La Banda Trapera del Río
A dictionary of Spanish history and culture
Formed in 1976, La Banda Trapera del Río were probably the first punk band in Spain. They were from a working-class estate on the edge of Cornellà de Llobregat, (Barcelona), and were a transgressive voice of the underclass at the far margins of the cultural movements of the Spanish Transition and Catalan culture. Shunning commercial success and accompanied by a loyal following of quinquis and other misfits they fell into mythical oblivion in the 1980s. Here below their most famous song Ciutat Podrida, Rotten City.
The bands members were the sons of immigrants although unusually they also sang in Catalan. “Ciutat Podrida” came nearly two decades before the almost universally awful “Rock Català” became fashionable by bent of financial aid from the Generalitat.
“Listening to their first eponymous album, is like going down to the hell that was living in the outskirts of any big city and in this case that was the outskirts of Barcelona; small villages turning overnight into big towns because of immigration, where surviving became an everyday adventure. The band’s lyrics reported all this, “Bienvenidos A Las Cloacas” (Welcome to the Sewers) or “Curriqui De Barrio” (Slums Worker) touched the hearts of any son of the inland immigration, who could see no future for themselves. Whereas other peer groups were busy singing aloud to all directions about system’s oppression or about being victims of police repression and the constant calls to anarchy, La Trapera (The Rag Gang) tackled the conflict with straightforward lyrics, hitting where it hurt most and touching the hearts of everyone undergoing problems such as unemployment, crime, delinquency or urban violence, with the same strength as could be delivered by writer Vázquez Montalbán in “Los Mares Del Sur” (Southern Seas) or Paco Candel in “Donde La Ciudad Cambia De Nombre” (Where the City Changes Name), but told with the anger of someone suffering it in own flesh and blood.”
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