Formed in 1999, Mishima is one of the most famous Catalan indie-pop quintets. The exotic name of the group was chosen as a homage to the eccentric Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. The band started their career singing in English, but achieved fame in 2005 for their third album, where the majority of songs were written in Catalan. Since then, they have continued to sing in their native language. Today, Mishima performs at the top music festivals in Spain, and serves as a bar for the contemporary independent sound in Catalonia.
Mazoni is the stage name of the Catalan singer Jaume Pla, who started his solo career in 2004. His first album was produced in English, but since then, his projects have all been produced in Catalan. The artist was already invited to perform at the BAM and Primavera Sound festivals. Moreover, he has been widely featured in the press for some of his eccentric projects. For example, in 2010, Mazoni conducted a challenging 31-day tour around Catalonia, performing a new concert every day. Then, in 2015, Mazoni embarked on another challenging task: he spent every day in March writing new music at the creative center Arts Santa Monica on Las Ramblas. His objective was to explore a new working space and, again, to test his own creative abilities.
Els Amics De Les Arts is an indie-pop/synth-pop quartet formed in Barcelona in 2005. Releasing their first albums for free to build up chatter, Els Amics de les Arts now star at various national festivals, and have received a couple awards from important Catalan music magazine Enderrock. Their iconic lyrics cover everyday social situations, pairing their catchy melodies with witty word play.
The quartet El Manel, established in 2007, record melodic pop tracks that feature soft and simple guitar chords, best suited for an intimate party with friends by the Mediterranean sea, or around a campfire. In 2011, the group’s second album became a top-seller throughout Spain; 10,000 copies were sold in just the first week. It was an unusual success, considering that the lyrics were not even in Spanish, but in Catalan. The album was titled 10 milles per veure una bona armadura (“ten mile afoot to see a good armor”), which is a phrase from Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare.
Txarango is a Catalan band formed in 2010, whose compositions fuse ska, reggae, pop-rock, and Latin rhythms with a touch of Catalan rumba – a music genre born in Catalonia. The band is inspired by the free spirit of street musicians and clowns, its members previously improvising on the streets and squares of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter when they were students. During those times, their guitarist Marcel Tito used to play his charango, a traditional string instrument from the Andean region, common in Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina – this is where the band gets its name. Txarango have collaborated with various indie and fusion-style musicians, such as Manu Chao and La Pegatina, and they are frequent guests at festivals In Catalonia, Spain, and abroad.
4 Hiverns (“four winters”) is the new solo project of Catalan musician Carles Querol. His first album, released in 2014, quickly gained the attention of Enderrock magazine and national radio stations. His slow, thoughtful electro-pop sound is ideal for a relaxing winter evening at home.