The street theatre scene in Barcelona was completely transformed in 2010, with the invention of the Rodafonio – perhaps the weirdest musical contraption in the world. Created by renowned designer and musician César Alvarez Bayer, it consists of a gigantic wheel that’s four meters high and only 15 cm wide, like a huge waffle iron.
The wheel can accommodate a crew of five – the members of the Catalan music band ‘Factoria Circular’. Three musicians sit inside the wheel in their respective metal circles, playing their musical instruments – a guitar, a saxophone, and a set of drums – to various tunes, while occasionally spinning inside the giant wheel. The other two members are actors who pedal the wheel into motion, bringing the huge mechanical device to life.
Photo: Frankie Fouganthin
The traveling street show is a fine collaboration of the principles of geometry and music. Never before have mathematical formulas and sheet music been combined to create such a mind-blowing spectacle that lights up carnivals and brings about a festive mood to any street.
Rodafonio is a self-produced collaboration with Barcelona City Council for La Mercè, an annual festival that involves music, dance, performing arts and popular culture activities for six days, in order to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. The contraption has also toured in other countries such as Austria and Chile, where it was very well received. Many have hailed it as “a stunning theatrical element”, “an urban tale”, and “a dreamlike and fantastic trip”.
You just have to see the Rodafonio in action to understand just how awesome it is.