The music that makes Hospitalet de Llobregat beat

In all concerts and videos,.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 11:23
5 Reads
The music that makes Hospitalet de Llobregat beat

In all concerts and videos,

"We are pioneers, paleolithic people from the district, people from the city", says David Lafuente, sitting on a sofa in the offices of the Salamandra room, a musical reference point with more than 2,000 performances in its three decades of history. "We opened the hall in 1996, and we already saw that we were in a strategic location, an industrial area, but close to residential neighborhoods with a subway station next to it," recalls Lafuente about the beginnings on Avenida del Carrilet. "Synergies were soon created, they opened rehearsal spaces and instrument shops around".

One of these spaces is at the corner of Salamandra. This is Fabregada 38, eight floors of an industrial building that houses more than 250 rehearsal spaces and which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Artists of all kinds and genres come to these facilities to play rock, hip-hop or DJ sessions in spaces that also host recording studios, spaces for YouTubers and radio stations. "Morad was always around before he became famous", recalls Alberto Serrano, manager of the space, who also mentions the group La Caja de Pandora. Among the virtues of the space, Serrano highlights the fact that they operate 24 hours a day in an area that, on a musical scale, "is quite busy, both in terms of rock and punk and urban music".

There are more rehearsal rooms, such as La Universal and the Mood Factory recording studios, which are complemented by the rehearsal rooms, which operate in Bellvitge, located in the lower floors of the blocks of flats, spaces designed as storage for in the shops and bars in the neighborhood that have been used as rehearsal rooms for years. This is the case of La Ludwig Band, the folk group born in Espolla (Alt Empordà), but rooted in this area, where there are more than 50 rooms of the same class that share the neighborhood with evangelical churches and liturgies full of music.

In the Bellvitge neighborhood lie the origins of the La Séptima recording studio, a reference point for urban music, which hosts artists such as Lia Kali, Sofía Gabanna, Hard GZ and Morad himself. "There was a lot of demand here, it's cheaper and we have many friends in the area, it was all very natural", explains Marcelus Airlinez, one of the people responsible for this study located in the Can Serra neighborhood. "There are 50-year-olds who have been making music all their lives, and also young people from the high school here who are recording their first project." Together they form a fabric that is considered outside the institutions, with whom they do not manage to tune in. "When we approach the institutions, we notice that we are trying to unite two worlds that turn their backs on each other". In this sense, Marcelus highlights the problems of working with a culture that feels stigmatized, with its conflicts, "there is a lot of tension with everything that has happened with Morad and the MDLR [Mec de la rue, nois del carrer]" , he says in allusion to the riots and court convictions, "the clash is not between the Spanish community and the Maghreb, but between the Maghreb and the Latin". Music can play a conciliatory role between Caribbean formations, reggaeton and dembow, on the one hand, and the Franco-Arabic sound of musicians like Morad. "Here we have this whole mix of reggaeton style with Arabic, French, second generation immigrants; the studio is a huge meeting point".

La Salamandra and Fabregada 38 have in common the location, alde l'Hospitalet, an old industrial area crossed by Cobalt street that has been galvanized by the City Council as a cultural hub for more than a decade, and has attracted more than 500 artists from all over over the last decade. "The transformation of Barcelona's 22@ district forced many artists of different disciplines to leave the spaces where they worked", explains Mireia Mascarell, technician of Culturadel Consistori, about the origin of the project. These cultural migrants found similar spaces with lower rents.

The connection with the fabric of the city is an objective of the Cultural District shared by the Houses of Music, a project launched in 2005 to promote live music beyond the ecosystem of the city of Barcelona. "Outside the city there isn't that much of a music market, it's more vocational and you need other lines of business to sustain the live programming," explains David Lafuente.

Casas de la Música are currently carrying out a mapping of concert halls in Catalonia to find out their needs. "We want to show that we don't just do one-off concerts, but that we are also a necessary space for the city", emphasizes the coordinator, Eduard Bacardí. In l'Hospitalet, the Casa de la Música collaborates with the Municipal School of Music on integration projects in primary and secondary schools, such as Rocking, an initiative in which they want to involve the Sónar festival.

The opening of Salamandra came to occupy a hole in a city with 300,000 inhabitants that did not have spaces for live music. "There used to be small bars, such as La Catedral, which is now Kfé Olé, where jazz and blues concerts were held." There were also pioneering spaces in the dj world, such as Depósito Legal, founded in 1985, Compliche, A Sako o KO, "it was a dj nursery, here they learned to play and then went to Barcelona", highlights Lafuente. These premises complemented the pioneering proposal of culture classrooms, cultural centers born during the transition to bring culture closer to the population. "Each neighborhood had its own, truly transgressive neighborhood culture spaces, where concerts, cinema and exhibitions were held."

Today, the city has, in addition to Salamandra, places like La Zowi, River and El Pumarejo, one of the examples of migration from the center to the periphery. Born in 2015 in the neighborhood of Vallcarca, the collective El Pumarejo has been installed on Avenida del Carrilet for years, open to the most innovative and free projects in the performing arts, video art and music.

"There is a lot of musical life in l'Hospitalet", says Pau Balaguer, one of the members of the collective, in addition to being part of the group Habla de Mí en Presente. "The Pumarejo reminded me a lot of the community spaces in Berlin, something that goes beyond money, with the aim of promoting culture". In the same vein, there are house parties that are held in the city, which serve as a breeding ground and are where bands like Habla de Mí en Presente and Fotos de la Novia emerge, another formation that uses l'Hospitalet as based on operations, like Sidonie, Love of Lesbian and Dorian years ago, which rehearse in the city before disembarking in Barcelona. "It's easy here because there are many industrial areas, huge spaces where you don't disturb anyone".

"Sometimes we are the tail of a pike, and at other times, the head of a herring", says David Lafuente about the relationship with Barcelona, ​​complicated by the resistance of its residents to get closer to the city. The situation changes a little thanks to the Let's festival, which manages to attract Barcelona residents, with a line-up that this year has included artists such as Jimena Amarillo, La Paloma and Iván Ferreiro, but there is a long way to go before Catalonia's second city gets recognition musical that its protagonists want with the same pride that Morad exhibits every time he shows the L to remember his origins.