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Monkey Week Spotlights Spain's Indie Music Scene

Billboard logo Billboard 11/18/2019 Judy Cantor-Navas

Monkey Week Son Estrella Galicia 2019, a festival and conference that spotlights Spain’s independent music scene, kicks off Wednesday (Nov. 20) in Seville, Spain with 166 concerts on 14 stages, including those at the Santa Clara Convent, a national monument dating back to the 13th century converted into a cultural complex, and the city’s central Teatro Alameda.

Known as the SXSW of Southern Spain, Monkey Week, now in its 11th edition, offers a line-up of 128 artists. The performers represent 20 countries, with the spotlight on Spanish bands to know. Those include the Basque rock band Belako, groups Los Punsetes and Carolina Durante from Madrid, and from Seville, Derby Motereta’s Burrito Kachimba, whose psychedelic fusion has been described as “gazpacho rock.”   

“It’s a way of taking the pulse of the scene,” Monkey Week co-director Tali Carreto tells Billboard. “Here you’ll see bands that can expect to see headlining future festivals in Spain." (Rosalía, for example, played Monkey Weekend, an offshoot of Monkey Week, back in 2017.)

Carreto emphasizes the urban nature of the event, which takes place in the city center rather than being contained on a festival site.

“Between shows you can stop into a bar for tapas,” he says. “There’s no backstage,” he adds. “No VIP. Everyone mixes together, and that’s important.”

This year’s Monkey Week, which continues until Saturday, will also include a concert by flamenco singer Rocío Márquez for inmates at the Seville Penitentiary.

The event’s industry conference, called Monkey Brain (sponsored by Eventbrite), includes panels on climate change and the music industry, “The Survival of the Artist in the Digital Jungle,” and the viability of a Pan-European music scene post-Brexit.

The 1500 music professionals expected to attend can also take in the “mini showcases,” during which artists have a brief moment to persent themselves to producers, promoters and members of the media.

“They can play one of their songs or tell their story,” says Carreto, explaining that with so much on the agenda. the mini showcases help attendees choose what full-length performances to attend. “It’s a way of introducing themselves that’s a little different.”

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