“Charanga”? What’s that?

What’s a Charanga? If you thought street bands were just buskers or formal local bands playing and marching in parades, you have not seen a Charanga yet. It is something like this:

In many Spanish Festivals (mostly in the Northern regions) we created our own Festival street bands! Yeah! Small musical bands playing wind and percussion instruments (including: drums, trumpets, saxophones, trombones, etc.).

But music is meant to be listented to. Have a look at how do they sound in action:

Most of the time charangas play popular songs, but also versions of recent hits, usually with simple rhythms and including provocative lyrics. They play while they are moving around the streets of the town and usually interact with their public making them sing along, sit down, jump and much more.

This is a great example entertaining the crowds in a bullring:

In many cases, charangas are the very best animation while going from one event to another in a different location. For instance, they usually go on route from the peñas (cultural associations) to the main square for the chupinazo (opening ceremony), the bullring, etc.

See this parade in my hometown. Can’t you feel the happiness?

Historical box:

Did you know that the charangas as we know them have not been around for longer than 70 years.

Prior to the current charangas there were “dulzaineros”, “gaiteros”, “txistularis” (meaning pipers or bagpipers) that played popular songs accompanied by a drummer. In many areas of Spain you can still find them (especially in the regions of Cantabria, Asturias, Basque country and Navarre).


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