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Bonet de San Pedro

CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
in History Posts: 270

I don't think I've seen the Spanish guitarist/singer Bonet de San Pedro mentioned around here yet. Anyone familiar with him? He's new to me. Not a jazz heavy hitter by any stretch, but still a very fun listen. I really like the violinist, Jaume Vilas.

db5Wim GlennBuco


  • europhoniceurophonic New couesnon
    edited January 17 Posts: 3

    Thanks for bringing him into our attention! I can share some insight if you'd like.

    He is indeed somewhat of an icon in Spain but for other reasons than you may think. Let me put him into context first: Jazz didn't go unnoticed in Spain in the 20/30, so quite a few orchestras were playing 'jazz hot' (as the called it) in the bigger cities. Around 1935 a 'Hot Club Barcelona' was formed, and in early 1936 they managed to bring the QHCF for some very well recieved concerts, although the last one didnt go that well: the promoter dissapeard with the earnings and they had to scrape together every centime to return to france (more on Django in Spain here: These concerts had a big influence on the spanish jazz scene, new bands emerged, but the civil war '36-'39 stopped almost all musical endeavours (and everything else). Life wasn't renewed until '41, thats when the first real spanish jazz recordings were made (much later than in other countries). I should mention that, like in nazi germany, the relationship of the then ruling catolic fascists (Franco et al) with jazz music and (north-)american culture was ambiguous at least, condemning jazz harshly at first, then (slowly) embracing it. Spain was poor and isolated after the civil war and in dire need of help from an ally; that eventually became USA, who saw Spain as a welcome partner against comunism.

    Bonet de San Pedro (from beautiful Island Mallorca!) started at very young age in the 30's as singer and guitar player, he was part of a famous local band 'los trashumantes' and later gained wider recognition in Barcelona as crooner in jazz orchestras. He was also a composer and played other instruments: clarinet, xylophone and hawaiian guitar. His most famous Band (and his most gypsy-jazz-like) 'los siete de palma' was formed 1942 with 3 guitar-players (including a lady on guitar!):

    In '43 he had a big hit with 'Rascayú' (a parody to 'you rascal you'), but the creepy lyrics didn't go well with the catholic Franco-Regime, so he got censored and slowly faded into oblivion. By the 50's he was almost forgotten and it wasn't until after Franco ('76) that he gained recognition as a 'camp' idol and was embraced by the new wavers (if you can stomach it, watch this: ). In the 80's he formed a swing band (Swing Group Balear) and played in bars for almost 20 years, so he had a long and prosperous life like Grapelli, Nick Lucas or Oscar himself! Today he is remembered by some vintage fans, spanish gypsy jazz musicians and of course in his home turf (mallorca, catalonia...). And Rascayú pops up every now and then in the radio (it's the halloween song nowadays).

    A great Resource for exploring music of this time and place is the spanish digital library (It helps if you understand some spanish and know what you are searching): Although it has a terrible interface, it has more content on this than youtube.

    Bonet's most gypsy style song may be 'club trebol': . (also listen to the original version of Rascayú by clicking on 'cara b'). Other nice songs are:

    There is also a radio program (in catalan!) about him at .

    And there's other Bands/People worth listening to:

    Not everything is 'gypsy jazz', but vintage jazz nonetheless, with a spanish flair and definitely influenced by Djangos music.

    There's of course more info to be found on the net for spanish readers or just ask.

    Please excuse if this lengthy post about spanish jazz history is of no interest to you... and also my bad english.

    Keep on swinging

    Wim GlennBucorudolfochristJosechikyBill Da Costa WilliamsCuimeanbillyshakesBones
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 270

    Thanks for this great overview! I found a few compilations of Spanish swing online and have been enjoying lots of it. Now I have even more music to seek out!

  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 579

    I'm not familiar with most of those artists but here is a recording of Bei Mir Bis du Schoen by the Emil Hot Five, Emil Beckmann guitar, Jaime Vila violin and Juli Sandaren accordion, recorded in Barcelona in 1936.

    Thanks for the great overview of Spanish jazz, Europhonic!

  • europhoniceurophonic New couesnon
    edited February 4 Posts: 3

    Thanks for the nice comments.

    ...Bei Mir Bis du Schoen by the Emil Hot Five

    you can also find it here:

    And thats really funny because it links directly to my other post about german music: (see comment below mine):

    Glad you are enjoying spanish jazz. Django surely left his mark everywhere in Europe (if it hadn't been for the war...)

    I like to see it this way: the 20's were the golden days of jazz in Germany, the 30's in France and the 40's in Spain/Italy

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