Mexico, the promised land of Spanish pop | Culture

-Don't pinches mom! This is a jewel!

Teo Espinoza has a cedé in his hands. The last live recording of the Spanish musician Antonio Vega before dying in 2009. It smells like an exotic fruit. He kisses him like an amulet.

- Antonio Vega was like a father to me

Espinoza, 42 years old, collects Spanish CDs. He has more than 150 and he likes to listen to them alone in his stereo. But today he is in a hurry and returns to leave the jewel - along with more discs of Duncan Dhu, Mecano, Radio Futura- in the blanket lying at the doors of the theater Metropolitan of Mexico City. He has come with a friend in a taxi from Toluca, 70 kilometers away, to see Nacha Pop, the group that Vega founded in the eighties.

The 4,000 tickets of the old theater for this February 19 sold out weeks ago. The next day, a few streets from here, Los Porretas filled a room of 400 people. Joan Manuel Serrat closed his tour this weekend in the National Auditorium before 10,000. The following Saturday, a festival with Dangerous Friendships, Los Toreros Muertos, Ella Baila Sola, Invisible Dance, Cómplices, Los Inhumanos and Tam Tam Go! He filled another 22,000 pavilion. Plácido Domingo packed another one in Guadalajara with 19,000. And in the next two months will tour Mexico Pablo Alborán, Julio Iglesias, Rosalia, Ska-P, Vetusta Morla, Men G or Enrique Bunbury.

Nostalgia and current affairs, classics and peripherals. Mexico maintains its historical brilliance intact as a powerful magnet for Spanish pop despite the geostrategic changes of the music industry in recent years. "Before we were the number one platform to succeed in Latin America," says the deputy director of the catalog area of Sony Mexico, Jorge Ávila Tellez-Now we compete with other places like Miami, but we are still a nerve center ".

Nacha Pop has returned more than 30 years after its concert in the Plaza de Toros for 42,000 people. "Mexico is a springboard. From here it is easier to go to Los Angeles or other sites than from Madrid or Buenos Aires, "Nacho García Vega, who plans to get more Mexican dates in the coming months, said before the concert.

Behind most of the tours of Spanish artists during the last decades is Ocesa, the largest concert promoter in Latin America. Invested by Televisa and part of a powerful group that is listed on the stock exchange, Miguel Bosé, Juanes and David Bisbal are on the payroll. And in recent years the giant has grown a new tentacle as a record label and artistic agency.

Within this 360-degree Mexican umbrella-a company manages all aspects of the artist's business-he has sheltered himself Ana Torroja after a difficult time in Spain. "In 2013 I did not have a record company and I did not know if I was going to continue in music. Ocesa was our concert company since the times with Mecano. They proposed to record an album here and I ended up bringing the whole family, "says Torroja, who has lived in Mexico since 2015.

Poster of the Yung Beef tour in Mexico
Poster of the Yung Beef tour in Mexico

Looking at herself in the mirror with Spain, the exponent of Mecano points to both quantity and Mexican quality. "The market is giant. There are places of different gauges and the public is faithful. If you have an important musical background, you can continue touring. Spain is colder in that sense. People are not there forever. "

Since May 5, 1967, Margarita Muchaca is a member and founder of the Raphael fan club in Mexico. At the age of just 18, remember to go to the airport to receive it - "all dressed in black like him" - and attend the historic 1969 concert at the Parque de la Alameda, in the heart of the capital. "People climbed trees, went crazy. Since then our history of love, loyalty and fidelity was born. " Since then also the nicknames that accompany the myths were born: The whirlwind of the Alameda, The phoenix of the song.

"We are an audience that likes romantic music a lot. Here first you had to like the girls, "says the director of Sony, who has no doubt about which is the most popular Spanish trident in Mexico: Raphael, Camilo Sesto and Julio Iglesias. "The link anyway comes from before. Among the Republican exiles came musicians who were called the Churumbeles of Spain. Their versions of coplas and pasodobles began to involve the Mexican public. "

Censorship as a springboard

The consolidation in the seventies and eighties also has a political background. During El Hierro years of the PRI, rock was banned on radio stations. "Everything was in English and when the opening came at the beginning of the eighties, groups from the movement like Alaska, Nacha Pop or the Mondragón Orchestra sneaked in," says Ávila.

The punching of Spanish musicians in Mexico is renewed and updated until the paradox. "They have opened a gap in a new scene of a genre that did not belong to them culturally like reggaeton underground. They are a reference thanks to the guys here who discovered them on YouTube. They have made the Mexican scene grow, "says Prims, director of Waco, a promoter from the north of the country who in recent years has brought the struts of the genre: Bad Gyal, Miss Nina or Pxxr Gvng. Three years ago, the headliner of a festival for 2000 people in Coahuila, almost in the middle of the desert, was the parallel reggaeton project of Pxxr Gvng: The Love Mafia.

With record benefits almost on a par with the two countries - a growth of 8% according to data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) -, the streaming gaining more and more bites to the physical sales and the core of the business overturned in the concerts, the Mexican window has been revalued. "By size and geographical position, Mexico continues to be placed in a privileged place, more than Argentina or Chile," defends the director of Seitrack, Ocesa's record label, Octavio Padilla. "The business is the concerts. You are still depending on the success of the album but the big artists can win in a weekend of the same tour as a year of royalties ", point from Sony.

The case of Ana Torroja agrees with them. "I'm still releasing singles and albums because I like to record new things. But if he wanted, he could continue working alone on the "Conexión" tours, the live album with which he landed in 2015. Meanwhile, the Nacha Pop fan is also clear that he will follow his idol the rest of the Mexican tour. "I'm going to see them again in May, I do not care if it's in Guadalajara, in Monterrey or that my girlfriend leaves me."


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