Codfish is not a fish – El Bakalao no es un pescado

As I said in my previous post, i will talk here about the Ruta del Bacalao. For those interested in Electronic Dance Music I think it will be interesting.

In Spain electronic dance music had its first moment in the late seventies at about the same time as it did in Great Britain. One of their bases was at Ibiza discotheques. But Ibiza, for spanish youth was seen as a tourist spot for hippy movement and for luxury european foreigners. These years were marked by the recent arrival of democracy and the “new” sounds that reach Spain  (post-punk, new wave…) mostly from London that was considered the city of modernity.

‘What happened in Valencia in the eighties was a democratization of the nightlife.Until then it had been the exclusive preserve of the bourgeoisie.’

Vicente Pizcueta, promoter and nightlife consultant

The period from the late seventies to the early nineties saw an acceleration in Spanish popular culture. In the second half of the 1980s, some of the discotheques in the Valencia outskirts (Chocolate, Spook, Factory, Barraca) stirred up the commercial youth stage by introducing an electronic and synthetic sounds of synth-pop. Young spanish people started arriving in Valencia, attracted by weekend-long parries.

The media called the phenomenon la Ruta del Bakalao.

Bacalao literally means “cod” or “stockfish” and is the local name given to an association of electronic dance music played together with pop and rock tunes. the musical sources of Bakalao music can be traced to the music of groups such as Depeche Mode, Front 242, DAF, Kraftwerk, New Order, thug it also includes elements of alternative rock from the eighties.

This phenomenon progressively spread to other areas in the mediterranean, mixing different musical and culture styles. The ‘Valencia sound’, was a widespread artistic and social experiment that anticipated the explosion of raves in England.

The establishment in Barcelona of a festival devoted to electronic music Sónar (created in 1994) was an important moment in what the media described as the conversion of a trend into a vanguard cultural movement.

Some people proudly claim that this period was most avant‐garde of popular music in Spain.


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