Chilean pop music is on the up and up around the world, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Spain. A February article in Spain’s El País called Chile the “New Pop Paradise,” citing the explosive popularity of several Chilean musicians on the Spanish scene in 2010.
Among the highlighted artists was Javiera Mena, whose second album Mena experienced huge success across the Atlantic in 2010, and who, due to popular demand, will spend three months living and working in Spain.
In an interview with El País, Mena described the difference between the sounds of Chilean music and that of other Latin American countries: “Latino music is hotter, more extroverted and ‘rock star.’ Chilean music is different: more melancholy, shyer.”
But Mena is hardly shy in her performance circuit. Recent months have seen her perform popular solo shows and open sold out events for major international acts around Chile. She appeared on stage at Chile’s first Lollapalooza as one of the event’s highlighted local musicians, and in the coming months her busy schedule will take her on a full circuit of Spain, from Madrid, to Sevilla and Valencia in the south, and Balboa and Barcelona up north.
Probably the most important of Mena’s Spanish appearances will be her May 27 performance at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival. Mena is among more than 200 international musicians and bands slated to appear in Barcelona, among them fellow performers from Lollapalooza Chile like The Flaming Lips and The National, and prominent figures in international music like Sufjan Stevens, PJ Harvey and Animal Collective.
Fellow Chilean songwriter Gepe – another of the artists highlighted in the El País article – will perform his folk-inflected pop tunes at Primavera Sound as well, along with Chileans Fernando Milagros and Perrosky. The appearance of these artists overseas, and particular Mena’s extended stay on the Iberian peninsula, represent an important moment for young Chilean musicians making their mark overseas, and creating a new Chilean sound for the 21st century.