Professional musician Unai Rodriguez performing with Barcelona at his feet


18 February, 2021
Cultural life, History tours

Do you love music as much as we do? If so, welcome to our musical route, a journey into the sounds of Barcelona.

Music has always been part and parcel of this city’s lifestyle. Experience Barcelona through its music with your ears and your eyes wide open!

Discovering the Gràcia neighborhood with a private guided tour. 
Welcome to the beating heart of the rumba world!
Private tour in the Gràcia neighborhood, the beating heart of the rumba world

A melting pot of musical cultures

Barcelona is a melting pot of musical cultures owing to its geographical position as a port city in the northeast of modern Spain.

This city has always been a gateway to music from Europe, the Mediterranean, and even the Caribbean.

Liceu Opera House on the Ramblas
The Teatre del Liceu Opera House on the Ramblas

A very rich musical heritage

Barcelona is internationally renowned on the music scene for its opera house, known as the Teatre del Liceu, on the Ramblas.

Not far from it, in the Sant Pere quarter is the Palau de la Música concert hall, a spectacular UNESCO listed Modernista or Catalan Art Nouveau building.

However, it’s not all classical and opera; Barcelona has long been home to all sorts of music, from the most refined classical compositions to the catchy popular tunes played in the streets.

Great composers presiding Palau de la Música's main entrance
Great composers presiding the Palau de la Música concert hall

Classical music and popular music as equals

In order to better understand the local approach, just have a look at the statuary that adorns the main entrance to the Palau de la Música. It’s a visual manifesto of musical philosophy

There, the busts of the four great composers Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven and Wagner preside like protective spirits of this temple of music.

Just below at the corner of the building, you can’t miss a huge modernista sculpture, an allegory of Catalan popular music.

To us it’s reminiscent of a figurehead on the prow of a ship. Popular music leads the way and guides us through the past and to the present of Barcelona!

The sculpture of Catalan popular music as a figurehead on the prow of a ship
Palau de la Musica, Catalan popular music’s sculpture, Palau de la Música concert hall

The Catalan Rumba

If there’s a local genre that immediately pops into our minds, it’s definitely the rumba catalana, or the Catalan Rumba. For us it’s the joy of life, distilled into street music.

Rumba master Peret performing “El muerto vivo”

The beating heart of the rumba world

We inevitably associate the uplifting tunes of the rumba with the lively streets and squares of the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona.

We see Gràcia’s plaça del Raspall and its environs as the beating heart of the rumba world.

The great Gato Pérez

A distinctive sound

The local gitano or gypsy community, long established in Barcelona, has developed an energetic style to suit the city.

The rumba catalana came to life in the 1960s between Gràcia, the Raval and Hostafrancs neighborhoods.

Peret in the 1960s, singing “La noche del Hawaiano”

This genre, though owing much to Afro-Cuban rhythms, flamenco and even rock ‘n’ roll, has its own very distinctive sound and a characteristic guitar strumming technique called el ventilador

Legends of the rumba catalana

Great patriarchs of the rumba such as Peret, Gato Pérez and el Pescadilla were born in or lived and composed their music in the city.

This genre never stopped evolving with new generations of artists like los Manolos in the 1980s and Ojos de Brujo in the late 1990s.

Ojos de Brujo’s “Ventilaor r-80”

Rumba today

Today, the rumba scene is very much alive and kicking and remains a source of inspiration for many Catalan bands.

Local groups like Estopa and the rumba and ska group La Pegatina have been fusing rumba with pop sounds for many years, and to great effect! 

La Pegatina… live!

Want to dance, sing, play or just watch a music show in Barcelona?

Do you fancy a tour of the past and present of music in Barcelona? Do you want to dance, sing, play or just watch a music show?

Just ask us. We’ll be very happy to assist you!

Los Manolos playing “Amigos para siempre” (Forever friends)


  1. Albert
    18 February, 2021

    Excellent post! It summarizes very well all our music. My favourite of course is la rumba! But from time to time, opera does not hurt… Fully recomendable!

  2. Matt
    19 February, 2021

    Interesting stuff! I’ve got my playlist for the morning sorted!

  3. Maria Rizzolo
    20 February, 2021

    That’s an excellent idea!! Nothing better to get into the real spirit of this amazingly lively city! Congratulations!!

  4. unison
    21 February, 2021

    Thank you so much for your support, Albert! I do appreciate!

  5. unison
    21 February, 2021

    Enjoy it, Matt! More on music will be published in the near future! Stay tuned!

  6. unison
    21 February, 2021

    Thank you so much, Maria! Like Peret sings… cherevet!

  7. joseph martin
    28 February, 2021

    Some friends told me of your visits of Barcelona. They look very interesting. If there’s also a lot of music, then I’ll have to join one.

  8. unison
    28 February, 2021

    thank you so much Joseph!

  9. Roberto
    1 April, 2021

    Great! Look very actractive

  10. unison
    2 April, 2021

    Music is one of the best things I can think of!

    Enjoy Rumba catalana!

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