition from local officials.

Ibiza authorities were so worried about the negative impact the show might have on tourism, they called for businesses on the island to boycott production of the show.

Just over 2.5 million people – a third of them British – visited Ibiza and the neighbouring island of Formentera last year, according to regional government figures.

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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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