It is carnaval season in Spain, and we had our first encounter in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

About a mile from our AirBnB in Las Palmas we found the main stage, with the preliminary events all free to the public. We attended on two nights: Murgas (first night, first round) and Comparsas.

In my video above, the first two clips are murgas. The difference in vocal quality was astonishing – compare the first clip to the second, listening to the harmonies and tight coordination. The rest of the clips are from the comparsas. We loved it all, but decided that the comparsas are more of a costume contest than a dancing contest. But those costumes!!

The murgas each have a signature song for their group, and it was so cool seeing folks around us sing along. These carnival celebrations re-emerged after the end of the Franco era and are a vehicle for social commentary. Some of the murgas themes were, for example, focused on LGBTQ rights.