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Las Movidas (Spanish for "The Movements/Scenes"; Galician: As Movidas; Catalan: Les Movides) were a series of countercultural movements in Spain following the end of the Francoist dictatorship in 1975, and the subsequent transition to democracy of the country.

Although it was a nation-wide phenomenom, with local scenes in various cities such as Vigo, Valencia, Oviedo, Puertollano and Torremolinos, the most well known movement was centered around Madrid (known in Spanish as La Movida Madrileña).

It was a period of societal change; homosexuality was no longer criminalized, contraceptives became widely avaiable, regional languages were no longer persecuted and the feminist movement resurged after being considered a taboo topic.

The movements were characterized by experimentation, social liberation, and a rejection of past conservative norms, and Las Movidas encompassed diverse fields, including music, film, fashion, visual arts, aesthetics and theatre.

History[]

In 1975, Francisco Franco, the dictator and caudillo of Spain passed away, and the country entered a period known as the "Spanish transition to democracy", which would put an end to the miserable years that many Spaniards lived through the era. During the last years of the dictatorship, a Punk Rock scene started developing in the city of Madrid, taking inspiration from other Punk bands from the United Kingdom. The influence of this movement started spreading to other parts of Spain, including the cities of Vigo, Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao and Torremolinos, among others.

While the roots of the movement emerged in the late 1970s, some music historians pinpoint February 9th, 1980 as the official kick-off of the movement, when a tribute Punk concert for Canito (a Spanish musician who passed away in a traffic collision) was held in Madrid[1]. This Madrid-centric movement thrived at night, and those who participated in the scene sought to create a new Spanish national identity free from the fascist scars of the country and propel Spain into a brighter, modern future.

Societal Changes[]

The 80s were a really important period of cultural progress in Spain. The Spanish media was no longer restrictive or controlled by the state, and the public awareness about formerly censored topics like nightlife, drugs and sexual liberty increased, leading to an explosion of freedom in arts, music and literature. The regional languages of the country (including Galician, Catalan, Basque, Occitan, Asturleonese and Aragonese) were no longer being persecuted by the government, and the first three of the former became official in 1978, while Occitan became an official language of Catalonia in 1991. The Spanish state became decentralized and certain cultural groups from specific regions of the country had greater freedom of expression through spoken language and regional pride. Because of that, many Spanish citizens broke with the past and sought to create a new, modernized Spanish (or regional) cultural identity without fascist roots.

Sexuality also became a less stigmatized theme, as homosexuality was decriminalized and previously taboo topics like the LGBTQ+ movement and premarital sex were brought to light and discussed openly. The feminist movement also made a comeback, with womens' rights drastically progressing when compared to the previous situation in Francoist Spain. Along with that, freedom of religious belief and practice was established, dismantling the Roman Catholic Church's previous privileged position in the country.

Regional Movements[]

During the post-Francoist period in Spain, regional identity became one of the most important components of a newer and modernized Spanish cultural identity. Because of this, Las Movidas were really diverse across the cities and regions of the country. Although Madrid's movement Movida Madrileña tends to stand out from the others in popularity, followed only by Vigo, it was nation-wide. Some of these include;

Movida Madrileña[]

MadridAtNight1980

The city of Madrid at night in 1980. Crowded spaces were a relatively rare phenomenom in Spain before the 80s.

The Movida Madrileña emerged in 1975 in the city of Madrid, as a countercultural movement that challenged established norms and promoted freedom of expression through artistic experimentation. It coincided with the economical growth of the city, and those who participated in the movement desired to develop a post-Francoist identity. It was characterized by its provocative attitude, its colorful aesthetic, and its mix of different musical genres, taking inspiration from other counter-cultural movements, such as British Punk bands and Post-Punk, New Wave and New Romantic. By the general consensus of music historians, it is considered the Golden Age of Spanish Pop music (along with the other movements).

Movida Viguesa[]

Movidaviguesa

Aerolíneas Federales, a Pop & Rock band from Vigo

The Movida Viguesa (also known as A Movida Galega; Spanish: La Movida Gallega; The Galician Scene) was a movement centered around the city of Vigo, in Galicia. Its peak years were from 1977 to 1981, and it officially became a "twin" scene of the Movida Madrileña in 1986. The movement principally focused on music and aesthetics (particularly in the video-making field), and it thrived in the nightlife and bars of the old part of the city. The musicians of the Movida Viguesa mainly holded Skepticist political views, due to the former suppression of Galician during the dictatorship and the rapid cultural change of the country.

During this period, the city of Vigo developed a vibrant music scene with diverse youth subcultures and genres, including Pop, Rock, Punk, Electronic music, Reggae, Ska and Funk. Many songs had irreverent and chaotic lyrics, and they were influenced by Post-Modernism[2].

The official kick-off of the Movida Viguesa is considered to be the 20th of August of 1981, when there was a traffic collision in which the members of a band called Mari Cruz Soriano y los que afinan su piano were aboard. The accident was declared a "total loss" (in Galician and Spanish: siniestro total), and that led to the idea of renaming the band "Siniestro Total", and they became one of the most influential bands of the movement. To this day, Siniestro Total is still considered one of the most important Punk Rock bands of Galicia.

Movida Valenciana[]

For more related information: Bakala

Movidavalenciana

Comité Cisne, a Valencian band

The Movida Valenciana was a movement in the city of Valencia, that largely co-existed with the Bakala subculture and the Ruta del Bakalao. During the 80s, Valencia became a major centre of youth subcultures and music. Some have described Valencia's nightlife scene as "almost at the same level" as Berlin's[3], but at the same time, at the "border" of decadence. During the Ruta del Bakalao, lots of teenagers from all over western Europe went to the city for recreational and musical activities. The movement was pretty much underground - there were lots of thriving nightclubs, but at the same time, they were threatened by the law because of the high percentage of drug consumption, hence why such a vibrant subculture was always at risk. There have been documentaries that explained the scene's history, such as Hasta que el cuerpo aguante (released in Canal+ in 1993), but they weren't well received because they risked the exposure of the movement to law enforcement.

Although the city's movement was especially influenced by Mákina music as well as the wider Raver movement that was really popular among western Europe, there were some iconic Punk Rock bands in the city, such as Comité Cisne, Glamour and Seguridad Social, among many others.

Movida Puertollanera[]

Puertollano

Desertores del Arao.

The Movida Puertollanera (although also known as the Movida Manchega) was a movement centered around the municipality of Puertollano and its surroundings, in Castile-La Mancha[4]. It was characterized by an explosion of creativity in multiple areas during the 80s (being considered part of the "Golden Age of Spanish Pop"). Some of these fields included music, counterculture and art.

As a musical movement, it was associated with the Marcha Nocturna ("Nocturnal Route") and the nightclubs of the town as a counter-reaction to traditional music. As a cultural movement, there were various multidisciplinary artists who participated, such as writers, designers and sculpters. The movement grew out of the desire for change, since Puertollano at the time was a quite poor place due to the previous economic crisis and the high amount of unemployement. Certain local bands that influenced the Movida Puertollanera are Los Desertores del Arao, Metralla, Procesión del Kaos, Trayler, Los Costaleros de Viriato, Marcha Urbana, Excalibur and Jim Tonic y Las Hienas.

Movida Malageña[]

Danzainvisible

Danza Invisible, a New Wave band originary from Torremolinos

The Movida Malagueña was a movement centered around the Costa del Sol, in the province of Malaga, Andalusia (although principally centered in the municipality of Torremolinos and nearby areas). It was primarily influenced by certain nightclubs accross the province, such as Bisneys, Tiffanis or Pepper in Torremolinos (which had a vibrant nightlife scene due to its increasing amounts of tourism) or Casablanca or SK in the city of Malaga. The music has been described as some of the best in Spain's nightlife scene in the 80s[5], which was influenced by British Glam Rock, New Wave and other counterculture-oriented musical genres from the United States.

Movida Carbayona[]

Orlando pelayo

Painter Orlando Pelayo at the Plaza de la Catedral in Oviedo.

The Movida Carbayona was a small but influential movement centered around the city of Oviedo, in Asturias. It emerged in 1983 and it's named after the Carbayón, a mythical three of the city. The movement was influenced by multiple subcultures of the time, including Mods, Rockers, Pijos, Punks, Metalheads, Modernists and others, but the predominant musical genres were Punk, Rock and New Wave. The Movida Carbayona was considered an "interclassist" phenomenom, as people of all social classes participated and collaborated together despite social class being previously considered a taboo topic. This movement principally triunphed in the bars and nightclubs of the city, including Misa de Doce, Factory, Cechini, and the ever-growing number of pubs at the time.

The ideology of this movement primarily emphasized social progress, sexual liberation and feminism, and it was described as really modern for its time. During the 1980s, the Asociación Feminista de Asturias (Feminist Association of Asturias) was formed and they promoted women's rights and the right to abort.

In 2023, a documentary called Más moderna que Londres (English: "More modern than London") was made about the Movida Carbayona, showing its overlooked, nearly lost history and 44 influential figures of this movement[6].

Related Movements[]

The 80s was at best an important decade for popular culture and music in Spain, due to the political and social change in the country. Some movements and subcultures that weren't part of Las Movidas but were also influential at the time include:

Basque Radical Rock[]

Main article: Basque Radical Rock

Rock-radical-vasco

A concert flyer featuring the logos of various Basque Radical Rock bands.

Basque Radical Rock (Basque: Euskal Rock Erradikala; Spanish: Rock Radikal Vasco), rarely ever called the Movida Vasca, was a musical genre and movement in the Basque Country and Navarre during the 1980s. It is considered very distinct from the other musical scenes of the time and sometimes deemed the most brutal one of them all[7], and sometimes it's not even included as part of Las Movidas. It had an important influence in the music scene of the city of Bilbao.

The singers and musicians associated with the movement were heavily obscene, disrespectful and politically incorrect in an ironic way, although it's worth noting that the area of the Basque Country was going through pretty though political times, including the presence of terrorist groups such as the Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA), and this was reflected in their music, some of which faced censorship due to its emphasis on offensive topics. Regardless, the singers were predominantly left-wing, aligning with the definition of Punk.

Bakalas[]

Main article: Bakala

Chimobayo

Chimo Bayo, one of the most renowned Spanish DJs.

The Bakalas or Mákineros were a subculture primarily made up of low-middle class teenagers and young adults related to the Rave and clubbing movements in the Valencian Community. The signature musical genre was Mákina (which may also be called Bakalao). Movements such as the Ruta Destroy/Ruta del Bakalao, where people from all over western Europe would drive all the way to Valencia to attend nightclubs, were the direct successors of the Movida Valenciana.

Pijos[]

Main article: Pijo

Pijo8

Hombres G, a Pop-Rock band from Madrid.

The Pijos are a Spanish subculture that also emerged during the Spanish transition to democracy, and they emphasized richness, luxury, high-class values or slang and Spanish cultural identity. At its core, they contrasted the Punk-influenced scenes in Spain, similar to upper class subcultures in other countries (Preppy in the United States, Bon Chic, Bon Genre in France) serving as the polar opposite of La Movida.

Fashion[]

The fashion associated with these countercultural movements were really influential in Spain, even today[8]. The singer Alaska was one of the most influential figures of the Movida Madrileña, and she was known for her extravagant outfits inspired by the British Punk subculture and New Romantic fashion, and she was considered extremely brave because at the time society was unaccepting of Alternative fashion.

Some common elements in Movida fashion included:

  • High boots
  • Leg warmers
  • Punk styled Jackets and Belts
  • Makeup which was socially acceptable for any gender
  • Makeup with pale tones, such as white and light purple
  • Miniskirts
  • Shoulder pads
  • Leggins
  • Striped shirts
  • Baggy clothing
  • Flowing skirts
  • Thigh highs
  • Jeans

Music[]

Musical Artists[]

Madrid:

  • Alaska y Dinamara
  • Alaska y Los Pegamoides
  • Kaka de Luxe
  • Los Secretos
  • Nacha Pop
  • Paralisis Permanente
  • Polanski y El Ardor
  • Radio Futura
  • Zombies

Vigo:

  • Aerolineas Federales
  • Bar
  • Batallón Disciplinario
  • Control Remoto
  • Golpes Bajos
  • Los Buzos
  • Os Resentidos
  • Semen Up
  • Siniestro Total
  • Sociedad Anonima
  • Vacuna Antibritánica

Valencia:

  • Betty Troupe
  • Comité Cisne
  • Falsa Pasión
  • Glamour
  • Hilario Cortell
  • Interterror
  • La Banda del Pop
  • Los Inhumanos
  • Orfeón Brutal
  • París No Importa
  • Revólver
  • Scooters
  • Seguridad Social
  • Vídeo

Oviedo:

  • Ilegales
  • La Raza del Ático
  • Los Murciélagos
  • Los Ruidos
  • Modas Clandestinas
  • Salón Dadá

Puertollano:

  • Excalibur
  • Jim Tonic y Las Hienas
  • Los Costaleros de Viriato
  • Los Desertores del Arao
  • Marcha Urbana
  • Metralla
  • Procesión del Kaos
  • Trayler

Torremolinos or Malaga:

  • Cámara
  • Danza Invisible
  • Krazy Boys
  • Tabletom
  • Requiem

Songs[]

Playlists[]

Media[]

Films[]

The cinema of this cultural period mainly focused on freedom of expression, artistic experimentation and cultural liberalism. They emphasized previously censored topics that the Francoist regime was restrictive off, such as the LGBTQ+ movement and its identities, drugs, sexual liberation, prostitution and nightlife.

Some of the most important films of the time were[9]:

Documentaries[]

  • A Caixa Negra: La Movida Viguesa de los 80. Madrid se escribe con V de Vigo (2009)
  • Cuna de Músicos (2019)
  • Hasta que el cuerpo aguante (1993)
  • Más moderna que Londres (2023)
  • Nos va la Marcha (1979)

Gallery[]

References[]

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