‘MARICAS IS FREEDOM’: THE BARCELONA QUEER COLLECTIVE THAT SHOULD BE ON YOUR RADAR

Words by: Alejandra Cabrera

MARICAS are a pivotal force in the queer community in Spain, and they’re a collective you need to be paying attention to.

Barcelona is one of the most queer friendly and liberal cities in the sometimes very conservative Spain. But when it comes to parties, the coastal city can be lacking of the many queer options for Techno lovers offered in other European countries. This is something that the collective MARICAS strives to change.

Amongst other queer friendly parties and collectives that saw Barcelona as a perfect place to call home, MARICAS stands out. It became a crucial actor in the city’s queer partying evolution. The collective has been running as a queer and gender fluid party in Barcelona since 2018, when it was formed by Colombian-born ISAbella, Eloisa Blitzer and Gina Guasch. These women were part of the LGBTQ+ creative community and came together through their shared passion for music, art and queer culture. ‘Marica’, Spanish for ‘fag’, was chosen as the collective’s name so the members could find empowerment through deconstructing the negative connotations of the term. 

Off the back of the success of the parties, the collective has expanded its reach and scope of activity beyond simply events. MARICAS has grown to now encompass digital platforms and even a recent vinyl-only record label. 

Last September, founder ISAbella released MARICAS Records’ first project, Audio Exotica EP, with the ethos to “lift up and showcase their family of queer artists and spread their sound to parties and after parties all around the world”. The label describes itself as distributing “Techno, 90s rave, House, Electro, Italo, Bleep, cum, sweat, blood and tears”. The label’s debut offering is an EP packed with Dark House that exalts the queer origins of dance music punctuated with buzzing hi-hats. This in combination with euphoric synths, breaks and different textures makes for a fascinating and compelling first project. 

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One of the collective’s main goals is to give visibility to queer artists and freelancers, as they are often not in the spotlight as much. With this in mind, they launched “HOUSE OF MARICAS: The Art Of Staying At Home” as a non-profit that creates content for the LGBTIQ+ community. This space is around to support independent art and activist proposals. It offers a free space for those who might have found it hard to truly express themselves in other places that abide more with heteronormative conventions.

After many struggles in a tumultuous time where Barcelona has had to cancel many of its events, MARICAS turned to content creating such as podcasts, DJ sets and articles that have served as an escape from the covid induced mental and economic struggles. MARICAS are asking for contributions to pay their artists who have been affected the most and are currently in a vulnerable situation. Donations can be made through their website. In the meantime, in the long post-covid journey, make sure you follow the collective for news and sets like this recent one for Boiler Room

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