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Meet the 19-year-old Spaniard who crowd surfed in a wheelchair

A heavy metal fan in a wheelchair was given the opportunity to surf above the crowd during the performances of some of his favourite bands this weekend.

Meet the 19-year-old Spaniard who crowd surfed in a wheelchair
This is image of Alex Dominguez crowd surfing went viral.Photo: Daniel Cruz /Resurrection Fest

Álex Domínguez, was one of more than 100,000 people to attend Resurrection Fest, in Viveiro, Galicia, but it was his crowd-surfing picture that took the internet by storm, going viral for all the right reasons. 

Domínguez, a law student from Baños de Río Tobía (La Rioja), travelled almost 365 miles by bus with his  mother, to attend the festival.

The young 'metal head', who uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, was raised above the crowd by his fellow attendees during a performance of his favourite band, Arch Enemy, proving that, if everyone chips in, music festivals really can be accessible to all. 

Several videos of the elated youngster crowd-surfing over the sea of fans spread across social media, but one photo, taken by one of the official photographers of the festival, Daniel Cruz, went viral.

“With this type of music it’s common for people to be lifted up in the air,” Cruz told the Spanish edition of the Huff Post. “It’s a way of taking part, of doing the same things that everyone else does.”

Domínguez described how he felt “like God” as he flew above the crowd. “It’s a feeling of adrenaline, of freedom, that there are no limits or barriers and that you can achieve anything if what you wish for is true,” he told NueveCuartoUno.

The band Arch Enemy also shared the video of their young fan surfing above the crowd.

The 19-year-old, a student of the University of La Rioja, is used to breaking down barriers, having being told when he was younger that he would not be able to learn to write. “Believe in yourself, not in other people’s old-fashioned prejudices” is Álex’s message, “If you want to, you can.”

By Alice Huseyinoglu

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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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