History of Rumba Catalana

10. Rumba Taleguera, the Soundtrack of Cine Quinqui

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The Rumba Taleguera, Soundtrack of the Quinqui Cinema of the 1980s

The disappearance of censorship allowed cinema to tackle disturbing social issues, including the new delinquency and the explosion of drug trafficking. A short-lived genre was born, the cine Quinqui inspired by the drama of a sacrificed youth, the Quinquis whose violence had been politically exploited by the Franco regime. The young actors were recruited from Madrid’s poorest housing estates, among the real delinquents. Eloy de la Iglesia‘s films were a popular success. In 1981, the director Carlos Saura took up the theme to make Deprisa, DeprisaHurry, Hurry ! – which won the Golden Bear in Berlin the same year. The genre had a strong influence on Almodovar‘s cinema, although he would strip it of its social dimension, keeping only the aesthetic.

Eloy de la Iglesia – “Navajeros”
Rumba Tres – “Y no te quedan lagrimas”

If the cine quinqui lost its steam around 1987, the Quinqui spirit remained alive in Spain, always carried by the music that became its signature sound: the Rumba Vallecana (or Rumba Taleguera) played by Gypsy bands like Los Chunguitos, Los Chichos, Las Grecas, Los Chorbos, Toni el Gitano, or Rumba Tres. Via the soundtrack of Hurry, Hurry !, they will also mark the appearance of an alternative “flamenco garage rock” in France, which gave birth to Mano Negra, a leading French-Spanish band from the late 80s and 90s that will have a major impact on the young generation of Gypsy musicians and the rumba fusion scene in the 2000s.

End scene of the movie Deprisa, Deprisa, by Carlos Saura – 1981
Los Chunguitos – “Me quedo contigo”

El Coleta, a leading figure in Spanish rap, defines himself as a Quinqui rapper. Main protagonist of the docudrama “Quinqui Stars” , made in 2018, he also composed the soundtrack, of rumba inspiration.

Los Chunguitos
“Soy un perro callejero”
Los Chichos
“Yo vivo navegando”
Los Chorbos
“Pueblo Gitano”
Toni el Gitano
“No quiero barrotes no”

Snubbed by the Spanish intellectual left, rumba nevertheless managed to keep and grow its popular audience. In 1991, in the streets of Barcelona, street musicians are part of everyday life. The Salazar sisters of Azucar Moreno are unavoidable, artists like Manzanita, former singer of Los Chorbos, and Ketama are very successful.

Azucar Moreno
“Rumba, Rumba”
“Gitana, Gitana”
“No estamos lokos”
Documentary from 1991
Rumba a Barcelona


While the Madrid Gypsies were rallying the Spanish working classes – an ironic label, as millions were jobless – around their music, the whole world would soon discover the Catalan rumba, thanks to the Barcelona Olympic Games. In France, the Gipsy Kings were finally ready to take the world by storm.