Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Located in the north-east of the island, it is a fascinating and cosmopolitan city. Its bustling center boasts historic buildings alongside contemporary architecture. It is also where we find the two Musicanarias stores.
Carmen and Kevin (2022-12) by Diego CalviCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Over 60 years dedicated to music
Musicanarias is the flagship music store in Tenerife. The project includes two stores, a music school, and their own technical service. It is run by a team of twenty people, including Carmen and Kevin, the founder's daughter and grandson, respectively, who are welcoming us today.
Santiago Reig PascualCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
In 1961, Santiago Reig Pascual, a military musician from Alicante who was stationed in Tenerife, opened the business in the basement of his home in the capital. As Carmen explains: “My father was a professional musician, director, and composer. He balanced his job as conductor of the military orchestra in the mornings with working in the store in the afternoons. Music was his life.”
Musicanarias en los años 70 (1970s)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
In 1965, Santiago opened his first store specializing in classical and modern musical instruments, named Casa Verdi. In 1968, he renamed the store with its current name: Musicanarias.
Piano lesson (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
“He started out buying pianos from England, which he transported direct from London via an acquaintance who lived there. He set up a small local store, and gradually built up the business with other instruments. In time, he also began offering brands which hadn't been sold before in the Canaries.”
Guitars and customers (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
In the early 1970s, the business moved to a larger space in the city center. The classic store is still located there today, with a varied offering of acoustic and digital pianos, wind and string instruments, guitars, keyboards, and percussion instruments.
Piano lesson (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
From the 1990s until 2019, Musicanarias amassed five different spaces: two stores in Santa Cruz, one on the south of the island, one on the island of Gran Canaria, and an industrial unit on the outskirts of Santa Cruz. The unit was not only a store, but also hosted a huge variety of activities.
Electric Guitars at Musicanarias (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
When the unit closed down, he decided to reopen the second store in Santa Cruz, which had been closed. And that's when the modern store opened, dedicated to electric guitars and basses, amplifiers, sound systems, music production, and tuners.
Guitars at Musicanarias' store (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
The most popular products
“We always carry out market research because it's the only way of knowing which products are most in demand. We work with a lot of brands, including Yamaha and Fender. In terms of instruments, guitars and keyboards are our biggest sellers.”
The timple: The Canarian instrument par excellence
The timple is an instrument that originated in the Canary Islands. It has five strings, although originally it had four strings in the eastern islands and five strings in the western islands. Its main purpose is to accompany the Canarian folk music processions, although it has become popular as a solo instrument. It is the most emblematic instrument of the Canaries.
Kevin playing the Canarian Timple (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
“The timple is in its golden age. There are many folk music groups on the Canary Islands, but the timple has also been incorporated into musical education, and can even be studied in conservatories. It is starting to be seen as an instrument which can be used in any style of music.”
084-MusicanariasCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
A diverse clientele …
“The clientele of Musicanarias is very varied. Being tourist islands, we welcome many foreign customers, and also musicians who work on the cruise ships. We also serve parents looking for a first instrument for their child, as well as musicians studying in the conservatories, and professional musicians."
Drum lessons (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
… a new generation of musicians making their mark…
“It is really important to us to support the new generation of musicians. We do that through any means we have available to us, including supporting concert halls where they promote local musicians, participating in festivals, working in rehearsal halls, or organizing live sessions to show off the huge musical variety on offer here in the Canaries.”
Music Shop Musicanarias (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
… and a team of people willing to help.
Advice is a key element of Musicanarias. For Kevin, “it's what differentiates us from the cold world of ecommerce.” All the team members try to always be as informed as possible in order to advise and help the client as best as they can. Treating the client as family is their modus operandi.
Playing the electric guitar (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Each of the employees working in the store has a specialist field of knowledge: Alberto knows everything about percussion; Emilio is an expert in accordions, keyboards, and pianos; Eugenio is skilled in the electric guitar and is also a guitar maker …
The music school
Musicanarias also houses a music school, which was set up in the mid-70s by Santiago, Carmen's brother, occupying the top floor of the classic store. They started with organ classes, using a method offered by Yamaha. Today, they offer classes in everything except for bowed string instruments and organs, which ended up dying out.
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The school has around 180 students, and not only has it maintained these numbers throughout the years, but it “has grown following the lockdown of 2020.” It was during this lockdown period that online sales of instruments also went through the roof.
Music lesson (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
An idea for the future
Musicanarias do everything: they sell you an instrument, they teach you to play it, they repair it when it breaks … But there is one idea they tried in the past and would like to reinstate: they want to open some rehearsal spaces so that those living in the capital have a place to meet up and play together.
Colourful Guitars (2022-12)Cámaras de Comercio de Canarias
With this prospect, we are sure that Musicanarias will continue to be a musical pacesetter in Tenerife, for many reasons.
Photographer: Diego Calvi