The first preserved literary works in Castilian, ie. Spanish in the core country of Castile, is from the 1100’s. Most important are the epic tributes to the war hero Cid, “Poema de mío Cid” and “Cantar de Rodrigo”. The reign of Alfon X (the wise) 1252–84 was conducive to literature and science, and a fruitful symbiosis between Arabic, Jewish and Christian culture emerged. Gonzalo de Berceo, the first Castilian poet known by the name, wrote narrative poems with religious motives. In the 1300’s, the knight novel began to flourish with “Amadís de Gaula”, the first Amadis novel, which received a number of successors. The most significant poet of the Middle Ages was Juan Ruiz. He lived in the 1300’s, was called the “Judge of the Hita,” and was persecuted by the Church for its abominable satires. Early Castilian poetry was greatly influenced by Arabic,Romance, a form of ballad, became and is still very popular and developed into a genuine Spanish poem. The ballads were brought together in songbooks, e.g. “Cancionero de Baena” comprising 583 poems of 55 skaldes. In the 15th century, the awning of Santillana helped to develop the poetry of Spanish poetry. The foremost lyricist of this time was Jorge Manrique.
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Spain, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
With the unification of Spain and its development into great power, in the 16th and 16th centuries a literary golden age, Siglo de Oro, entered. The era began with a realistic masterpiece in dialogue form, “La Celestina”, attributed to Fernando de Rojas. The knight novels were popular during the 16th century, and at the same time the satirical girl novel appeared with “Lazarillo de Tormes” (1554) and later Mateo Alemán’s “Guzmán de Alfarache” and Luis Vélez de Guevara’s “El diablo cojuelo”. In poetry, Garcilaso de la Vega was a significant innovator of form. Great mysterious poets were John of the Cross (Juan de la Cruz) and Teresa of Ávila, both of whom were subjected to religious persecution, as was Luis de León, whose poetry is simple in form and expresses an ascetic outlook on life. At the beginning of the 17th century, Luís de Góngora became the foremost representative of culteranismo with its rich, Latinized and subtle poetry., a Spanish variant of Baroque poetry. One counterpart was the hot-headed satirist and moralist Francisco de Quevedo. The Golden Age’s prose literature culminated with Miguel de Cervantes’ “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” (“The ingenious knight Don Quijote of la Mancha”), an intended satire on the knight novels that grew into the first modern novel, by many still regarded as unmatched in its genre. An important contribution to the novel as a literary form also left the pessimistic philosopher Baltasar Gracián y Morales. The literary Spanish golden age was also greatly epitomized by writers such as Lope de Vega and Calderón.
The Spanish Academy was founded in 1713, but the 18th century became a period of decline for literature in Spain. The French influence was great and culminated towards the end of the century with comedian Leandro Fernández de Moratín influenced by Molière.
The influence of France continued during the 19th century with the romance, which came late in Spain, with two great poets, the revolutionary passionate José de Espronceda y Delgado and the intimately inward GA Bécquer. Towards the end of the century, the philosophical and humorous Ramón de Campoamor made up the bill with the then solidified romance. A brilliant stylist and social critic was MJ de Larra, considered Spain’s first major journalist. The Spanish novel, which has been a thinning existence since the days of Cervante, went against a time of flourishing in the latter half of the 19th century with a series of realistic writers such as PA de Alarcón, Juan Valera, JM de Pereda, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Armando Palacio Valdés and Leopoldo Alas. Some of them depicted regional customs and life forms in the novel’s costumbristas. The greatest novelist, however, was Benito Pérez Galdós, who with his 46 volumes of “Episodios Nacionales” reflected Spain’s 19th century history. A few decades later, another very prolific and popular novelist, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, appeared, whose works often derived their environments from the Valencian region.
The loss of Spain in 1898 by the last significant colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines led to a self-examination and a literary renaissance. The authors of the generación part 1898critically examined the history of the country and its holders of power, the military, the church and the landowners, as well as being interested in the simple people who suffered and carried the burdens of the kingdom. Foremost were the novelist Pío Baroja, the literary universal genius Miguel de Unamuno, the novelist and playwright RM del Valle-Inclán, the essayist and prose artist Azorín and the poet Antonio Machado. A more distinct aesthetic prose was developed by a slightly later generation with Ramón Pérez de Ayala, Gabriel Miró and Ramón Gómez de la Serna. At this time the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset also belonged. The foremost poet after the 1898 generation was JR Jiménez, the 1956 Nobel Laureate. He, with his refined poetry “for the infinite few” became a teacher of a collection of poets, unique in literature history, generación del 1927, including Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, Federico García Lorca, Vicente Aleixandre (1977 Nobel Laureate), Dámaso Alonso, Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda, Emilio Prados, Manuel Altolaguirre, Gerardo Diego and José Bergamín. In addition, the slightly older León Felipe and the slightly younger Miguel Hernández.
The 1920’s and the first half of the 1930’s were a rich heyday of Spanish literature with several great generations of writers in full operation. The Spanish Civil War of 1936–39 meant a brutal setback and meant death, imprisonment or escape for many of them. The most well-known case is Francosidan’s assassination of García Lorca in 1936. An extensive exile literature emerged, in the novel mainly represented by Arturo Barea, Ramón J. Sender and Max Aub, but also by Rosa Chacel, Francisco Ayala and Manuel Andújar, who eventually returned to Spain. Many poets, including most of the generación part 1927, worked in exile. The late Nobel Prize for Jiménez in 1956 was seen as a recognition by the Spanish writers, who had seen themselves forced to leave their country. These became of great importance to the cultural life of Latin America.
The silence of terror that spread over Spain after the end of the civil war in 1939 was gradually broken in the literature, even though the censorship persisted and even with a year survived the death of the dictator Franco in 1975. CJ Cela (1989 Nobel Laureate) made a notable romance debut. Carmen Laforet and a number of other writers during the 1940’s also aroused international interest in their socially critical novels. Their significance, however, became transient with one exception: Miguel Delibes, whose extensive novel production was among the foremost in Spain during the 20th century. It was mainly in the next generation, who did not participate in the civil war but experienced it as children, that the new literature developed. Among the writers who debuted in the 1950’s and the early 1960’s, the pro-righteous Ana María Matute, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Jesús Fernández Santos, Juan and Luis Goytisolo, Ignacio Aldecoa, Carmen Martín Gaite, Juan García Hortelano, Antonio Ferres, Juan Marsé, JM Caballero Bonald and Luis Martín-Santos. Some died prematurely (Martín-Santos, Aldecoa), but from a fairly traditionally realistic and socially critical novel, most underwent a development towards stylistic and literary more advanced writing, and accounted for a long line of the most important efforts in Spanish novel art during the last half. of the 20th century. This tendency was reinforced by late debutants or late-minded writers of the same generation, such as Juan Benet, Miguel Espinosa and Javier Tomeo. Slightly younger are Alvaro Pombo, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Julián Ríos and Eduardo Mendoza. During the 1980’s, the Spanish prose changed significantly with the advent of writers born in the 1950’s or so. You can’t talk about any school or generation. Among the most prominent are Antonio Muñoz Molina, Julio Llamazares, Luis Landero, Rosa Montero, Soledad Puértolas, Javier Marías and Enrique Vila-Matas.
The silence of poetry after the Civil War was broken in 1944 by two collections of poems by Vicente Aleixandre and Dámaso Alonso. Aleixandre provided support and encouragement to several generations of new writers, poets and prose artists. With Antonio Machado and Miguel Hernández as role models, Gabriel Celaya and Blas de Otero pioneered a poetry characterized by social engagement and resistance to oppression. They were followed, as in the prose, in the 1950’s by a broad generation, who greatly influenced their poetry for the rest of the century: Angel González, JA Valente, Angel Crespo, Carlos Barral, Jaime Gil de Biedma, JA Goytisolo and JM Caballero Bonald. The somewhat younger Carlos Alvarez attracted a great deal of international attention for his critical dictation, open to the dictatorship. Poets of later generations include Claudio Rodríguez,
Among the 20th century’s essays are Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Salvador de Madariaga, José Ortega y Gasset, María Zambrano, José Luis López Aranguren, Carlos Castilla del Pino and Fernando Savater.
See also Basque literature, Galician literature and Catalan literature.
Drama and theater
The Spanish drama is of religious origin, although in the Middle Ages there was also worldly theater. Juan del Encina, “the father of the Spanish theater,” wrote religious plays at the beginning of the 16th century, but also freed the drama from the church bands. Lope de Rueda moved the theater from the court to the market places and reached a large audience with his ambulatory squad. Juan de la Cueva renewed the drama by using romances and ballads as a basis. Siglo de Oro, the literary golden age of the 16th and 1600’s, became a time of great drama, mainly through Lope de Vega and Calderón. Lope de Vega made Spain one of the leading theater countries in the world. Of his more than 1,500 pieces, a third are preserved. He got his main successor in Tirso de Molina. Calderón wrote both comedies and tragedies, but it is in his deeply religious and philosophical works that his greatness is most evident. The foremost playwright of the 18th century was the Leandro Fernández de Moratín influenced by Molière.
Towards the end of the 19th century, José Echegaray, Nobel laureate in 1904, wrote popular, melodramatic works, sometimes with social tendencies, an orientation deepened by Joaquín Dicenta. Jacinto Benavente, Nobel laureate in 1922, was an ironic observer of bourgeois environments and RM del Valle-Inclán, in the generación part of 1898, an innovative playwright whose universal grandeur became increasingly evident over the years. Federico García Lorca, in the generación del 1927, soon reached world renown with his poetic, dark tragedies but also with lighter, imaginative works and surrealistic experimental plays. Among the playwrights after the civil war of 1936–39 are the social critics Antonio Buero Vallejo and Alfonso Sastre as well as Lauro Olmo, Antonio Gala and Javier Tomeo. See also Catalan theater.
As early as 1897, Fructuós Gelabert (1874–1955) made the first Spanish film, a short feature film, which was followed by a series of documentaries. During the 1910’s, Barcelona was the production center, but since the 1920’s Madrid has been the heart of the film industry.
A censorship authority was established in 1913. This banned the viewing of Luis Buñuel’s documentary “Las Hurdes – Land without Bread” in 1932 because of the bleak image the film gave of the remote region. After the civil war, Franco tightened the censorship rules, and even foreign films were cut ruthlessly before showing. In 1942, the regime monopolized the production of short and documentary films, and in 1944-73 a man single-handedly decided on Spanish film production, from 1951 the admiral and Minister of Culture Luis Carrero Blanco. A number of films were produced that glorified partly the efforts of the nationalist forces during the civil war, e.g. “Raza” (1941), partly the history of Spain.
In the 1950’s, the turning point came when Spanish films began to gain international appreciation and distribution, especially films by Juan Antonio Bardem (1922–2002), Luis García Berlanga and Carlos Saura. Then Spain also became the scene for many Italian spaghetti western films and peplum films, ie. costly historical films and hero films with mythological motifs, as well as American major productions. Orson Welles was also resident and active there for a few years.
In 1961 Buñuel returned to Spain and made “Viridiana”, which was banned after the premiere of alleged anti-clericalism and blasphemy. During the 1960’s a new generation of filmmakers also appeared, who at first could only metaphorically express their social criticism. Gradually the political pressure eased so that Buñuel in 1969 could do “Tristana” in Spain.
During the 1970’s, producer José Luis Borau (1929–2012) served as the creative center; Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón (born 1942), Vicente Aranda (born 1926) and Jaime Camino (born 1936) heard of the new talents he gave the opportunity to make films. Following the fall of the Franco regime followed films that expressed antipascism for years, e.g. documentaries such as Basilio Martín Patinos (born 1930) “Caudillo” (1976).
In 1977, the censorship authority was dissolved and replaced by a Junta de Clasificación with advisory duties. The one who most creatively exploited the new freedoms was Pedro Almodóvar, whose “Women on the verge of nervous breakdown” (1988) made him world famous. Other known names are José Luis Garci (born 1944) whose “Volver a empezar” (1982) as well as Fernando Truebas (born 1955) “Belle Époque” (1992) was awarded the Oscar for best foreign film, Álex de la Iglesia (born 1965), Santiago Segura (born 1965) and Alejandro Amenabár, who mainly made English-language films (“The Others”, 2001) but also the Spanish “Cry with a smile” (2004) which was also awarded the Oscars. A Basque director with a world reputation is Julio Médem (“The Lovers at the Arctic Circle”, 1998, “Room in Rome”, 2010).
Spanish actors who have also succeeded internationally include Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, Antonio Banderas, Javier Bardem, Carmen Maura and Penélope Cruz.
Spain also produces English-language films also by foreign directors, e.g. Miloš Forman (“Goya’s Ghost”, 2006) and Woody Allen (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, 2008). In 2009, 122 feature films and 60 documentaries were produced in Spain. Domestic market share was around 20%.
The art of the Iberians was akin to the art of Mediterranean cultures. Their most famous work of art is the sculpture “The Lady from Elche”, from the 20th century BC (Prado, Madrid). The Romans did not develop the visual arts in Spain to any significant degree, but left behind some monumental buildings. The Visigoths, who predominated in Spain 400–700 AD, shone in the jewelery art and produced magnificent votive crowns. The conquest of the Arabs by much of today’s Spain and Portugal in the 7th century began a new era, which would last until the 15th century. In southern Spain, in particular, Arab architecture flourished, which in time would also influence the visual arts in Spain, while the geometric Arabic visual arts hardly gained any greater influence in Spain.
In the Christian north of Spain, the Romanesque style was developed in the 11th century, and the churches were decorated with frescoes, as in the abyss of Sant Climent de Taüll (Pyrenees), later relocated to Barcelona. The Gothic style grew in the 1300’s, influenced first from Italy and later from Flanders. The artists began to use oil on the panel in the late 15th century under Dutch influence, and retablos (altar sets) became the dominant art form. Prominent artists were Pedro Berruguete and Jaume Huguet.
The Renaissance period in Spain began at the time of Spain’s unification (1479). Prominent artists were Alejo Fernández, Juan de Borgoña and Vicente Juan Macip. The polychrome sculpture was developed by Alonso Berruguete. During the second half of the 16th century, the Baroque is represented by Francisco Ribalta and Juan de Roelas, later by Jusepe de Ribera. The transition to the 17th century was largely marked by El Greco, who came from Crete via Venice to Spain in 1577.
The 17th century is called the golden age of Spanish painting. Zurbarán developed a distinctive realistic painting in his bodegones (still life). At the same time, his work expressed the religion of Spanish asceticism. Velázquez, one of Spain’s greatest artists of all time, became the court painter of King Philip IV of Madrid. The color scheme in his paintings, gray tones with elements of white, red and black, became style-forming. Murillo became famous for his children’s and Madonna pictures. Prominent sculptors were Gregorio Fernández and Pedro de Mena.
During the 18th century, academia took a prominent role. Academia de San Fernando was founded in Madrid in 1752. During the second half of the century, the art life of the French rococo style was characterized. Goya became the court painter of King Charles IV. He portrayed the royal and court representatives in a distinctive satirical style with socially critical undertones. At a later stage he depicted in drawings and graphics with strong expressiveness the resistance of the Spanish people to the French. Also famous are his pinturas negras (‘black paintings’) with imaginative motifs.
After the year 1800, neoclassicalism became the dominant style of José de Madrazo. Later, artists were inspired by the romance, and elements of Oriental and Moorish motifs became commonplace. The second half of the 19th century was characterized by eclecticism, with history painters such as Benito Mercadé and Mariano de la Roca.
Darío de Regoyos and Joaquín Sorolla linked to Impressionism. It took a while before modernism got its breakthrough in Spain. The most renowned Spanish modernists were active in Paris: Picasso and Juan Gris in Cubism and Dalí, Oscar Domínguez (1906–58) and Miró in Surrealism. The sculptor Julio González was also active in Paris. After Franco’s victory in the civil war, censorship was introduced in Spain, which hampered the free development of art life. Yet several artist groups were formed after the Second World War: Dau al Set in Barcelona in 1948, Grupo El Paso in Madrid in 1957, Equipo 57 in Paris in 1957 and Equipo Crónica in Valencia in 1965. Among contemporary Spanish artists include Antoni Tàpies, Eduardo Arroyo, Miquel Barceló, Rafael Canogar, Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura, Manolo Valdés and Darío Villalba.
The Prado Museum in Madrid (inaugurated in 1819) is one of the most important art museums in the Western world, with significant collections of Spanish art in particular. Two new important museums, both near the Prado Museum, have reinforced Madrid’s role as an important art center: in the mid-1980’s, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, which houses the state’s collection of 20th-century art, was inaugurated. Picasso’s “Guernica”, while Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, with a distinguished private collection of about 700 works, was inaugurated in 1992.
The Arab-Moorish influence that Spanish craftsmanship sustained until the end of the 1400’s was strongly asserted in the Renaissance Mudéjar style. While the shape and construction of the furniture was simple, the surfaces were flooded with gilded arabesques, star patterns, etc. The character furniture of the time was vargueñon, a magnificently decorated and decorated writing cabinet with vertical folding flap. Neither did the Baroque show any interest in the basic shapes of the furniture, but excelled in spiral-turned details, precious inlays and colorful furniture upholstery in silk and golden leather – as in Italy and Portugal, splendor and representativeness were put before convenience. The wasteful rich use of gold and silver, but also of gemstones and ivory, however, sought to quench through various abundance ordinances.
Among the other branches of the arts, ceramics occupied the foremost place. This also affected the development of the Italian faience art, among other things. through the Moors introduced the luster decor with the Alhambrava vases as the most famous representatives. Not least significant was the tile art, introduced in the 1300’s from the Islamic cultural circle with Spain as the first European country. Significant examples are the colorful figural or geometric compositions that could cover the walls of a building both inside and outside. See also Alcora Ceramics and Capodimonte-Buen Retiro.
The antiquities in Spain left behind magnificent monuments, including the Roman aqueduct in Segovia and the theaters in Mérida. The West Gothic period set aside remarkable churches in northwestern Spain, including San Pedro de la Nave near Zamora. From the Arab era, powerful structures such as the Mosque in Córdoba, the Alcázar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada remain. In Mozarabic architecture, Christian cult is united with Arabic design, as in San Miguel de Escalada near León (inaugurated 913). Throughout the Middle Ages, with two dominant religions, mixed forms arose in architecture, including the Mudéjar style with strong Moorish elements.
The Romanesque church architecture in Catalonia shows the influence of Northern Italy, while the pilgrimage churches in the northern parts of Castile and the mighty cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (1075–1128) were erected in Romanesque style according to French designs. The Gothic cathedrals of Burgos, Toledo and León from the 13th century were erected under strong French influence, while later Gothic churches were built by German architects. With the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede from the 15th century and the two cathedrals in Segovia and Salamanca from the 16th century by Juan and Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the Gothic in Spain ended in a tight form with restrained ornamentation. The Catalan Gothic got a special character with wide rooms and internal pillars, as in the huge cathedrals of Barcelona, Palma and Girona.
The portal facade of Salamanca’s university building (c. 1525), like the golden staircase in the Cathedral of Burgos, represents the richly ornamented plate style that was used both during Gothic and Renaissance, while Karl V ‘s strict Renaissance palace in the Alhambra (begun in 1526) was built wave. With the convent of Escorial (1563–84), Juan de Herrera created an ascetic Renaissance style. Around 1600, monumental arcaded walls were laid out in many cities. 18th century Baroque developed in Spain into a lavish variety called churriguer style.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the bourgeois society’s modernism grewstyle with eclectic, organic forms; especially developed by Antoni Gaudí. In the 1920’s, the ideas of international modernism were introduced, but after the Civil War of 1936, a retrospective historical architecture was trained under fascist influence. A modernist tendency classified as rationalism emerged in the 1950’s. The most influential architects of the period were José Antonio Coderch with works as a residence in Barceloneta, Barcelona, (1951) and Alejandro de la Sota with Maravilla’s gymnasium in Madrid (1957). The Catalan group called the Barcelona School combined under the leadership of Oriol Bohiga’s modernism and tradition in the 1960’s. An early example is the Meridian building in Barcelona (1964) by Josep Martorell, Oriol Bohigas and David Mackay. In Madrid, the new architecture took on more organic form with Torres Blancas (1968) by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza as an example. The 1970’s and 1980’s, when public construction became large in scope after the end of the Franco era, are characterized by an individualistic, eclectic architecture based on modernism, which emphasizes adaptation to the site, mainly represented by Rafael Moneo with Bankinter in Madrid (1976) and the National Museum of Roman art in Mérida (1986). New modernism with conceptual elements is represented by the works of Albert Viaplanas and Helio Pión in Barcelona. Plaza del Països Catalans (1983).
Folk music and classical music
Folk and art music in Spain originated in early Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek and Roman colonies and in the long Arab conquest. The first records of music in Spain, from the 500’s, relate to the music of the West Gothic liturgy, after the Arab invasion called Mozarabic song. In the 8th century the Gregorian song penetrated via Catalonia.
From the 1100’s, profane music gained importance through the influence of Provencal troubadours and was favored in the 13th century by Alfons X (the wise), at whose court a lot of cantigas, songs in Galician-Portuguese. Religious works are marked “Misterio de Elche” from the 1300’s, which is still performed annually in the city of Elche.
In the 16th century, Renaissance music was significant in Spain with composers such as Juan de Anchieta (1462-1523), Juan del Encina and Francisco de Peñalosa (born c. 1470, died 1528). Much of the music from that time is preserved in song collections, cancer roses. During the 16th century the Spanish polyphony was also developed, which got its main expression in the church work of Tomás Luis de Victoria, and in the instrumental music the Spanish vihuela school with Luis de Milán, Luis de Narváez (born about 1500, died between 1550 and 1560) and Alonso de Mudarra (born about 1510, died in 1580). Particularly noticeable is the composition of key instrumentsAntonio de Cabezón.
In the 1600’s, a Spanish music theater form, Zarzuelan, emerged with Juan Hidalgo (born about 1612, died in 1684) to lyrics by Calderón. It met strong competition from the Italian opera during the 18th and 19th centuries, which also got Spanish representatives, including Vicente Martín y Soler (1754-1806).
From the mid-1800’s into the 1900’s, the Zarzuela flourished again with Francisco Barbieri (1823–94), Tomás Bretón (1850–1923), Ruperto Chapí (1851–1909), Amadeo Vives (1871–1932), and Federico Moreno Tórroba (1891–1982). At the end of the nineteenth century, Felipe Pedrell made a groundbreaking research effort on early Spanish folk and art music, which became of great importance to the nationally embedded tone art in Spain during the first half of the 20th century with Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, Joaquín Turina and Joaquín Rodrigo. In other ways, the brothers Rodolfo Halffter and Ernesto Halffter went. From the 1950’s, avant-garde movements gained a foothold in Spain with composers such as Cristóbal Halffter, Luis de Pablo (born 1930), Ramón Barce (1928–2008), Tomás Marco and José Ramón Encinar (born 1954).
Since the early Middle Ages, Catalan music has been a very important part of the tone art in Spain (see Catalan music and dance).
Spanish folk music exhibits a great deal of regional variety, depending on the influences of a variety of cultures. This is reflected in the often locally embossed instrument flora. Guitars and castanets are used throughout the country. Sackpipes are common in northern Spain, especially in Galicia, tinplate and woodwind in Catalonia, drums in the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands.
A distinctive side shot of Spanish folk music and dance is flamenco.
Spain has had a strong tradition in opera with a number of internationally renowned singers such as Victoria de los Ángeles, Teresa Berganza, Montserrat Caballé, Manuel García, Alfredo Kraus, Giacomo Aragall, José Carreras and Placido Domingo. Instrumentalists include violinist Pablo de Sarasate, cellist Pau Casals, pianist José Iturbi and guitarists Narciso Yepes and Andrés Segovia.
During the Franco regime, culture and thus also popular music stood under censorship. The nationalist ambitions meant that music forms like flamenco were promoted, while music traditions that were not considered to be Spanish were suppressed or banned. Nevertheless, the British and American pop that reached Spain had a great impact on both listeners and musicians, for example the band Los Brincos (formed 1964) which was often called “Spain’s Beatles”. Several pop bands translated hit songs from English to Spanish, and in the 1960’s, the pop genre called ye-yé (after English “yeah-yeah”) broke through with artists such as Concha Velasco (born 1939). The style of music was heavily influenced by British and American pop music with high tempo, and flamenco elements soon gained a Spanish feel.
During the 1960’s, the pressure from Franco also eased somewhat. Once again it became possible to sing, for example, Catalan. The Nova Cançó movement, created as early as the 1950’s to promote Catalan music, created a new Catalan song genre whose main artists were Joan Manual Serrat (born 1943), Raimon (actually Ramon Pelegero Sanchis, born 1940), Lluís Llach (born 1948) and Maria del Mar Bonet (born 1947). Performers such as Mikel Laboa (1934–2008) and Benito Lertxundi (born 1942) also appeared in the Basque country.
In the late 1960’s, a renewal of the flamenco music, nuevo flamenco, was also initiated by the guitarist Paco de Lucía and not least the singer El Camaron de la Isla (1951–92) who merged the traditional flamencon with jazz, salsa and other Latin rhythms. In the 1980’s, the development of the new flamencon took further momentum with groups such as Pata Negra, Ketama and Gipsy Kings. The latter actually come from France but sing in Spanish and have fathers who are Spanish Romans who were forced to leave Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War.
However, popular music had already been linked to folk music early in a tradition from Concha Piquer (1908–90) to Lola Flores (1923–95) and Sara Montiel (1928–2013). Among others who paved the way for a number of more pop-influenced Spanish singers and singers from the 1970’s were Raphael (actually Rafael Martos Sánchez, born 1943), Massiel (really María de los Ángeles Santamaría Espinosa, born 1947), Maria Jiménez (born 1951), Mari Trini (1947–2009) and, not least, Julio Iglesias, who, with his romantic beats, has achieved international fame.
After Franco’s death in 1975, a movement called La Movida Madrileña (‘The Madrid Movement’) emerged that revitalized cultural life, and not least the popular music scene exploded and a number of new artists saw the light of day. From this alternative music movement emerged during the 1980’s well-established groups such as Radio Futura, Nacha Pop, Los Nikis, Aviador Dro and Mecano and artists such as Joaquín Sabina (born 1949), Ramoncín (really José Ramón Julio Márquez Martínez, born 1955), Miguel Bosé (born 1956) and Alaska (actually Olvido Gara Jova, born 1963).
Spanish popular music has since the 1980’s expanded to include everything from pop, rock, punk and heavy metal to hip-hop and electronica. In the mid-1980’s, the electronic dance music form balearic beat, developed mainly by disc jockeys at the nightclubs on the tourist island of Ibiza (hence the name). The rock band Héroes del Silencio reached abroad with his music in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Other popular pop and rock artists have been the group La Oreja de Van Gogh and the singers Marta Sánchez (born 1966) and Mónica Naranjo (born 1974). In the alternative rock scene, you can see Los Planetas, Dorian, Vetusta Morla and Supersubmarina, while Barón Rojo, Extremoduro, Tierra Santa and WarCry are some of the more prominent heavy metal bands.
The Latin pop genre, with rhythms and music influenced by Latin American music, has become very popular in Spain since the 1990’s. The artists come from all over the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world. Prominent artists from Spain have been Rocío Dúrcal (1944–2006), David Bisbal (born 1979), Alejandro Sanz (born 1968) and Julio Iglesia’s son Enrique Iglesias (born 1975), who have also achieved international success.
Spain has been famous for its rich dance culture at least since the first century AD, when the Roman poet Martialis wrote about the famous dancers from Cadiz. During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque, dance was an essential part of theater performances, both religious and, above all, profane. Immigration of different peoples, e.g. Moors and Roma, also affected the dance. The Italian, later also the French, influence prevailed from the mid-17th century.
Their own dance culture has been of great significance for the theater dance and has lived side by side with the ballet. Four areas have been developed: folk dance, where each region has its own special dance (eg jota from Aragon, muñeira from Galicia and sardana from Catalonia), the classical Bolero school, flamenco and the neoclassical dance.
In the 20th century, several Spanish dance artists have achieved international reputation, including La Argentina, La Argentinita, Pilar López, Antonio and Rosario, Carmen Amaya and Antonio Gades. The modern freestyle dance developed late in Spain and did not gain a foothold until the early 1980’s. Spain has two national ballets: Ballet National (founded in 1978), which focuses on Spanish dance culture, and Compania National de Danza (founded in 1979), which has mostly worked with classical ballet, but since 1990 has a more modern approach. In addition, there are a large number of groups for ballet, modern dance and Spanish dance, which are usually centered around a Flamenco artist.
Spain is one of Europe’s most mountainous countries, and the previously hard-to-reach mountain chains have contributed to the emergence of a number of regional cultural forms, among which not least languages or dialects have become important distinguishing factors. Particularly important as a cultural divider, the Pyrenees were given early, which in several respects shielded the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Western Europe and strongly contributed to the Spanish folk culture coming first and foremost with the other Mediterranean. This, of course, also contributed to the historical conditions through the long dominion exercised by conquerors and immigrants from the south and east: Carthaginians, Romans and Moors. By contrast, the traces of the northern Celtic and Germanic immigrants are far more difficult to discern in recent Iberian folk culture.
However, with the strong regionalization in some respects, the uniformity of several material cultural elements has been striking – so for example. rural folk dwellings and the older agricultural holdings, which long ago were characterized by great old age (smoking houses, threshing by trampling). Due to the lack of forest, the dwellings have mainly been constructed of stone and / or clay, with small windows and doorways to contribute to the insulation against external heat and cold. In terms of development, northern Spain differs with small villages and numerous lone farms from, for example. the larger, closed villages of the mesetan, sparsely placed after access to groundwater. The poverty that was once common among both tenants and self-sufficient peasants has greatly contributed to conservatism in terms of working methods, etc.
Among crafts with a rich tradition are ceramics, which have long been operated without a turntable and today have received a new boost through tourism. In its form portfolio, influences are traced from, among other things, Moors. In particular, men’s costumes exhibited large regional differences and contained age-old features, e.g. long shawls, combined with fashion features from the 18th century. Some such costume details have remained in the bullfighting mantle.
The bullfights are an example of the rich festive traditions of the Spaniards, which also contains one of tourism-supported stocks of religious parties with processions and pilgrimage trains, often in combination with markets. Especially on such occasions, an extensive dance tradition with associated music has been developed – bolero, sardana and jota are examples from Andalusia, Catalonia and Aragon respectively. Chestnuts are a familiar element in dance and singing.
The interest in preserving folk poetry was aroused by the mid-19th century. While collecting activities in the rest of the country culminated in the latter part of the 19th century, it gained a new boost in the 20th century in Catalonia, from which very extensive and valuable collections exist of popular as well as prose and poetry. The importance of regionalism is also reflected in the case of museums and other institutions for the study of popular culture – the central efforts in this area are largely left to the local.
Food and wine
For Spanish food traditions and wine making, see Spanish food and Spanish wines, respectively.