Malcolm Scarpa, legend of Spanish underground pop, dies at 62

Malcolm Scarpa ABC

The veteran composer was admired by a small group of enthusiastic followers, achieving one of the highlights of his career with the soundtrack to the film “Mamá es boba”.

Javier Villuendas


Updated at 7:14 p.m.

Desolation in the Spanish underground pop. The free composer Malcolm Scarpa has died aged this newspaper has confirmed, after a long career during which he released several solo albums, and also experimental blues with Naco Goniin addition to participating in the soundtrack of ‘mom is stupid‘, cult jewel of santiago lorenzo made before abandoning cinema for novels.

Composer, guitar and voice, and veteran of the Madrid blues and pop scene, Scarpa was best known as a unique artist and intense performer, as seen in a magical concert at the Madrid Funhouse supported by Mystery Charlie in front of a small audience. From the artist’s Facebook account the sad death is reported and it is explained: “I will work to be able to publish the material that he left unpublished.”

An irreducible inhabitant of the district of the capital, Pueblo Nuevo, from which he has not moved for half a century, his name comes from Malcolm Le Maistreof The Incredible String Band, then Scarpa by his second surname, of Italian origin. Among the influences of his simple songs are recognized Brian Wilson, Lennon and McCartney and their favorites kinksof Ray Davies. Thus, we are talking about an author fond of melody, with poetic lyrics sometimes full of nostalgia and not limited to the conventional pattern of pop song, because he was very restless to experiment, in addition to the varied palette of genres in which his collection of songs flourished: pop, blues, folk, country…

Since he started releasing his first albums 30 years ago, first with Ñaco Goñi his ‘do our kind‘ and, later, his namesake solo in ’93, his career, singing in English and Spanish, took a path for fervent minorities, passionate fans of his genius and originality of composition as can be seen by se strolling on Twitter where, for example, Julien Hernandezof totally sinister, describes such a sentiment: “I don’t care how it reverberated: 50 Malcolm Scarpa fans can’t be wrong. A species of a single individual.

Scarpa had been playing on the subway for years (“I played five hours. I have calluses on my hands that still last me. The repertoire, the Beatles, country, blues… I was earning a thousand pesetas a day. It was in the early seventies,” he explained in an interview last year in ‘dirty rock‘) and bequeaths us a musical work of enormous creative freedom (and sensitivity) to which we must add the book ‘What do I owe you Jose??’, 2001. Regarding being an artist for minorities, he made his position clear in an interview with Atonal in 2014: “I don’t want to know anything about the ‘cult musician’ anymore. I already miss so much curse and all that. I am fed up with all that.”

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