Día de Andalucía
SUNDAY 28TH FEB 2021
HIGHLIGHT / CHARLES PONS
El Día de Andalucía, the 28th February, is a very special day for us. This wonderful day marks not only the final sunset of the month of February of every 3 out of 4 years, but it commemorates the day which, 41 years ago, our favourite Spanish region became an autonomous community.
El Día de Andalucía is a celebration of the southernmost Spanish community and it’s culture, that which has brought us not only as many culinary masterpieces as we can fill our stomachs with – olive oil in abundance and a vast variety of seafood with a list too long to name – but which has played a significant part in shaping our musical tastes from a very young age. Growing up in Gibraltar, a stone’s throw from cities like Malaga, Cádiz and Sevilla, the rave and (most notably) breakbeat scene emanating from the area in the late 90s and early 2000s brought with it the first sounds of electronic music that we heard. Fortunate were we to be brought up with botellón culture and the ridiculously-sized car-boot speakers that accompanied, blasting out sounds from the likes of Dj Karpin, Dj Kilian, Dj Varo, Dj Goku and Dj XuKo – to name but a few.
The scene emphasised breaks. Big kicks and even bigger snares; with no limits on what track could be bootlegged to become the next anthem played out anywhere from a car boot to a party that held hundreds of people – many times inside a tent, or carpa, as we called them. From renditions of the exorcist’s theme song, to others that reimagined an airline’s take-off as the introduction; to any track featuring a spectrum of synth and break madness.
It was this open and no-holds-barred creativity behind the breakbeat tracks and bootlegs of the era that saw Dj Karpin release his track Semana Santa. This adaptation of the sounds of Seville’s easter processions featured a fantastic accompanying raw amen break layered on top, resulting in a track which was equal parts absurd as it was an absolute banger – ticking all the boxes and capturing the essence of the Andalucían breakbeat culture.
At the time we were way too young to fully understand or take a deeper look into what it was that formed this sound and its tremendous growth in the region. Producers and DJs such as Kultür and Anuschka (who has a variety of spellings of her name online) came before our time and, without a doubt, played a big part at the forefront of the scene. I will always remember – having been many years too young to drive – sitting in the back seat of a friend’s dad’s Subaru WRX, speeding through the very few kilometres of Gibraltar’s roads one afternoon. While drifting round roundabouts with DJ Kultür’s BEAT DIS! CD blasting out the car’s speakers, he reminisced of days gone by and I held on for life trying to survive the intense car ride home.
It’s sad to think that this golden era of (retro or otherwise labelled) breaks is far gone, remaining solely among us nostalgic 25 to 40-odd year olds (with or without our Subarus and car boot speaker systems). But it makes me ever so happy to know that all hope is not lost; with our previously published Seville collective Califato 3/4 making sure to carry through such references in the context a contemporary take on the Andaluz electronic sound, as can be heard in their 2019 track Crîtto de lâ Nabahâ – a fabulously produced track that pays perfect homage to the aforementioned Dj Karpin banger from all those years ago.
Every time I’m feeling nostalgic I’m eternally grateful for the Spanish YouTube community and their dedication to the documentation of these sounds that formed such a big part of our younger years. Between bouncing back and forth in my seat whilst listening to the endless hours of Andaluz DJ aliases on YouTube, I’ve been sure to drown my bread in olive oil, bathe it in sugar and see it down with a liquor-laced coffee. ¡Viva Andalucía libre!