Movida, la

Movida, la
   At the start of the 1980s, concurrent with the social and cultural shock waves that the advent of democracy brought to Spain, there was a renaissance in the arts with its centre of gravity in Madrid, which some commentators defined as the la Movida madrileña, shortened to la Movida. Music was a thriving part of the movement, with new groups imitating punk and new wave sounds, as a rejection of the Spanish rock scene of the 1970s. The FM radio stations played a decisive role in extending the appeal of songs of undiscovered bands like Radio Futura, Alaska y los Pegamoides, Paraíso, Nacha Pop, Rubí y los Casinos and Ejecutivos Agresivos, who sent their demo tapes to the most innovative programmes. The significant air play devoted to these bands meant that many went on to become figureheads of la Movida. Fanzines and music pages of several newspapers showed a similar interest in promoting the novelty of this sudden avalanche of young groups. Most multinational record companies did not want to let this opportunity pass them by and decided to launch some of the up-and-coming bands. Other groups, whose work did not sit so easily in the catalogues of multinationals, released tracks with independent record companies, some of whom where created by the groups themselves. This was how the labels DRO (Discos Radioactivos Organizados), GASA (Grabaciones Accidentales) and Lollipop came into being and they launched the first records by El Aviador Dro, Los Esclarecidos, Décima Víctima, Derribos Arias and Los Nikis. Initially, the movement appeared to be a passing and marginal fashion but it gradually gained acceptance and ended up attracting a wide audience and a few of the bands went on to secure the top positions in the charts in the mid-1980s. In the midst of this euphoria a multitude of discoteques, clubs (Rock-Ola became a mecca for followers of la Movida), and bars were opened which helped to project the image of Madrid as a city with a vibrant nightlife, though other cities such as Vigo, Barcelona or Valencia attempted to imitate the movement in the capital. The main impact of la Movida was on the music scene, but the visual arts revived at the same time and dozens of artists began to make a name for themselves by jumping on the cultural bandwagon: Ceesepe, El Hortelano, Fanny McNamara and Las Costus in painting; Ouka Lele, Alberto García Alix and Pablo Pérez Mínguez in photography; Antonio Alvarado, Adolfo Domínguez, Manuel Piña and Jesús del Pozo in fashion design.
   The national press decided to increase the cultural content of their pages, devoting lengthy monographs to any artistic event in the capital. Specialized magazines appeared willing to cover any happening which might add a degree of modernity to the impoverished cultural state of the country and profile any personage who stood out in any way within it. Some of these magazines, for instance La Luna. (The Moon), became the voice of la Movida. Other publications from this period include Madrid me Mata (Madrid Kills Me) and Total.
   Television also played a significant role in the the promotion of new artistic tendencies. One of the most important programmes in this respect was La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age), presented and directed by Paloma Chamorro, which offered live music from the latest Spanish and foreign groups, as well as interviews and footage of up and coming bands and established ones. Public institutions collaborated in la Movida by promoting a wide range of events in order to heighten Madrid's fame as a centre of modernity. They sponsored competitions, organized exhibitions and edited a large number of publications. Enrique Tierno Galván, the socialist mayor of Madrid in the early 1980s, stood out as one of the most emblematic political figures the capital has ever had, as he made every attempt to bring Madrid up to the level of the leading European capitals.
   Cinema was another show case for la Movida. A new type of urban comedy emphasizing the vertiginous pace of Madrid life in the 1980s proved popular with cinema-goers. Pedro Almodóvar is the most prominent director of film genre. After shooting a series of short films, he surprised cinema audiences with his first full length feature: Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pepi, Luci, Bom and All Those Other Girls) (1979) with his provocative style, outlandish sense of humour, bad taste and kitsch. However, a second feature film Laberinto de pasiones (Labyrinth of Passions) (1982) is arguably the best representation of underground cultural life in the Madrid of the early 1980s. The film includes cameo performances from many of the leading lights of la Movida and a star turn by Almodóvar himself with his muse Fanny McNamara, with whom he recorded a handful of records.
   See also: gay culture; rock and pop

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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