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Sònar Barcelona continues to break records with its 29th edition

Photo Credit: Nerea Coll / Martini Ariel / Orozco Clara / Sònar

We graced the clouds at Sònar Barcelona with C.Tangana, Nathy Peluso, The Chemical Brothers, Moderat, Morad, Kabza de Small, DJ Maphoriza, Kamo MPhela, Pongo, Jamzsupernova, DJ Poté, Bonobo, Conducta, Arca, Quayola, Richie Hawtin, among other artistic proposals.

Once again, Sònar is reaping well-deserved success, as always at the forefront of music, creativity, and digital technology. Amazing audiovisual shows and the long-awaited return of The Chemical Brothers to the rhythm of big beat, breaks, psychedelia, and acid techno caused a collective catharsis and healing. Also memorable was Moderat’s audiovisual performance at SònarClub on Friday night, where it was possible to listen to songs from their latest album ‘MORE D4TA’, and all of this was just the beginning.

“More than 122,000 attendees, 44,000 at Sónar by Day and 78,000 at Sónar by Night the organizers confirmed, have participated in the 29th edition of this post-pandemic Sònar with more enthusiasm than ever, recovering its usual format and venues. Over 180 artistic proposals in addition to the presentations, conferences, and debates offered at Sònar+D and its new spaces SonarMàtica, SonarÀgora, and the new Stage+D consolidated the Sònar paradigm that overflowed with love, authentic veneration, and fervor for music throughout June 16, 17, and 18.

Urban music artists shone at SonarPark by Dice, such as Morad, with his accelerated verses with his heart on the sleeve. The surprise for this writer was the joy that his music gives off in contrast to the stark reality that it portrays. Without a doubt, it is one of Sònar’s commitments that showcases its desire to explore all musical genres and cultures.

And it was the local pop star C.Tangana, who, with his album ‘El Madrileño’ (the best-selling in 2021), kicked off the Sònar night offered an absolutely groundbreaking performance for his dedication and staging (a la Cotton Club) with a band of musicians, whiskey, a lot of sweat, and a section of wind, string, and metal instruments, typical of a jazz Big Band, but here they were accompanied by a flamenco party that could have very well happened in Cuba. There were also little tables, delicately decorated with tablecloths, complete with flower ornaments, and the powerful Nathy Peluso with her voice from the depths of the soul, following in the footsteps of the greatest jazz and soul divas in a futuristic vision. Together with C.Tangana, they passionately sang verses such as “I was an atheist, but now I believe because a miracle like you has had to come down from heaven”, turning SònarClub into a choir in absolute communion.

This has been the sonic spectrum of Sònar during this edition, from romantic boleros, bachata, flamenco, trap, dembow, lots of autotune and joy, passing through rhythms from Africa such as the frenetic rhythms of kuduro, amapiano, and reminiscences of Township Funk. South African producers Kabza de Small and DJ Maphoriza delivered a heart-stopping set on Saturday at SònarCar for all-night fireworks and the finale of the party. The performances of Kamo MPhela and Pongo, the creator of Wegue Wegue, made it very clear who the queens are.

And all this was colored with house, bounce, marimbas, and drums like only virtuous souls can mix, responsible for spreading what’s going on in the clubs of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Paris, or London. Like the wonderful Jamzsupernova, and DJ Poté preceding Bonobo, who made a composition of totally unpredictable sounds. Likewise, Conducta, curated by Sònar and Resident Advisor, contributed his spiffy garage and unashamedly drove the dance floor crazy with Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy in Love’ as only he could.

Without a doubt, this 29th edition of Sònar has been characterized by focusing on the essence, on the message that moves mountains, the freedom to express, to feel, to create from the most street-oriented proposals, such as Morad, the poetry of Arca, or Quayola’s classic minimalism with a unique 21st century piano by Yamaha, acting as “a conductor to show what is possible beyond human potential and capabilities, rendering notes alongside brush strokes”. Sònar has impressed us again and left us wanting more as usual.

Of course, it would not have been Sònar without the high doses of techno. So, before wrapping it up, it is mandatory to highlight the relentless set by Reinier Zonneveld, which went by “like a runaway train loaded with 303 in the words of connoisseurs, as did Giant Swan’s Robin. And Richie Hawtin, who recently said: “Not all sounds have to sound crisp and digital – there always needs to be some sort of ‘tension’ and so I usually run an analog tube compressor from the Front Of House desk at the gig in order to liven up the mood”, so you can already imagine the shenanigans that transpired.

Thank you Sònar for maintaining your commitment to advanced music and the continuous search for new sounds and audiovisual projects.

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