I was born in a dormitory-city of Madrid, Alcorcón, during the baby boom of the late 70s. We were so many children here that I had problems to get a place at the school and the secundary and I had to go quite far away from my house…
My mother is an immigrant from Extremadura region who came to Madrid at her 14 years to work as a domestic servant, from a very poor family of 11 siblings. She used to work on the fields from a very early age and came to the city, by her own decision, to raise money for her family.
My father was a taxi driver with almost no formal education but with big curiosity and love for culture and classical music. Radio was essential for him during all those long hours at the taxi. I say he “was” because he got to change his career: he got the formal education he needed, after his 30, he trained much and became very strong, already been father of me and my brother, and to pass the tests to become a driver fireman! The improvement of our lifes was quite dramatic. So I had the luck of been raised in a family used to work hard, to experience that only with your big effort and good decisions you can improve. Ah, and they met in Madrid in a disco, they felt in love and they got married and had me! Some time after they also had my brother.
The music in my childhood
And the music? Somehow, I was fond of Brazilian, Arabic and klezmer music since I can remember. How did I get to know those? From the films on TV, I suppose. I have always known I liked that. I have always been specially obsessed with Jewish music. I think I saw The Fiddler on the Roof when I was very little. I don’t have any fact to justify that, it is just a hypothesis.
My grandparents from my father’s side loved to dance. They danced tango, chachachá, and they used to play a cassette by Xavier Cugat for me to dance at their house. Me and my grandpa also used to make theatre, like scenes from Don Juan Tenorio. He encouraged me to study much, telling me that I had to be self-sustaining, in case I got married with a not liable man. He was handsome and very sensitive. He was chosen as a dancer for a very famous cupletista (singer of cuplés, a kind of theatre songs, full of double meanings and veiled erotic references) but, as the rehearsals were not paid, he had to decline, as the money he could earn by other sources was absolutely needed in his family. He was victim of the Civil War, of course, as he was born at mid of the 20s. He was too young to fight during the War but, after it, you can imagine the life was not easy at all.
His wife, my grandmother, was a quite different kind of person. Much more hedonistic, an authentic earthquake, and also with very big heart and generous. I remember her in myself very often. Even in my own smell. That is so strongly moving… I miss them very much and I still can’t remember them without tears in my eyes. She used to tell me “Don´t study that much, that is a nonsense!” I didn’t follow that advice. In fact I was very good student until Internet came to my life… I will explain later.
The teenage years, the arrival of the Internet and the access to the world!
During my teens, I started to listen what I could of that other music that was not on the hit parades, both new age and world music, from the sources I had, that were mainly Spain’s national radio. I got quite obsessed and used to record radio shows and make thematic compilations for myself.
Soon, when I got some money, I started to buy CDs. When I got a CD recorder I started to make compilations and copy CDs to give to other people. I just had to disseminate those kinds of music that were so catching for me! But until I had frequent access to the Internet I felt quite alone on this. The people around me was… curious, if so. Or just not interested at all. My boyfriend at that time liked classical music but not at all flamenco or Brazilian or any Gipsy music… So when I got frequent access to the Internet, I started to search for people interested on world music. I was around 22. In 2000 I created an e-group, that later was Yahoo Group: Ethnobeat. Through ICQ, the instant messaging tool, that existed even before MSN Messenger, and its “White pages” I pursued any people from anywhere in the world that was interested on this topic. And I found many! Some of them I met in person like 10 years after: Luís Rey from Portugal, Rudy Carrera from USA… and we are still in touch, now with Facebook. Technology changed but we still keep the same passion. And I met a guy that was as enthusiastic as me: Tim Øsleby, a Norwegian man, 16 years older than me. And we started a project together in the distance, a website with encyclopedic philosophy: Ethnobase.org. At that time there was no WordPress or any of those CMS so we had to make everything artisanal! That website became respected and gave us much pleasure.
Tim came to Madrid to meet me. We had great time! We met other friends of mine and I remember I had a big bag with recorded CDs for everybody. It was so natural for me, but Tim was surprised. I remember perfectly, he told me: “wow, you have the bag full of CDs for the people”. With Tim we went to have beers in Malasaña quarter, we also went to a flamenco concert at Suristán (a venue that closed not much long after), we went to my parents house and ate cocido madrileño… This kind of memories are unpayable.
So, with all these amazing things on my hands my studies of Psychology suffered a bit but I got to graduate without much problem. I just was not the superb student with all A+ on my grades any more (this was at the last year of University).
The first public initiative: Ethnobeat e-group
In the meantime, Ethnobeat, the mailing list, continued growing. I was found there by the editor of a new world music magazine that had just started in Andalucía: Planeta Ritmo. Wow, that was unbelievable!! He was going to pay me for writing about world music! I was making an apprenticeship in Vodafone at that moment, related to e-learning, and I quit and I started to work as freelance for e-learning companies and going to as many concerts as possible and writing really a lot. That other side of my business, I have always kept it and that I love too, the one related to training/teaching. I have worked also as employee for companies of this sector, of MBAs and masters and consultories for adults training, but my spirit was always entrepreneurial.
The beginning and present on radio
My relationship with media continued after that, mainly in radio. I started to make radio in 2002 in Radio Círculo, Madrid. I worked a lot at the online radio EmisionDigital.com for the thematic channels of new age, flamenco, classic and world music. In 2006 I joined Juan Antonio Vázquez on the radio show Mapamundi, that some years after (when we got into Spain’s national radio) changed the name into Mundofonías, that is currently on. Check www.mundofonias.com. We are proud of this and we have reasons to be.
And Mapamundi Música was born
And how did Mapamundi Música started? It was a quite natural consequence of all the previous events. With the radio show we improved the communication very much, as we were two people full of passion about music and totally convinced of the interest of what we were doing. People started to request us proposals and programs of world music, as it seemed we knew very well what was going on. At that moment I was already a freelance so I had the administrative requirements to deal with taxes, invoices and everything, so we had all we needed to start making a business of this passion. The first concert signed by Mapamundi Música was on 27th of December of 2007. Some years after I change the legal entity from freelance to a what we call in Spain Sole Proprietor Limited Company, that allows me to request grants from UE and things like that.
Your own roots worth it too
Along these years my personal interests related to music have also evolved. I realized that my own culture, the Castilian, was quite neglected, but it was as rich in terms of aesthetic quality and communicational power as any other. So, with Juan Antonio Torres, founder of Vigüela, I made the Asociación para la Difusión de los Estilos / Styles Dissemination Association. This is my culture and my people’s feelings get the artistic shape with our artistic contents. Feel free to know more and to discover through our music what we have in our souls!
One step to easy the way for others
And about the global dissemination of music, with Ángel Romero from WorldMusicCentral.org and the team of Mundofonías created the Transglobal World Music Chart with the main objective of facilitate the interchange of music between producers and journalist all over the world, avoiding the economic and market focus limitations, using the possibilities of the current strength of digital communication.
What I am working on now
I am writing this lines in September 2018. This year we have realized some projects that I love, related to creating connections between artists. For next Winter we have already confirmed the premier of another of this collaboration concerts, with artists from the edges of Europe. I want to reinforce our skills to disseminate to the world the music from my culture and for this we have started a project that will make us give our best. You’ll see all these soon.