The capital of Spain, Madrid, is full of things to see and do from ny kind of museums and galleries to excellent places to eat, as well as wonderful views and architectural gems. Like all places, in addition to the traditional tourist attractions, there are little oddities to be discovered all over the city.
One of these is the “la abuela rockera”, a very special statue in the neighbourhood of Vallecas.
This is the story of a regular granny who, one regular day, decided to accompany her grandson to a regular rock concert.
An event changed her life forever.
Ángeles Rodríguez Hidalgo (1900-1993), an Argentinean living in Spain, was a humble woman who, when widowed at 41, worked two jobs to raise her five children.
She lived in the working-class Madrid neighborhood of Vallecas, where heavy metal music was popular with young people in the 1980s.
But Ángeles was not exactly a young lady when she decided to go to her first rock concert at the tender age of 70.
She liked, though, the experience so much that she became a metal fan herself and then began attending shows regularly, and became a beloved figure of the ’80s rock scene in Madrid.
In fact, she immediately won the affection of fans, audiences and the general public when she was seen rocking out at AC/DC concerts and frequenting spots that were anything but nursing homes.
Over time “la abuela rockera”, literally “the rocker grandma”, came to collaborate with radio and TV shows and even had her own column in Heavy Rock magazine.
Her image was also featured on the cover of the album “Toca Madera” by the heavy band Panzer, showing her clad in leather and giving the metal horns sign.
In 1999, six years after Ángeles’ death, artist Carmen Jorba created a bronze sculpture of the rocker grandma, hand held high, recreating the image from the Panzer album. The monument was promoted by several Spanish musical groups and was paid for from the money raised in a concert in the Sala Canciller, as well as contributions from the artist, Mario Scasso, a personal friend of the old lady, and the former record shop, Madrid Rock.
She is dressed in rock clothes: leather jacket, cap, scarf, wristband with metal spikes and studs but, at one point, some vandals broke off the statue’s devil horn fingers and for several years she seemed more like a Communist grandma than a veteran rocker.
It’s since been repaired, and now stands in all its metal splendor, a rare tribute to an unexpected pop culture personality.
Images from web – Google Research