History of Rumba Catalana

1. Modern Gypsy Rumba Was Born Catalan, in Barcelona

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Modern Gipsy Rumba Was Born Catalan, in Barcelona

The ’60s saw the birth of a Catalan cultural heritage

In Spain in the 1950s, records of Cuban and Puerto Rican music were fashionable and did not escape the ears of the Gypsies. If opinions differ on the precise origins, the precursors, the 1960s mark a turning point and we can say that the Gypsy rumba, or Catalan rumba, is a musical genre developed by the Gypsy community of the city of Barcelona at that time, which would know from then on a growing commercial success.

The modern Gypsy rumba was born in the Catalan Gypsy communities of the popular districts of Gracià, Carrer de la Cera del Raval and Hostafrancs. They took over this style, making it a new genre, giving it its autonomy from flamenco.

Very quickly, it spread throughout Catalonia, to Vich, Tarrega, Lleida, and then throughout Spain, and beyond the borders, to Perpignan, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue and dozens of towns in the south of France.

Commemorative plaque for El Pecadilla - History of Rumba Catalana
Commemorative plaque of the gypsy union of the barrio de Gràcia

If you’re here for the music, no worries

There is plenty to come in the following pages.

But we have a Youtube Channel if you really can’t wait – or want to read while listening to the soundtrack.

(For now, a playlist of all the songs presented in the website)


Is the rumba Catalana in any way related to the rumba flamenca ? The latter was born in Andalusia at the turn of the 20th century. If you read the related entries on Wikipedia in English, Spanish, Catalan, and French, they all differ, and, amusingly, quite radically. Let’s try and sort this out …