Saturday 7 May 1977


Born: 1931, Barcelona (Spain)
Died: January 13th, 2003, Madrid (Spain)
Nationality: Spanish

In due course, the short impression below will be replaced with a more extensive career overview


Rafael Ibarbia (full name: Rafael de Ibarbia Serra) was a pianist and conductor for countless programmes for Spanish state broadcaster TVE. He also worked as a musical director for numerous music festivals, amongst which Benidorm, OTI, and even the 1974 Portuguese Eurovision heats. As a studio arranger, he worked with Raphael Martos and Isabel Pantoja.


Rafael Ibarbia conducted six Spanish Eurovision entries, the first ones being ‘Algo prodigioso’ (sung by José Guardiola in 1963), 'Caracola' by Los TNT, and the quite spectacular ballad ‘Yo soy aquel’ (by Rafael Martos in 1966). In 1968, Ibarbia was part of the Spanish team which won first prize in the Eurovision Song Contest in London: Massiel’s ‘La, la, la’ (co-written by Ramón Arcusa) surprisingly beat home favourite Cliff Richard by one single point. Shortly before the festival, Ibarbia had reworked the original arrangement to make sure the music would sound even more up-beat than that of the record version. After this, Ibarbia had to wait six years before climbing the Eurovision stage again: in 1974, the arranger and conductor of Peret’s ‘Canta y se feliz’, Juan Carlos Calderón, had fallen ill, upon which Ibarbia was flown in to substitute him. Rafael Ibarbia made his last Eurovision appearance in 1977, when he led the orchestra for Mickey and his entry ‘Enseñame a cantar’. It is a striking coincidence that four of Ibarbia’s six participations in the contest took place in the United Kingdom.


Country – Spain
Song title – "Algo prodigioso"
Rendition – José Guardiola
Lyrics – Camillo Murillo Janero
Composition – Fernando Garcia Morcillo
Studio arrangement – unknown (possibly Josep Casas Augé)
Live orchestration – unknown (possibly Josep Casas Augé)
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 12th place (2 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Caracola"
Rendition – Nelly feat. Tim & Tony (Los TNT = Argentina Croatto / Edelweiss Croatto / Hermes Croatto)
Lyrics – Fina de Calderón
Composition – Fina de Calderón
Studio arrangement – unknown (possibly Victor Buchino)
Live orchestration – unknown (possibly Rafael Ibarbia)
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 12th place (1 vote)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Yo soy aquél"
Rendition – Raphael Martos Sánchez
Lyrics – Manuel Alejandro
Composition – Manuel Alejandro
Studio arrangement – Manuel Alejandro
Live orchestration – Manuel Alejandro
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 7th place (9 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "La, la, la"
Rendition – Massiel 
Lyrics – Ramón Arcusa / Manuel de la Calva
Composition – Ramón Arcusa / Manuel de la Calva
Studio arrangement – Bert Kaempfert / Juan Carlos Calderón
Live orchestration – Bert Kaempfert / Juan Carlos Calderón
Rafael Ibarbia
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 1st place (29 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Canta y se feliz"
Rendition – Peret
Lyrics – Pedro Pubill Calaf 'Peret'
Composition – Pedro Pubill Calaf 'Peret'
Studio arrangement – Juan Carlos Calderón
Live orchestration – Juan Carlos Calderón
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 9th place (10 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Enséñame a cantar"
Rendition – Micky (Miguel Ángel Carreño Schmelter)
Lyrics – Fernando Arbex
Composition – Fernando Arbex
Studio arrangement – Fernando Arbex
Live orchestration – Fernando Arbex
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 9th place (52 votes)

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