You have probably heard the most popular stereotypes about Spaniards – that they are always late and that they are very passionate. My experience so far has taught me that a sort of unspoken agreement exists between students and teachers. A social contract if you wish. No one’s late if everyone’s late. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I needed a month to get used to the idea that classes start for real at least five minutes later than they are supposed to.
My intention, however, was not to write about the infamous inability of Spanish people to tell the clock, but about the second stereotype associated with them, which, as it turns out, is even truer than the always-being-late one.
They are passionate. Very. Calientes. Always ready to start a fight or fall in love.
You might have already guessed where I am going with this. Yes, music.
Since a sensual dance is the best way to win the woman/ man of your heart (or, as a matter of fact, a perfectly irrational reason to start a heated argument), Spaniards just love salsa. And bachata. And kizomba. (I also cannot make the difference). In general, passionate songs about love that are good to dance to.
So, like it or not, going to a club here will turn into a Rio-style carnival even if it starts as a promising night of rock ‘n’ roll and guitars. As you can imagine, the most popular songs are rarely of high artistic quality, but some of them are really catchy. And even you understand just a couple of words (amor, of course, is always one of them), you are going to sing along (at least try to) and dance the night away.
Personally, Spanish music is not my favorite. I had a pretty good laugh when at an American comedy show (here, in Madrid) the comedian mentioned that when he stumbled upon the group La Oreja de Van Gogh (Van Gogh’s Ear), he was pretty impressed with the name. By the time he listened to the entire album, however, the name was still the best thing about the group…
To give the local musicians some credit, though, I should admit that in my desperate attempt to improve my Spanish by listening to songs in Spanish I found a couple of beautiful pieces. Give them a listen!
Nadezhda from Madrid