There’s Buika and Then There’s All the Rest
Translated by Mara Faye Lethem
to the issue 8 page
Buika is a true phenomenon. She sings profound flamenco with a black voice and gypsy mannerisms; she’s a first-generation Spaniard and has chosen Madrid as her home after traveling the world. Buika, Concha Buika, is already, at thirty-six years old, a legend. And she may well be the embodiment of an attribute of Spain, of contemporary Spanish culture and society, of the music that is being made and listened to now, of the changes in tastes and that stubborn hardiness of certain traditions subjected to the shock of globalization, to the tempting and fruitful fusion that postmodernism asks of us.
Because surely ‘fusion’ is the word that defines the scene, and in that sense Spain is no different than the rest of the western world. It’s hard to explain, but it is just that lack of difference, that parity with the rest of the “first world,” that makes this moment radically new… if we compare it to a few years back, when this country was just awakening to freedom and opening its doors to the world beyond and got swept up in its fascination for other types of music, other ways of singing. From that global parity, there’s been a return to the old sounds of certain traditional musical styles. Using the same processes, but with different materials. In the case of Spain, the presence of flamenco is a differential in the equation, parallel in its function to the role corridos or tangos play in other national musical styles.