The La Mar de Músicas festival has grown non-stop ever since it first appeared back in 1994. Today, it’s one of the most eagerly awaited cultural events of the summer. We spoke with Macaco, one of the most well-known artists taking part in this year’s festival and heading the bill on the night of the Barra Libre de La Mar (Open Bar of the Sea), held on July 19th with support from Repsol.
Macaco will headline La Barra Libre de la Mar at the LMM festival.
“I am very happy to be in La Mar de Músicas (LMM). I’ve been here other years and I’m always surprised by its atmosphere and stages,” Macaco noted. This will be the fourth time he will be on this stage in Cartagena, but it is always as if it were the first time. “It’s a festival that has always served as bridge between artists and styles. The line-up is very eclectic, but they always have something in common: traditional music.”
This year, LMM will also have a significant Latin-American component, which will be beneficial for Macaco who has been hanging “Sold-out” posters outside his shows for years in countries like Colombia and Peru. “Latin America is an infinite pattern of styles. It is very intense. I’ve always played with Latin artists. The mix of Mediterranean and Latin-American rumba is something that inspires me. You can see it in the energy we give off on stage.”
So much so that it was at a previous year of LMM when the Colombian group Aterciopelados and Macaco hit it off. “It’s true. We met in the dressing rooms of LMM. It is a very bold band in terms of mixes and fusion. That’s why we get along so well. I invited them to collaborate on the album for the tenth anniversary of Macaco and later I recorded Luz Azul with them, which was released in 2015.”
Regarding the activity that happens around festivals, Carbonell is certain that these types of initiatives should be promoted even more: “They bring culture, movement, and work. I’m from Barcelona and festivals have tripled the economic activity there. Music moves what no one else can. Spanish festivals should be sponsored even more abroad.”
Festivals also have another element that makes them even stronger: live performances. “Live shows move people. Music is alive now more than ever. What has happened is that there have been changes in the process of bringing it to the people. In Latin America, we’re bursting at the seams thanks of word of mouth. Social networks have a very good feature in that they multiply people’s experiences at live shows,” the Catalan artist explained.
Franco Battiato and Pablo Milanés are some of the veteran artists who are sharing the line-up with Macaco this year at La Mar de Músicas. For him, they are clear examples of where he would like to see himself years from now. “For me, it’d be an honor to continue working in what I love the most.”
LMM turns 23
This year, almost 50,000 people are expected. Hardly anyone at all. This progress would not have been possible without support from sponsors and brands that have been committed to LMM year after year. This is something which the director, Francisco Martín, is grateful for. He is also sure that it has allowed the festival “to become what it is today.” Of all the support received, Martín recalls how the relationship between Repsol and LMM began: “Such an important company for Cartagena’s economy and employment had to also be behind the cultural drive brought by this festival” in one of the most historic cities on the Mediterranean.
LMM is celebrating its 23rd birthday by offering fun, Latin entertainment for everyone from the 14th to the 22nd of July. Yes, it’s for adults and, for the first time this year, there’ll be special show for children. La Mar Chica (The Little Sea) offers endless options and entertaining workshops for the little ones in your family. According to Martín, with this show, the organization hopes to build loyalty “among the spectators of tomorrow.”
But it doesn’t stop there. This year, LMM will make history. Not only with the theme, holding Europe’s first completely Latin music festival; but the agenda will also have the second year of La Mar de Barrios (The Sea of Neighborhoods). This year, the festival will be held in Santa Lucía, a very important fishing neighborhood in the city, and Mar de Cristal, right next to the Mar Menor lagoon. “With La Mar de Barrios, we hope to liven up these areas and make them known to the public,” Martín explained.
Francisco Martín, director of the La Mar de Músicas festival.
La Mar de Músicas is without a doubt a genuine party, “everyone who experiences it has to go back,” the mayor of Cartagena, Ana Belén Castejón, told us. Artists known worldwide such as Residente (previously Calle 13) and UB40 will accompany performers playing for the first time this side of the ocean. The musical selection is completed with artists invited from America, Europe, and Africa such as Leyla McCalla, Rozalén, and Pablo López.