Counterculture with Masquepalabras

Català Castellano

There is a concert tonight, are you coming?

It was February 2012 and I was in my last college year in Barcelona. One Friday night one of my flatmates brought me to what would become my first contact with the collective masquepalabras. A band called Todo o Nada (All or Nothing) was playing in the community center of the Besós de Llobregat (Barcelona) in support of animal rights.

In a crowded middle sized concert hall, a guy in his twenties was singing accompanied by an acoustic guitar. There was not battery, second guitar or bass and he really did not need any other instrument. He was able to alone transmit more than what I have seen in other “full” bands. With a very distinctive style, introducing electric guitar rhythms, constantly varying tempos and lyrics that need to be analysed as if they were poems, he managed to connect with the audience.

After that night I discovered that Todo o Nada had released an album through Masquepalabras Records. The music label, however, is only part of the activity of this organization. They define themselves as a countercultural group of unlimited scope for the creation and dissemination of projects with intention, read “intention” here as awareness and intention to transform society. Music, Video (documentary, experimental ), radio, storytelling and drawing, without prejudice, without barriers, with complete independence.

With headquarters in Madrid (C/ de la Fe, 10, corner with C/ Zurita), the Masquepalabras Corner Shop is not just the office and shop where to buy their cultural products but also has a reserved space for own exhibitions and collaborations with like-minded artists.

As a cultural group, many of the ideas take shape in the regular meetings with different artists and creators within a framework of dialogue and reflection. One of the projects that has won more recognition are  the organized Jam poetry sessions titled Poesía O Barbarie (Poetry or barbarism).

Hundreds of young people meet monthly in a garage to listen to poetry and one day these meetings acquire a name and “officially” stablish a space for participation and learning where not only the guest artists give strength to the art of the word but also anyone has the opportunity to jump on stage and actively take part in this show.

They’ve already made twenty editions and it seems it will keep growing. Musical performances with very political and protest lyrics and multiple styles (rap, rock, with performances, etc.)

Rap is indeed one of the most important styles in the organization and it is not surprising since this is a musical genre that carries the desire to protest in its DNA. Groups like Mentenguerra, Noglobal, Duruyae and Latecnika form the core of this style within

The versatility of the collective does not end with the production and organization of music and poetry sessions but they also organize parties with live Swing music where anyone who wants to move to the rhythm of Balboa and Lindy Hop has a reserved place.

It is definitely worth to enter their website and listen to some of the themes of the artists or stop by the shop or any of the events/concerts they organize in Madrid. It won’t leave you indifferent.

Rosa Mª Torrademé

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