Ana Torroja finds this interview funny when she is asked why many of the things that are said and done in the world today have a “conservative whiff”. It is no wonder: Mecano’s voice finds it ironic that, 40 years ago, everything was less prudish than now.
Although she does not consider herself very nostalgic – first of all Ana is a tree: she lives in the here and now -, she does miss some things from the glorious and libertine eighties: “Real freedom, freedom of expression, of action, of thought, creative freedom. Before there weren’t so many labels, you didn’t judge so much, you just enjoyed yourself “, he tells The Sun of Mexico.
These words explain his good mood during the talk. Somehow, Ana has returned to that freedom, accompanied by what, for many years, it was rumored, was her rival: Alaska.
At the beginning of the 1980s, everything in Spain was thirsty for freedom after so many years of Francoism. A regime of homophobic, racist and conservative discourses, which proclaimed to love only God and Francisco Franco, caused young people to grow up in the midst of unprecedented sexual and cultural repression.
But at some point the hangover came from that right-wing drunkenness. And then freedom took many forms. Like the one from Alaska, the reptile of the underground; or Ana’s, the sweet pop song of the sparrow. Both, although different, made themselves heard. And how.
“We have always admired and loved each other. We decided to make this collaboration to silence the rumors and disprove the legend of the rivalry, because there never was ”, says the former Mecano vocalist about Hora y Cuarto, a song that took by surprise, above all, those who grew up among the myth of the Deadly antagonism between Mecano and Alaska and Dinarama, two of the most iconic groups in the Movida Madrileña.
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The video for the song was recorded in La Vía Láctea, one of the most popular bars for the artists of the Movida Madrileña. A true corner of youth worship located in the Malasaña neighborhood, where people like Pedro Almodóvar, Fabio McNamara, Antonio Vega, Carlos Berlanga, Alaska itself and, of course, Nacho and José María Cano, the founding brothers of Mecano, paraded. “Everybody passed by there. Going to record in that place was like taking a trip back in time,” recalls Torroja, who never felt despised for coming from a much more pop environment. “I liked that underground world, but don’t believe it: it wasn’t that different from the one I used to come from.”
The truth is that Ana and Alaska are united by the same impulse: absolute freedom to be what you want to be. A conviction that they have maintained for many years in each of their songs.
“I am part of the LGBT community even though I am heterosexual,” says Torroja. “That is something I share with Alaska.”
For the Madrid singer, belonging to the LGBT community is not a matter of sexual identity, but of tolerance, respect and love. Love for who you are or who you want to be. That is why a lump forms in her throat when she remembers the times when so many young women in the company of their mothers have approached her to say: “Thank you.” Thank you because Woman Against Woman helped me come out. Thank you because for you I am what I am. Thank you because for you I had the courage to get married. Thank you because I am not afraid for you.
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“There are things that give meaning to your life … sometimes you grab hold of the songs to be able to go out, because music is a life companion,” he says.
Their experiences, however, go beyond sexual identity. He also says that terminally ill cancer patients have approached him. Although the most vivid memory he has is that of a Catalan patient who volunteered in the United Kingdom to test the first vaccines against Covid-19. “The first day he got the dose he got very dizzy. So he put my music on and that was like a mantra for him. He calmed down and endured the fear. “