Barcelona is a vibrant city full of art and culture. It has a thriving music scene featuring a whole host of local musicians, and also many from afar who come to perform to the city’s bustling crowds. In many of the bars and clubs on any one of its main streets, visitors can find themselves immersed in rhythms of varying styles. But it’s not only in these venues that the music can be found, Barcelona’s streets too are filled with excellent performers.
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Where to find them
The harbor area around Port Vell is where the larger bands play. Groups of anything from 3 to 9 can be heard from afar, drawing in crowds, playing either Ska, Cumbia, Gypsy-Jazz, or African Rhythms.
Just last week I was down there finding myself too drawn-in by an amazing 7-piece doing their own rendition of “The Pink Panther” in a lively Cumbia style, accompanied by a Latin dance routine which soon had the crowd joining in. As with most Street Performers they had CD’s on sale, and a collection pot which was weighed-down with Euros.
Over in the Gothic quarter is where you’ll find the more classical performers, usually just playing solo with the guitar. Their sweet and delicate pickings are a little more difficult to hear from a distance, but once you are close by it’s very easy to get lost amongst their subtle melodies and tones. They focus mainly on the restaurant terraces, making a fine accompaniment to wonderful dishes served up by the locals.
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At night is where things really liven up. Music on La Rambla is strictly forbidden, but on any one of its adjoining side-streets performers can be found venturing out as the night goes on.
You’ll hear Tango being played by Accordion groups, Flamenco being thrashed out by Guitarists, Jazz groups with Clarinet and Double Bass, and the melancholy lone Violin player romantically serenading couples. They too focus on the restaurant terraces, making collections after each song and then moving on.
There are also more organized events promoting the playing of outdoor music, such as the Música als Parcs, which brings Jazz and Classical music to the biggest parks in Barcelona from June to August every year. And there are the regulated subway buskers, of which there are many varieties.
So, the next time you’re wandering the streets of Barcelona keep that one ear open, you never know what you might find!