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La Plazuela: they have hit it in the music and now we have the difficult task of assimilating it | Culture

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Luis Abril ‘Nitro’ and Manuel Hidalgo ‘Indio’, La Plazuela, photographed in Madrid on March 14.JUAN BARBOSA

One of them, Indio, arrives on time and with his sleepy face hidden behind large sunglasses. It’s 2 pm, but for him the day has just begun. Yesterday was a mess: a flamenco concert, a few beers in company, another round… An ordinary Wednesday night in Madrid. Nitro, his partner, shows up 15 minutes later with a clearer face and with glasses that he designed himself: black plastic, with holes at the bottom and full of golden rings. A model that he will soon market. Manuel Hidalgo Indio and Luis April Nitro, Both 25 years old and born in Granada, they form La Plazuela, the revelation group of last season thanks to their effervescent debut album, Roneo Funk Club (2023), with music that clearly is made by young people who have listened to a lot of Enrique Morente or Pata Negra, the rapper Anderson .Paak or the electronic duo Jungle. Fusion is the word.

Indio and Nitro have not offered interviews for a year, just when they finished promoting Roneo Funk Club. Their media exposure overwhelmed them in such an alarming way that they informed the manager and to the record company that either stopped or exploded. They appeared in many newspapers, radios, podcasts and television networks, and that, accompanied by a good album, helped launch his career; but they paid for it. “We don’t come from a family of artists and we are not used to this level of exposure. It takes a lot of mental strain,” Indio drawls. His partner joins in: “We had heard other artists say that when you become professional you feel alone. We have come to feel that a little. Although all of us on the team are colleagues, it is true that it is a time when you do not have any external contact. There is so much external demand and also that which we impose on ourselves that you have moments of quite low levels. I would come home and I wouldn’t remember what I had done from Monday to Thursday. You realize that you haven’t seen your family, that you are at home and don’t know what to do, that you have even forgotten the sports you used to do. Your life is only La Plazuela. So we must recover quality time as friends. There is no one who knows the Indio better than me, and no one who knows me better than the Indio,” reflects Nitro.

Another image of the duo in the place where they rehearse, in the center of Madrid, on March 14.
Another image of the duo in the place where they rehearse, in the center of Madrid, on March 14.JUAN BARBOSA

Indio and Nitro met in the first year of Kindergarten at a school in Granada, when they were three years old. During their adolescence they made two trips that transformed them. Nitro went to Mexico for a year, with his family. “At home, in Granada, we did not have a good economic situation and my father had to consider looking for work in another country. He went alone to Mexico and a year later my mother, my sister and I, who was in the fourth year of ESO, joined him. Imagine: I left my girlfriend and my colleagues here. She was a fucked giant for my head. I had a very bad time. I missed Granada. In fact, it was there where I started listening to flamenco.”

Nitro was an entertainer at a hotel in Cancun. There he met some Rastafarians with whom he played guitar and smoked his first joints. “I went to Mexico wanting to be a legionnaire and I came back a complete hippy”. Indio went away for 12 months to a country where his nickname arose, India. This time not out of necessity, but thanks to an exchange. “It helped me a lot, man. Because at that moment I also had the typical restlessness of an 18-year-old kid who doesn’t know what he wants to do. On the one hand, he heard that I should dedicate myself to ‘what has opportunities’, and on the other, my heart told me that I had to work on what I liked and dare to take the step. In India I was aware that I was lucky to have been born where I was born and I had to at least try to do what I felt, dedicate myself to music. Many people there had no choice because their only concern was getting food.”

There was a key day. The two, at 18 years old (they are only nine days apart), met their mothers, Alicia and Blanca, in a cafeteria, and told them: “Look, we are going to dedicate ourselves to music, we want to live alone and that’s it. What do you think?”. They thought it was good, “because they smelled something.” They began to conquer the bars of Granada playing guitar and vocal versions of Pata Negra, Manzanita or Los Chichos. Meanwhile, they were shaping La Plazuela, a project that was nourished by their musical preferences: flamenco, electronic music, soul and funk.

La Plazuela in concert in A Coruña, in September 2023.
La Plazuela in concert in A Coruña, in September 2023. Cristina Andina (Redferns)

Although what La Plazuela proposes invites dancing and revelry, its lyrics develop stories as terrible as that of Your word, that describes an episode of abuse: “In the hallway I remember voices and some barking. / Mom doesn’t go out. / She pulls over to the car, I beg you. / I don’t want friction. / And little by little she calmed down. / And a storm that lasted ten years.” “Yes, it is a hard story. Complicated, complicated… But fortunately it’s over,” responds his lyricist, Indio, who adds: “For me writing songs is a fucking way of doing therapy, man. When I have a problem I write something about it and it automatically changes my mood and I feel like I’m relieving myself.” Nitro points out: “We are the generation with poor mental health, the one who has the opportunity to consider things in life because we don’t lack food or anything. I think the word anxiety is being used a lot in the last two years. We are the generation that is going to the psychologist and no one looks down on us, because it is a vital necessity. And I think people identify a lot with our lyrics because we talk about this.”

Last August the two moved to Madrid. Before they shared a house in Granada; Today they live separately in the capital. One more piece of information about your professionalism. “We have always claimed our culture from Granada and that is not going to change, but in Madrid there are very good musicians and we like to collaborate with them and develop ideas. Our project today is best located in Madrid. As soon as we feel that our time here is over we will return to Granada,” they explain.

Before the arrival of their second album, they expect their four most massive concerts, with capacity around 10,000 (Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Seville and Granada), 12 musicians on stage, many festivals and an EP, The Caleta, composed of five songs recorded with David de Jacoba (Paco de Lucía’s last singer) and the Granada electronic group Texture. It is dedicated to the Granada coast (Salobreña, Motril, Castell de Ferro…). “It has been a very stimulating investigation. For example, we have recorded a seguiriya with a base house”, they point out. Musicians getting together to exchange ideas in an atmosphere of compays. What La Plazuela enjoys most.

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