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EUROVISION

Meet Alfred and Amaia: Spain’s 2018 Eurovision hopefuls

Spain is hoping to improve on its laughable result last year in the Eurovision Song Contest with a romantic ballad between a Catalan boy and a girl from Pamplona.

Meet Alfred and Amaia: Spain’s 2018 Eurovision hopefuls
Could Amaia and Alfred break Spain's Eurovision curse? Photo: TVE Operacion Triunfo

Alfred Garcia, a 20-year-old from El Prat de Llobregat outside Barcelona teamed up with 19-year-old Pamplonesa Amaia Romero to win this year’s national television talent show Operacion Triunfo with their love song Tu Cancion.

The pair were selected in a public vote to represent Spain in the 2018 competition which will take place in Lisbon on May 11th.

WATCH Alfred and Amaia sing Tu Canción:

The couple who sing in Spanish while playing grand pianos hope that they will perform better in the competition than last year’s contestant, Manel Navarro, whose performance on the night became the butt of a thousand online jokes

READ: The best memes after Spain's 2017 Eurovision disaster


Manel was compared to a rooster after his voice cracked trying to reach the high notes during his 2017 performance.

While last year’s entry was an annoyingly repetitive pop song sung in English by a self-styled surfer dude who ended the competition last in 26th  place, this year’s entry is a soulful romantic ballad written specifically for the duo by composer Raul Gomez.

Spain hasn’t fared well in the competition, winning only twice in its history and one of those wins was secured by Franco buying votes. But Spain does have the dubious honour of being one of the countries to receive the most nul points in the history of Eurovision.

READ MORE: Five fantastic facts about Spain in Eurovision

Both Alfred and Amaia are studying music at university but can they break Spain’s Eurovision curse?

This video clip provides the lyrics to the song (and their translation) so you have plenty of time to learn the words in order to singalong on the night.

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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