Valencian Community


Valencian Community


Immersed in a deep life crisis affecting her writing as well as her romantic relationship, Valeria seeks refuge in the only safe place she knows: sheltered by her friends. Filmed mainly in Madrid, but with a connection to other territories, the series is inspired by Elisabet Benavent novel and is produced by Plano a Plano. A production that features music from the Valencian band Heatwaves. Songs that accompany an emotional journey marked by turbulence created by love, friendship, secrets, dreams and a future that is ever more difficult to define. A fight against her own uncertainty.

Is it possible to live without music? Not in the Valencian Community

On the shores of the Mediterranean lies a region with one of the highest concentrations of musical societies in the country. What is it like to live to the sound of music?

By: Pelayo de las Heras

It is difficult to choose just one aspect to define the Valencian Community: the cuisine, the Mediterranean climate, its unique architecture, or the pollen that announces the arrival of spring: the smell of burning that marks the fiesta of Las Fallas. What is always overlooked, however, is an essential piece of Valencian identity, namely the fact that music, no less than paella, completely defines the daily life – and history – of the region. From those long kilometres of Mediterranean coastline, a multitude of musical pieces have emerged that now form a part of the national collective imagination. Today it is part of something even bigger: after the government recognition of the musical societies of Valencia as intangible cultural heritage, their gaze has now shifted towards UNESCO. Beyond Spain, could the Valencian Community also conquer the ears of the world? 

The region’s musical societies count forty thousand musicians and over two hundred thousand members

‘The community has always had considerable levels of musical activity. Currently, the musical activity is very fruitful in the three provinces, for concerts as much as music bands’, says Jose Dolz, leader of the band Heatwaves from Castellon, whose sounds shifts boldly between pop-rock, girlbands of the 60s and American garage. Beyond individual successes, the proof is in the numbers: forty thousand musicians and more than two hundred thousand members form the bulk of the numerous musical societies in the region. These figures are surprising even at a state level, where Valencians represent around 50% of the Spanish Confederation of Musical Societies. This strong concentration of musical fabric – bands, orchestras, choirs – is not only unique in Spain, but also in a large part of the world. ‘What motivates us to play is the act of creating something new from nothing, something that provokes a feeling in the people that listen to it. Success per se does not have any meaning for us’, explains Dolz, whose musical romanticism drives him to release his productions, even today, directly on vinyl.

The presence of music in the region is absolute: this is not limited to the capitals of the province, but, like the mantle of the tide, reaches every rural and urban area throughout the territory. Music becomes, in this way, the soundtrack to the most important festivities – La Fallas, competitions, local traditions – and as a cultural training tool for the neighbours themselves. As Frederic Oriola, a historian who specialises in the area’s musical bands, explains: ‘one of the main values offered by musical societies is forming an intergenerational link between its members’. It is, in reality, a path to mutual understanding. This is part of why, according to Oriola, ‘musical societies can serve as a tourist attraction and a cultural value when it comes to choosing the Valencian Community as a destination’. This is something that has already happened in a big way – although not exclusively – with music festivals: thousands of visitors come every year to the celebrations of already veteran organisations such as Arenal Sound, Rototom or the International Festival of Benicassim, which came into existence in 1995. It is hardly a surprise that the Valencian Community currently has one of the largest number of major festivals of any region of Spain. 

The Valencian Community has one of the largest numbers of large festivals of any Spanish region

However, not everything goes through the framework of mass tourism. In addition to small festivals – ones that are specialised or with a local focus – there are also projects that bring together the very soul of the community. This is the case of Music Immersion Travel, a project with a tourism focus, which allows lovers of music to get to know and experience how music is lived and how it works – in short, the nooks and crannies of the musical societies connect the region’s cultural life of the region and, to an extent, that of the country. All types of genre and styles, instruments and individuals, are welcome in these spaces. It is projects like this, like the concerts which take place in Palau de la Música, strategically located next to the calm waters of the Turia River, which demonstrate what music means to the Valencian lands: it means, in a way, the very act of living. 

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