Salvador Bacarisse Chinoria, great Spanish classical composers

Salvador Bacarisse Chinoria, great Spanish classical composers

One of the least known Spanish classical composers is Salvador Bacarisse (1898 – 1963), despite the fact that he was a prolific composer – who wrote some really wonderful music. Indeed, just listen to his famous Romanza (from Concert for Guitar and Orchestra) below and you will see just how good he was, at his best.  This is a gorgeous piece and deserves to be heard (along with many other pieces that he wrote!) – [...]

Salvador Dalí, one of Spain’s greatest artists?

Salvador Dalí, one of Spain’s greatest artists?

No mention of Spain’s greatest artists would be complete without at least a mention of Salvador Dalí, (1904 – 1989), who was born and died in Figueres, Spain.  Dalí was certainly an extraordinary man who bestrode the art world during the 20th Century, although in a way that defies easy classification.  He was a showman, surrealist, artist, sculptor, jewelry designer, photographer, film maker, writer and designer.  He was prolific, a joker – and almost impossible [...]

Santiago Calatrava, Spain’s greatest architect?

Santiago Calatrava, Spain’s greatest architect?

Santiago Calatrava (b. 1951 in Valencia) seems to be constantly in the news at the moment – unfortunately, not always for the best of reasons.  Indeed, his reputation as possibly Spain’s greatest architect may be under threat.  This is due to a series of problems relating to the quality of construction of some of his projects, together with disgruntlement about significant cost over runs on his projects.   Of course, Calatrava’s designs are often quite fantastic [...]

Joaquín Rodrigo, Spain’s best classical composer?

Joaquín Rodrigo, Spain’s best classical composer?

I doubt that there is anyone who does not know at least some of the music of Joaquín Rodrigo – even if they normally steer well clear of classical music.  His most famous piece, of course, was the Concierto de Aranjuez and is instantly recognisable for its haunting melody.  To many people it represents the very essence of the culture of Spain and could have been written only by a Spaniard and one who is, [...]

Tamara Rojo, Spain’s greatest ballerina?

Tamara Rojo, Spain’s greatest ballerina?

Undoubtedly one of the greatest examples of the contemporary high culture of Spain lies in Tamara Rojo – who is one the greatest ballet stars performing now. In fact, The Telegraph has just nominated her number 2 in their (2014) list of the best ballet stars in the world, praising her for her ‘keen intelligence and total dramatic engagement’. She was only beaten into second place by Sylvie Guillem, who is a living legend within [...]

Valencian food: watch Valencian Roots – a gem of a film!

Valencian food: watch Valencian Roots – a gem of a film!

I was recently sent a great documentary film about Valencian food. This is by a friend of mine, Zev Robinson, who is a highly regarded film maker. Although Canadian, Zev lives in Spain, is married to a Spaniard and knows the country intimately. Called Valencian Roots, Zev’s wonderful short film captures the very essence of country life in Valencia and is fascinating for its close look at the products produced in Valencia and the way [...]

Fito Fitipaldis, great modern Spanish rock music?

Fito Fitipaldis, great modern Spanish rock music?

Since living in Spain, I have heard Fito Fitipaldis a great deal on the radio. Formed in 1998, by Fito Cabrales, Fito Fitipaldis music is notable for some great instrumentals and a very solid and compelling beat. It may be heresy to say this but they vaguely remind me of Dire Straits. Listen to Me Acorde De Ti and I think you may agree. Either way, they are very popular in Spain and that popularity has lasted [...]

Paco de Lucía, the greatest guitarist in Spain?

Paco de Lucía, the greatest guitarist in Spain?

Paco de Lucía is acknowledged as probably the greatest guitarist in Spain – and perhaps in the world.  A specialist in flamenco, Paco de Lucía has extended his repertoire to include both classical guitar and jazz.  In their book Guitar: Music, History, Players, Ricard Chapman and Eric Clapton describe de Lucía as a ‘titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar’ and this is undeniably true. In fact, Paco de Lucía recorded a remarkable ten [...]

Joan Miró, an icon for the culture of Spain?

Joan Miró, an icon for the culture of Spain?

One of the icons of modern Spanish culture, of course, must be Joan Miró – famous for his surrealist paintings and magic realism.  Born in Barcelona in 1893, Joan Miró was Catalan to his core and would, no doubt, be urging Catalan secession from Spain, if he was alive today! He started painting at an early age before briefly starting conventional work.  This, evidently, quickly drove him to a nervous breakdown and a firm desire [...]

The best of the culture of Spain and some romantic Spanish music

The best of the culture of Spain and some romantic Spanish music

I have known Spain for many years and I have lived here permanently for the past ten.  However, capturing the very essence of the culture of Spain is not easy.  This is particularly true if one tries to escape from the awful clichés of bullfighting and flamenco or (worse!) the idea that Spain is really just about sangria, beaches, a ruinous property market, corruption and crazy nights in the big clubs of Ibiza. But what [...]

Spanish driving license – beware!

Spanish driving license – beware!

Having a Spanish driving license can be hazardous, as I have just found out.  Unlike UK driving licenses, Spanish driving licenses expire every ten years.  Unfortunately, you receive no notice that they are about to expire and that you need to apply for a new license.  So, sadly, the only time that you likely to find out that your Spanish driving license has expired is when you are stopped by the Spanish police.  At this [...]

Charity work in Spain

Charity work in Spain

Many expatriates, to their enduring credit, undertake a lot of charity work in Spain.  This is a somewhat unusual concept for the Spanish (as something of a generalisation!), who seem not to have quite the same sense of noblesse oblige as the British. In fact, many of my expatriate friends and acquaintances spend a good part of their time in doing charity work in Spain – most notably for The Original Charity Shop in Javea.  [...]