This time I’ve been quick in order to arrive in time for the “txupinazo” of San Fermin. The things is that the topic I’ve chosen has a lot to do with this festival and with… well… “La Fiesta”. Every year, Pamplona (like many other towns and villages) is involved in controversy due its main activity.
Luckily, every year’s protests have begun to leave a mark, and voices that not long ago claimed San Fermin not to have sense without bullfight, are starting to soften, and now we can hear options that don’t imply any bull’s torture or death.
Like in Pamplona, in many other places steps towards most civilized celebrations are being taken. Unfortunately, not in all the cases is this goal being reached trough the way of the reason, but but the exercise of the law.
Until not very long ago, this scene seemed quite imposible, and many bands and soloists have expressed in their lyrics the incredulity and anger that bullfighting produced on them. The repertoire could be very long, but I’ve selected six. Some of them, because they’re the ones I like most. And also a pair of song that have surprised me, and they may surprise you too.
Before I put them one by one alongside their corresponding introduction, I leave you the playlist below this paragraph (there’s one song missing, because it’s not on Spotify). You can follow the list (subscribe). and if you leave a comment (here, on Facebook or on Twitter) with some suggestion, I’ll add them too.
Rojo (Barricada, 1988)
We start badly. With a song that has ambiguous lyrics, and can be for or against bullfighting. Like El Drogas explained in an interview, Fernando “made it for bullfighting and I sing it against. That challenge makes the song anti-bullfighting. The secret is there: in the reading you do”. But it seems like a rock band has to be against bullfighting. The opposite would be very strange. That’s why El Drogas added: “I don’t mind the reading the author of the lyrics does. Barricada had to define itself as an anti-bullfighting band”.
Grana Y Oro (Reincidentes, 1997)
The Sevillians break all the clichés about Andalusia as a reference of Spanishness: in their cocerts they shout things like “Long life free Basque Country and free Andalusia”, and they dare, in the cradle of bullfighting, write one of the best known and more sung anti-bullfighting songs: Grana y Oro.
Maybe with the intention to shake that cape off, they forget about the lyricism that Barricada used in Rojo, and they point at the shed blood and the celebration of death and torture as a typical Spanish product.
Vergüenza (Ska-p, 2000)
Ska-p is one of the thugest bands in Spain, regarding the topics of their songs. So a song against bullfighting is a must in their repertoire. But they have not only one, but three anti-bullfighting songs: Vergüenza, Abolición and Wild Spain.
I’ve chosen Vergüenza, mostly because it’s the one I like most from these three. Besides, using something so “bullfighter” as a paso doble to sing against bullfighting seems magnificent to me.
There’s no delicacy here. And their voice don’t tremble when they describe the bullfighter as an “individual dressed up like a clown”, who they call directly “murderer”. They talk about “criminal party” and “organized sadism”. They also mention the “banderilleros thirsty for violence”, who “torture with no shame”. Very graphically, they describe how the bull “charges with fierceness against the cold of the steel that destroys its inside, dying on a puddle of blood”.
Tarde de fiesta (Duncan Dhu, 1988)
Duncan Dhu or Mikel Erentxun are not among my music preferences, but “researching” for this article, I’ve bumped into this song and I’ve thought it deserved to apear in this list. When I’ve commented Barricada’s one, I’ve mentiones that it seems like a rock band had to be Anti-bullfighting. But in the most commercial pop groups it’s just the opposite. It’s not that they have to be pro-bullfighting, but, simply, they should avoid this topics. And in any case, the appropriate stance of a Spanish band or singer is pro-bullfighting. Among El Drogas’s quotes in the interview, I’ve kept one in which he assured that “for the bullfighting, we already have Sabina and Calamaro”.
As I’ve told in the introduction, the situation is reversing, but not long ago Sabina and Calamaro’s was politically correct. That’s why hearing Duncan Dhu singing about it so calmly has surprised me. Maybe it was other times.
Come on! Then I’ve found this video I put below. In it, Mikel Erentxun himself says that its neither a song for bullfighting, nor against it. Actually, he says that he doesn’t know, but his intention is implicit when he gives a much more coward and complacent answer than the one El Drogas gave in a similar situation.
When I’ve realized it, I didn’t know if I should leave the song in the list, take it off, or leave it as a “bonus track”. Finally, I’ve decided to leave it as that “+ 1” on the title and, furthermore, insert it here, in the middle. A little bit, to lighten. And another little bit, to bother.
La corrida (Francis Cabrel, 1994)
This song had to be here for two reasons. The first one is that I think it’s very positive that a song like this one comes from another country, and, moreover, from a country like France. Wrong or right, I have the feeling that in places where bullfighting is not so present, people pay attention to the traditional and cultural aspect, instead of to the consequences it has for the animal.
This is a trap, because it makes them see it with a romantic filter that has nothing to do with reality. That filter, besides, can be very seductive in the artistic creation process. Look at Ernest Hemingway, without going any further.
And I say that I’m specially afraid of France, because it was the first country in the world to declare bullfighting Intangible Cultural Heritage (although it was finally abolished).
The second reason is that it gives a different air to the list. It’s been written from the point of view of the bull. A bull who doesn’t understand what he’s doing there, and he finds out when he jumps on the sand. A bull who misses his peaceful life in Andalusia, far away from the bull ring.
In opposition to the rage in Reincidentes and Ska-p’s songs, Cabrel uses a melancholic tone. In opposition to the spectator angry with injustice, the bull wonders what sense what it’s happening has. Maybe because of that, references to the bullfighter and the thrusts, despite using a less aggressive tone, make deeper wounds.
Motxalo (Soziedad Alkoholica, 1996)
We close with the most direct and rude song of the list.
Although it may seem incredible, it’s a cover of Fischer-Z’s Pick Up Slip Up.
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