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Just like last year, we attended Sónar festival in Barcelona, which has become a must-visit for new and exciting acts from the unruly underground. Our editors Valerie and Anna went to go check out the vibe and came back with a customised list of musical acts Subbacultcha members should know about.
We couldn’t have had a better start with the mysterious underground producer Merca Bae. Responsible for some of our most-played tracks in SoundCloud, it came as a surprise to us when the London-based artist mentioned in an interview that he actually hails from Salamanca (Spain). Rounded off with a Romeo Santos ballad, his set saw the first arrivals to Sónar joyfully dance like it was gone midnight rather than four in the afternoon.
This show was hosted in collaboration with the Nuits Sonores festival as part of the We Are Europe program at Sónar Village. It was about time we saw contemporary urban sounds playing on the Sónar Day’s main stage, and no one better than King Doudou to do the honours. The Lyon-based producer catapulted the likes of Bad Gyal to fame with Fiebre’s beats and he is now working with many other emerging artists such as Mi$$il and Moesha 13. Despite the hot weather everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives with the baile funk and reggaeton hits, showing off all their best dance moves.
London-born with a Nigeria-background, Simbiatu Ajikawo aka Little Simz has only released a couple of albums but her stage presence transmits a professional maturity that other artists with 10 records under their belt just don’t. Almost putting her vocal chords at risk at certain parts, her band completed the performance as a whole, with a great attitude and huge smiles on their faces. We hope to see more of this young artist in the next few years!
We can’t deny that we had extremely high expectations for Yaeji at Sónar this year. The (also very young) Korean-American producer, DJ, vocalist, and rapper stole our hearts back in 2017 with the release of the music video for the single ‘Drink I’m Sippin On’. Displaying both confidence and cuteness while fiercely mixing techno, chill-step and house music with her own tracks; she broke a few hearts after she sang her own songs live and thanked everyone who had danced under the sun over the synthetic grass of Sónar Village.
Another great young talent hailing from Lisbon is the Bordeaux-based and Príncipe Discos affiliate Nidia (fka Nidia Minaj), who was the perfect ending to our favorite day of the festival. Her set showcased an array of great batida, kuduro and afro house sounds that kept everyone busy dancing until the very end.
If you’re in any way up-to-date with Spanish music culture nowadays, you know that Rosalía is what’s happening right now. Still super young, Rosalía became a sensation in the Iberian area when she made her debut with ‘Los Angeles’, a modern interpretation of traditional flamenco music. This year she grew a little (or a lot) in her work, presenting a trappy Beyoncé-like performance that came close to an arty fashion show, motorcycle on stage included.
David and Stephen Dewaele still have it. At Sonar they played a very dark, circular room for three full and very sunny days. The brothers were put behind the decks inside an Oasis of old school speakers put into different corners of the space, a room so black it became a challenge to find one of your friends once you got in. Getting out to see other concerts during their 6 hour sets proved hard as well, as the amazing sound quality and central spinning disco ball subtly prepared its crowd for the night to come.