A new remix of flamenco singer Rocio Márquez’s “Empezaron los Cuarenta” by Spanish electro-punk renegade Bronquio encapsulates the underground essence of authentic flamenco in a throbbing whirlpool of visceral beats. With Márquez’s shivering vocals, the sound of barking dogs in the background, and reverbing echoes of flamenco’s connection with psychedelic rock, it’s music for a raving night on an Andalusian patio, and a call to protest.
Márquez, one of the most important contemporary interpreters of the Southern Spanish song, recorded “Empezaron los Cuarenta” on her latest album, Visto en el Jueves, for which she resurrected songs that she had discovered on albums and cassettes she bought at a neighbourhood flea market.
“Empezaron los Cuarenta” was originally performed by José Mense (1942-2016), who began singing in his father’s shoe store as a child and went on to flamenco fame. The lyrics, by poet Francisco Moreno, talk of the struggle to survive in the post-war period of Francoist Spain, in a country “Giving more goods to the rich and to the poor more miseries.”
“In the current climate of regressions in rights and freedoms I felt it necessary to rescue pieces with an explicit political commitment,” Márquez says.
Bronquio, a former member of a punk band called Gipsy Aliens, and now best known for his 2018 track “Galgo,” is one of the artists to watch from a young urban music vanguard bubbling up in Southern Spain.