Catalan! music eMagazine
ROOTS MUSIC And:
Catalans on tour Recomended festivals New releases
winter 2012 issue 2
Institut Català de les Indústries Culturals Rambla de Santa Mònica, 8 E-08002 Barcelona Tel.: +34 933 162 700 firstname.lastname@example.org www.gencat.cat/cultura/icec/internacional www.catalanarts.cat Text: Grup Enderrock Images: Ibai Acevedo, Damià Bosch, Assumpta Burgos, Raquel Calvo, Dani Canto, J. Canyameres, Juan Miguel Morales, Noemí Elias, Xavier Mercadé, Carles Roche, David Ruano and arxiu Grup Enderrock Design and layout: Manuel Cuyàs D.L.: B-32542-2011 Barcelona, September 2011 ISSN: 2014-3834
Cover images: Jordi Molina, Alba Carmona (Las Migas) and Marta Rius (Sol i Serena) This magazine is published under an AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license, which allows you to download this work and share it with others as long as you credit the author, but you can’t change it in any way or use them commercially. Read the full license at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Catalan! music eMagazine
winter 2012 issue 2
The digital magazine for the international promotion of the Catalan music. Available in English, Catalan and Spanish. Published four-monthly.
A publication such as Catalan! Music eMagazine, dedicated to the international promotion of the music made in our country, could not start better in 2012. The subject of the cover story is the presence of Catalonia as a guest of honour at Showcase Scotland, the professional part of the prestigious Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland. This internationally renowned event will host a significant representation of the richness and diversity of the Catalan folk music scene, with performances by Domini MĂ gic, Las Migas, Jordi Molina & Perepau JimĂŠnez, Sol i Serena, LĂdia Pujol and La Carrau. This representation of Catalan music in Glasgow is not a mere coincidence, but the fruits of the ongoing work by Catalan! Arts and the Catalan Institute for Cultural Enterprises in support of Catalan artists and companies in their internationalisation process. Nor is it a coincidence that it was Scotland that invited Catalonia since both are nations with a
strong cultural identity, preserved over centuries, often against historic obstacles, which are proud of their traditions and open to the future. This focus on Catalonia is a further step towards strengthening the ties between the two countries. The Catalan presence at Showcase Scotland is not limited, though they are important, simply to the performances by our musicians. There is also an inherent professional element, a meeting place for companies to open new avenues of collaboration. The Mediterranean flavour will not only reach these lands in northern Europe. A simple glance at the index of this second issue of Catalan! Music eMagazine will be enough to understand the excitement in the Catalan music scene, the vitality of its festivals and the creativity of its artists. Enter, read, listen and enjoy.
An affair with time — a personal view of Catalan music Philip David Ellwand British music producer and consultant
I met Catalan Music in an unusual way. It appealed to my personal obsession with how food, dance, stories and music fit into their landscapes and their epochs. When I was researching European bagpipes, I heard of attempts after a gap of many years to revive the Catalan bagpipe, called amongst other things, the “Sac de Gemecs” or “bag of moans.” Over the years I’ve watched the development of this instrument, as local musicians recreated the sound and shape as well as the style of playing, so that now there are many professional makers of great-sounding sacs. The quality of playing has improved, and in the region young people can learn traditional instruments in a way that the rest of Europe should envy. Many types of music have grown to suit new instruments or fashions, but what is also refreshing in the region, is that musicians have looked at the heritage of older forms. An example is the cobla: the evocative and elaborate wind band that plays for the distinctive sardanes (circle dances.) I’ve delighted to see the bagpipe reintroduced in a recreations of an older
traditions of cobles de tres Quartants – bands of three musicians one of whom plays the “Sac de Gemecs.” I’ve heard similar stories about how traditions have been handed on for accordion players, and how old styles of fiddle playing have been rescued from obscurity and taught to many hundreds of the next generation.
“One friend described how she’d grown up thinking that she had no time for traditional music, then coming to recognise that music was still part of her heartbeat, and part of her identity”
Over many meals, many presentations of performances and many radio interviews, and through many friendships, I’ve heard how many strands of music make up the region’s riches. One friend described how she’d grown up thinking that she had no time for traditional music, but coming to recognise that the music was still part of her heartbeat, and part of her identity. Many in the region reflect, after the many years of cultural repression, that their music is something they treasure, as if they were returning from exile. The sardana is for many an emblem of togetherness; a dance in which people of all ages can join hands and feel part of something special, timeless, intense, and powerful but measured, keeping time with the people and their land. Other great strengths exist throughout Catalan music such as some of the world’s most significant singer/songwriter traditions that encompass both troubadour, political protest, cantaor and rumbero. There’s the music that has continued to accompany festes, marking social events, providing the pulse for human castle-builders or giving a grand entrance to the dancing giants, dragons and eagles. Riches include the rediscoveries of older music, the successful cultural cross-overs, the dances from the high Pyrenees, to the songs of the sailors and fishermen afloat in the Mediterranean. Without meaning to, and often without being aware of it
at the time, when I was collecting the stories, I’ve listened to this music and come to love and respect it. I’ve had to forget all my assumptions about how folk music should sound, and learn that this is an area where music is both sophisticated, modern, mediaeval and timeless all at once.
“I’ve had to forget all my assumptions about how folk music should sound, and learn that this is an area where music is sophisticated, modern, medieval and timeless all at once.”
I must end with an example: el ball del Rogle a dance from Areny from the Alta Ribagorça region of Catalunya. This is a dance that circles around a tree that once grew in the centre of a village: some guess it’s a prehistoric remnant of paying homage to ancestral spirits in the trees; some suggest that as it forms an open circle, it’s the originator of Catalunya’s characteristic and incredibly popular sardana. To me, even if the dance is happening in school or community hall many miles away, that tree is there too, as another dancer through time, and as another player of music heard only in the soul. Like so much of Catalan music and dance, it welcomes you in to something both simple and unexpected, both ancient and timeless. Above all, it is music to be absorbed into your heart and soles of your feet, not music to be written about. ■
CATALAN ROOTS MUSIC 12 on tour 30 links 44 festivals 52 upcoming festivals 60 close up 62 news 72 new releases 80
*Maria *El Petit del de Mar CalBonet Eril
DEEP ROOTS AND
ATALAN ROOTS MUSIC
D GREEN LEAVES
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La Troba Kung-Fú
In the same way that the tourist who comes to the beaches of Catalonia needs to know that there is more to us than sangria, paella, sun and night clubs, the music buff who for the first time comes across the characteristic sounds of our culture ends up discovering an incredibly diverse landscape. A landscape that is also in constant growth and increasingly populated by musicians from different backgrounds and sensibilities. Jordi MartĂ Director of the magazine Sons de la MediterrĂ nia
Catalan roots music, like so many others, has had to adapt to the massive process of urbanization of the twentieth century, with the consequent decline of rural and agricultural traditional societies, and has also had to suffer the brutal and prolonged policy by Francoâ€™s regime of coarsening and impoverishing this kind of culture. This meant that the task of recovery or reconstruction had to come before creation. Before being able to play instruments like the gralla and flabiol, many musicians have had to find out first what the gralla and flabiol are. And many groups have had to dust off old songbooks or go off to listen to elderly
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folk in their homes before returning to the streets to spread a traditional repertoire. Some people have been doing this for years, even decades. Knowing this fact is necessary in order to assess the current landscape of Catalan roots music. Today, despite the many difficulties faced by a culture and a language that does not have easy access to major mass media, we can say that the thread has been recovered. There are more and more figures emerging, restless and above all highly trained, offering a great range of artistic proposals, while maintaining their roots deep within traditional music. This is the case with Carles Dénia, a jazz guitarist and flamenco singer who is increasingly focusing on traditional songs. Or Roger Mas, a singer-songwriter who has embraced the lovely sound of the cobla, a unique instrumental band born in the north of Catalonia in the nineteenth century. Or Efrén López, who after having succeeded internationally with L’Ham de foc, has become a sublime gun-for-hire, bringing his virtuosity to a number of highly diverse projects. Or Josep Maria Ribelles, a wonderful instrumentalist hellbent on placing the harp once again at the centre of Catalan folk music. Or Folkincats, four instrumentalists who dress up a traditional repertoire with manouche jazz and classical refinement. Or Coetus, a spectacular and powerful Iberian percussion combo. Or Kaulakau, a group where two instruments such as the tenora and the hurdy gurdy fly over the
Roger Mas with Cobla Sant Jordi
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Mediterranean. We could add, of course, the six bands that will be presented at Celtic Connections 2012, Catalan folksingers such as Xavier Baró and some very young groups with everything ahead of them: Trilla, Riu, Amansalva etc. They are all widening a trail which was blazed earlier, in a less favourable environment, by renowned artists who continue to set the standard: El Pont d’Arcalís, Miquel Gil, Botifarra, Quico el Célio, el Noi i el Mut de ferreries, Apa, Al Tall etc. and female vocalists such as Maria del Mar Bonet and Marina Rossell. And alongside those names, in parallel, local genres and trends are gaining prestige and social presence that until quite recently subsisted while confined in a box. Here are four examples: the cobla, which we mentioned earlier, breaks stereotypes every day; we are seeing a revival of improvised songs in Catalan - garrotins, glosses, corrandes, albaes -; the jota, a genre which is present in most of the Catalan-speaking territories, is again being sung and danced in the streets, while the Catalan rumba keeps growing and growing, an urban music style that was forged in the middle of last century from the influence of Cuban music in gypsy communities. As for the Catalan festivals where you can discover the values of roots music, added to the network of meetings and tours that extend throughout the region and throughout the year, there are a few events sufficiently large to act as a unifying force in the
sector: the Mediterranean Fair of Manresa, held every November, is the annual meeting point between the public, the musicians and music professionals; Tradicionàrius, held in Barcelona in winter, is the long-running folk festival, and scattered throughout the year there are festivals which specialise in international music (FIMPT in Vilanova i la Geltrú), Mediterranean music (Trobades de Música Mediterrània in Torroella de Montgrí, PortalBlau in L’Escala, Músiques del Mediterrani in the IEMed), the diatonic accordion (Trobada amb els Acordionistes del Pirineu in Arsèguel), bagpipes (Cornamusam in Olot), flamenco and rumba (Flamenco Ciutat Vella in Barcelona), percussion (Festival Internacional de Percussió de Catalunya) and so on. ■
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CATALAN ROOTS MUSIC AT SHOWCASE SCOTLAND
Celtic Connections is the biggest and most important winter international world music, folk and roots music festival in the United Kingdom, with more than 300 activities. It takes place from 19th January to 5th February in Glasgow, Scotland. And thereâ€™s a professional event, called Showcase Scotland, which holds more than 200 professional attendants.
Catalonia will be the special guest at the next edition of Showcase Scotland,the trade fair for professionals in the sectors of world and folk music within the Celtic Connections festival in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, where there will be performances from 25th to 29th January by Sol i Serena, Las Migas, Jordi Molina and Perepau Jiménez, Lídia Pujol, La Carrau and Domini Màgic. The participation of these groups, selected by the Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, Donald Shaw, forms part of the collaboration agreement between the Scottish Festival and ICEC. Ian Smith, head of the department of musical creativity at Creative Scotland, believes that the Catalan participation at Celtic Connections will open new possibilities for growth in the music of both countries: “The success of Showcase Scotland is due to three significant elements: the fantastic richness, quality and creativity of Scottish musicians; the showcases organised by Celtic Connections, a key element in the music and the economy of Scotland, and last, but not least, the strong links with our international partner, which in 2012 will be Catalonia. I have no doubt that the 2012 edition will not only offer high quality music and creative talent, both from Scotland and Catalonia, which share many contemporary cultural influences, but will also exemplify the essential creative exchange that benefits such a valuable relationship”. The prospect of reaching new audiences and circuits is an issue that affects the director of Showcase Scotland, Lisa Whytock, who concludes: “I think Catalan music is much more diverse than most people think; this is one of the main reasons why we decided to work with Catalonia”.
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Interview with Donald Shaw Artistic Director of Celtic Connections / Showcase Scotland
“At Celtic Connections we have great respect for the Catalan scene” The act of connecting with other cultures, in this case through music, expands an artist’s creativity. Each year, Celtic Connections-Showcase Scotland presents a guest country. In 2012, the invited nation will be Catalonia. Do you think this is one of the examples of added value offered by the festival? Definitely. It’s important for us to engage with regions across the world that have a strong tradition of folk music with unique musical forms that have influenced and inspired our own music in some way. That’s certainly true of Catalan music. How would you describe the connection between Celtic music and Catalan rhythms? As with Celtic music a lot of the rhythms of Catalan music have come from dance. Sometimes what is powerful about them is their simplicity aligned with unusual time signatures. I love the way there is common ground in both cultures because there is a spontaneous and at times almost free form direction in the attitude to performance, especially rhythmically.
There will be 200 delegates from the music industry, from around 22 countries, who will be attending performances by many of the Scottish and Catalan artists between 25th and 29th January. Does this emphasis on Catalonia mean that for the groups these will not just be mere performances? Yes, very much so... It’s first of all an opportunity for Celtic Connections as Europe’s biggest roots music festival to highlight the respect it has for the Catalan music scene and in particular for these artists. It also provides a shop window for these artists aimed at many important promoters and festival organisers. As the Artistic Director of the Festival, what was the most appealing proposals to you out of all the Catalan artists who applied for Showcase Scotland 2012? How did you choose the artists who will be representing Catalonia? That’s a difficult question, as there was so much great music to choose from! I listened to a lot of compilations of folk, world, indie and jazz music from Catalonia, and I asked many people for their advice on the best live performers. I love the energy, diversity and great voicings of La Carrau, for example, but all the groups we picked are great! ■
Donald Shaw grew up in Taynuilt, Argyll, and from an early age was associated with all types of musical styles. Originally taught the accordion by his father, at the age of 17 he co-founded Scotland’s most famous Celtic band: Capercaillie, with which he still composes, produces and performs. He also composes and performs with other musicians from across the globe, and for film and TV. In 2000 he launched the independent label Vertical Records. In 2007, Donald became the artistic director of the prestigious Celtic Connections festival.
hot CATALAN ROOTS MUSIC Six Catalan Bands at Celtic Connections
Las Migas Queens of Flamenco
Four friends formed Las Migas in Barcelona in 2004. Their sound soon stood out for its freshness and originality, built as it was on the upbeat twin pillars of flamenco (rumbas and tangos) and revisions of popular songs from the Iberian and Latin American repertoire. In 2010 they released the album Reinas del matute (Nuevos Medios), and in 2011 changed their singer: Sílvia Pérez Cruz gave way to Alba Carmona, an emerging cantaora in the rich Catalan flamenco scene. The quartet is working on their second album, which will be produced by Raúl Rodríguez, a prestigious musician from Seville best known for introducing the Cuban tres into the flamenco world. Alba Carmona vocals; Isabelle Laudenbach guitar; Lisa Bause violin; Marta Robles guitar; Manuel Masaedo percussion.
Jordi Molina & Perepau Jiménez new colours
This is the embodiment in Catalan music of an instrumental duo which is common in different parts of the Mediterranean: xeremia and accordion. Perepau Jiménez is a seasoned musician who has participated in important projects in Catalan folk; Jordi Molina is a key name when discussing the evolution that the tenora (a unique double reed instrument related to the cobla line-up) has undergone in recent times. “In Italy, the combination of accordion and piffero is a basic line-up. We focused on the Duo Valla Scuratti and tried to create a Catalan version”. Perepau Jiménez diatonic accordion; Jordi Molina tenora .
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Lídia Pujol A Unique Voice
An expressive voice and a lifelong curiosity define the artistic personality of Barcelona singer Lídia Pujol. Since she started her duet with vocalist Sílvia Comas, she has also participated in all kinds of projects, and has sung all kinds of repertoires: Sephardic tunes, the poetry of García Lorca, old ballads and tunes from medieval music, Flamenco-tinged airs and more rocking tunes, songs in Catalan, French, English, Yiddish etc. The latest project she has led, La cerimònia de la llum, is a collection that reflects on motherhood, spirituality and harmony among religions. Dani Espasa piano; Pau Figueras guitar; Brian Dunning flute; Lídia Pujol vocals.
Sol i Serena clear air
Argelaguer, a town with fewer than five hundred inhabitants, is the operational base of Sol i Serena, a group that lives and breathes the clear air and slow pace of small towns. Their repertoire alternates songs from the oral tradition, adaptations of poems and original compositions, but always maintains a strong well-crafted character and a characteristic sound. Currently working on their forthcoming third album, in Glasgow they will be presenting a sound which makes the case for “roots music with a fresh and contemporary feel, which aims to create new branches in the poorly fed tree of the folk tradition”. Marta Rius vocals, diatonic accordion and percussion; Guillem Ballaz violin, hurdy-gurdy, mandola , vocals and percussion; Lídia Domingo double bass and vocals; Jordi Comas oboe, gralla , tarota , chalumeau, tenora , dulzaina , percussion and vocals; Francesc Tomàs guitar , mandola , guitarró, guitarrot, cavaquinho and vocals.
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La Carrau sound mixer
Formed in Terrassa in 1997, La Carrau is one of the groups which started to revitalise Catalan folk around the turn of the century, winning new young audiences and regaining lost ground for music from the oral tradition, especially in the area of upbeat music. Over the years they have been renewing their sound and their training, but have always kept their vocal harmonies, the tone of the diatonic accordion, violin and mandolin up front. This year, to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary, they will be presenting a new show and tour in which they will be collaborating in every town where they perform, with local popular culture bodies. Carol Duran violin and vocals; N煤ria Lozano diatonic accordion and vocals; Joan Boada lute, guitarr贸, mandolin and vocals; Armengol Riera drums and percussion; Arnau Berenguer guitar; Oriol Casas bases and percussion; Abraham Creus bass.
Domini Màgic A Unique Quartet
Four sonic explorers who cover everything from traditional music to jazzfusion. A quartet which defies classification, they present us an instrumental sound with a broad spectrum, taking us through a repertoire based primarily on their own creations, which alternates moments of expansive force with others for meditation in private. A variety of registers and a progressive air that can be appreciated in their live performances, but also in the two albums they have released so far: Domini Màgic (Temps Record, 2007), and Visions i cants (Temps Record, 2009). Juan Aguiar violin, electric mandolin and vocals; Josep Traver guitars and bouzouki; Pep Coca double bass and vocals; Antonio Sánchez percussion.
on tour Arianna Savall 32 CMS Trio 34 Suzy & Los Quattro 36 Smoking Bambino 38 La Pegatina 40 The Excitements 42
folk world music
Soprano, composer and harpist, Arianna Savall is devoted to early classical and modern music and combines ancient and modern instruments such as the baroque, Celtic and Gothic harp, giving concerts around the world. She comes from a family of musicians with a very intense career in which she has often been involved. Her parents, Jordi Savall (viola de gamba and conductor) and Montserrat Figueras (soprano), have dedicated their lives to musicological research and interpretation with historical criteria with an innovative and creative style. After accompanying Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras for ten years, giving concerts around the world, Arianna Savall set up her own group in 2008 with the Danish musician Petter Udland Johansen. The duo, named Hirundo Maris, combines early music with original creations based on Nordic and Mediterranean music. Arianna Savall will be performing during 2012 in France, Norway, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic at various festivals.
CMS Trio is a Barcelona jazz trio with no harmonic instruments. They offer a sound that blends Flamenco and Latin music with world music and pop rhythms, not to mention jazz standards. Javier Colina (bass) has played with experienced musicians such as George Cables, Hank Jones, Tomatito, Joaquín Cortés, Diego ‘El Cigala’ (on the popular album Lágrimas negras), Ketama and Tete Montoliu. Marc Miralta (drums) has played with renowned musicians such as Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, Paquito d’Rivera, Tete Montoliu, Art Farmer, George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi and Chano Domínguez, among others. And Perico Sambeat (sax) has received numerous awards from the Association of Jazz Musicians of Catalonia, both as a soloist and saxophonist. Among the last concerts by CMS Trio was on 15th September, together with the flamenco guitarist Chicuelo, a performance that opened the 23rd edition of the Mercat de Música Viva de Vic. CMS Trio are preparing, this 2012, a tour around the most important European capitals.
Suzy & Los Quattro Suzy & Los Quattro have been active since the late 1990s, when the guitarist B.B. Quattro decided to give his friend Suzy Chain the opportunity to record a few songs. Gradually the project grew and became tighter, forming a steady band which, following the tradition of the Ramones, gives the surname Quattro to each of its members. Hank (BCore, 2011) is their third album, a work born from the pain and subsequent acceptance of the death of a close friend of the group, an album with influences as varied as the Ramones, Blondie, Bo Diddley, Phil Spector, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and The Rubinoos, who also collaborated on some tracks. Well-known for their addiction to live performances, on the tour for their previous album, Stick with It (Wild Punk, 2008), they played about a hundred concerts in eight different countries. For the Hank tour they want to beat their own record, and so far they have already played around Italy and in January will be making their second tour in Japan, a country that received them with great success in 2008. During April they will be in France, Germany and Switzerland and between May and June 2012 the stages of England and Norway will be waiting for them.
Smoking Bambino Smoking Bambino is the alter ego of the guitarist and songwriter Esteve Saguer, Bambino, also the leader of the band The Dirty Club. In 2008, Saguer decided to go ahead with his solo project and released his first album as Smoking Bambino, Lost and Found, self-produced and recorded at the Ground studios. In 2009 he recorded a second album, Let Me Play You Another Song. Their live show, with great simplicity, offers hypnotic passages linked with visceral moments, in which blues, folk and singersongwriter styles are combined with ethnic influences. Smoking Bambino has played at festivals such as Primavera Club in Barcelona, InVictro at the Mercat de MĂşsica Viva de Vic and the Fira de mĂşsica al carrer de VilaSeca, where he won the prize that is awarded annually by the Association of Artists and Performers (AIE). He has also performed in Carcassonne (Occitania, France), at the Autan Blues Festival. The artist is now presenting his latest album, Old Stones. Personal music in its purest form. In 2012, Smoking Bambino will be performing in Marseille, Graulhet and Bordeaux (France).
pop rock website
La Pegatina The tour to present the album XapomelĂśn (Kasba Music, 2011) continues to demonstrate that the music by La Pegatina is 100% exportable. After debuting their new songs in Catalonia and Italy, the band from Montcada i Reixac moved on to Asia at the end of October 2011. La Pegatina went on a six-date tour that ended on 4th November in Beijing, with heavilyattended live performances such as the one they played at the Xiâ€™hu Festival in Hangzhou in front of more than 15,000 people. For the occasion, the group prepared T-shirts and records, as well as a special website for their Chinese venture. In return, La Pegatina continued their tour, which also took them to Denmark, France and Holland. After their success, the Chinese promoters have already confirmed a new tour by La Pegatina in 2012.
folk world music
The Excitements website
They are explosive in concert as well as the group on top form right now in the world of soul and R&B in Barcelona. Led by the great voice of Koko Jean, their music has the force of early Ike & Tina Turner as well as more contemporary artists such as Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, who they opened for on the latter’s last visit to Barcelona. With an album newly released on CD and LP by Penniman Records, the band has chosen to cover R&B classics like “From Now On”, by Nathaniel Mayer; “Wait a Minute”, by Barbara Stephens, and “Never Gonna Let You Go”, by Little Richard, but assure us that the next album will contain their own material. The Excitements are also very well-known and beloved in France, where in 2011 they played about twenty concerts throughout the country, with stops in cities like Paris, Limoges, Nancy, Marseille and Perpignan. In March this group from Barcelona will continue its European tour to France (Toulouse and Montpellier) and Italy (Turin, Perugia and Arezzo).
links Fèlix Rossy Marcel·lí Bayer The New Raemon
& Mike Kanan and Ben Street 46 & Lee Konitz 48 Francisco Nixon & Ricardo Vicente 50
Fèlix Rossy & Mike Kanan and Ben Street New air Among the names that stand out in the ranks of Catalan jazz, a highlight is Fèlix Rossy. With his inseparable trumpet, at the age of 7 he recorded an album for friends with Beatles covers; at 11 he was already sitting in on jam sessions with Brad Mehldau; and at 17 he released his first official album under his own name, Introducing Fèlix Rossy (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2011), along with Mike Kanan and Ben Street and under the tutelage of his father, Jordi Rossy. He claims that having a musician for a father has not meant any demands or obligations, but on the contrary, he sees it as a privilege. “Thanks to him I have been able to learn faster and enjoy some experiences that have helped me to grow as a musician and as a person,” he says. He adds: “The relationship I have with him is very close and full of trust”. Now it’s time to make his own voice heard, and despite the importance of this first step, he understands that there is a long way ahead of him and that this is just the prologue. He is grateful, however, to have some guardian angels in the musicians who have played alongside him. “Mike Kanan is a sweet guy and Ben Street likes me, which is not easy because he is very demanding. They are first-class musicians and they have a complete understanding with my father. What more can I ask for?” As for the repertoire, he explains that the selection of standards was made by Kanan and that he allowed himself to be advised. When asked to name his influences on the trumpet, Fèlix Rossy offers three names: Chet Baker, Miles Davis and Kenny Dorham. ■
Marcel·lí Bayer & Lee Konitz Lee, the patron Not in his wildest dreams Marcel·lí Bayer would have believed that his debut album would be like the one he has just released, entitled Nonitz (Quadrant Records, 2011). The album is based on a work that the musician began as a final degree project at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) and revolves around one of his favourite saxophonists. However he could have never imagined that on entering the studio, the object of that tribute would actually be there. The saxophonist in question is a living legend of jazz called Lee Konitz. Following negotiations by Jordi Rossy, the saxophonist came to Estudis Laietana in Barcelona on 10th November 2010. The day before that, Marcel·lí Bayer had already started work on the tracks by the nonet that required a more arduous task of reharmonisation. “When Lee Konitz arrived, he listened to it all and chose the three tracks he wanted to play on. He fitted in well with the arrangements I had made, although we did make a few small changes. He is a person with a true jazz spirit and believes very much in improvising in the moment”, says Bayer. These words are borne out in the duo track which master and disciple decided to add to the album at the last minute, which demonstrates the good relationship that they established in the few hours they spent together. ■
The New Raemon Francisco Nixon & Ricardo Vicente Pop Triathlon Chance brought three artists together one night at the Auditorium of Barcelona, and several years later they have shared various stages together. Now they have just finished recording a whole album, El problema de los tres cuerpos (Cydonia / Playas de Normandía), with the single “Sé que es tu trabajo”. Fran Martínez from Asturias, known as Francisco Nixon, lives in Madrid. Ricardo Vicente lives in his home town of Zaragoza in Aragon. Lastly Ramon Rodriguez from Barcelona, known as The New Raemon, lives in a village in the Maresme. However, telecommunications have allowed their temporary union. The track record of these artists is well proven: Rodríguez and Nixon are composers in projects that have received unanimous commercial and critical respect, the former in Madee and Ghouls’n’Ghosts and the latter in the acclaimed Australian Blonde - while Ricardo Vicente (exTachenko) has worked with his friend Nixon since the time of La Costa Brava, and they are co-composers of the project they are currently sharing. Vicente and Nixon had already made Gloria y la belleza sureña together. The sum of all three has given birth to a one-off supergroup, which has taken on more shape now that they have recorded an entire album, a work which demonstrates their passion for music and melody with lyrics that portray the present day in a code using current keys. ■
faraday tardor 54 Fira MediterrĂ nia de Manr primavera club 58 + upcoming festivals 60
4th and 5th November 2011 Vilanova i la Geltrú
HIGH INTENSITY The autumn premiere of Faraday was another success for La Medusa, the Vilanova collective of musicians and music lovers which is responsible for providing the town with a select choice of live music, which it is doing increasingly more often. The stormy weather did not scare away the audience and the Toldrà auditorium sold out its tickets for two intense days of concerts, with two classic offerings (Sisa and Nacho Vegas) and others which are younger but already well established (Pau Vallvé and Anímic) - together with surprises, such as Astrud which used the concert with Col·lectiu Brossa to announce a temporary break. The hardiest concertgoers ended the party in the Envelat with pop and unprecedented dj Lluís Gavaldà. ■
Fira Mediterrània de Manresa From 3rd to 6th November 2011 Manresa
SOAKED IN MUSIC The weight of the images presented by Perejaume, and the litres and litres of water which fell from the sky especially during the first two days, were the leading protagonists of the last Fira Mediterrània de Manresa. The groups of gypsies from Romania and Macedonia Taraf de Haïdouks and Kocani Orkestar caused an earthquake in the main hall of the Kursaal. The same room saw the installation of La barraca, the joint show by Quico el Célio, el Noi and el Mut de Ferreries from Tortosa, and Pep Gimeno ‘“Botifarra” from Xàtiva with his band. With humour and debauchery they perform a musical transfer between the Terres de l’Ebre and the regions of La Costera and the Albaida Valley. The saxophonist Llibert Fortuny and pianist Manel Camp presented Populina, a jazzy revision of some of the most famous traditional Catalan songs. Meanwhile, lovers of flamenco singing witnessed the fact that Ginesa Ortega is going through a particularly sweet moment. The singer livened up the marquee with bulerías and tangos, boasting one of the most explosive and temperamental voices that can be heard on the current flamenco scene. Lastly we are highlighting another exceptional voice, that of Roger Mas, enveloped by the sunny sound of the Cobla Sant Jordi. The new ways of expression that the cobla has begun to undertake in recent years was one of the main themes of the programming this year. Roger Mas, united to the sound and aesthetics of the cobla since childhood, included several pieces in the show from his albums, arranged for the occasion by Xavier Guitó, as well as some cover versions. ■
folk world music
Nicole & Martin
Quico el CĂŠlio, el Noi i el Mut de Ferreries & Botifarra
Primavera club From 23rd to 27th November 2011 Barcelona
THE SUMMIT OF INDEPENDENT MUSIC The San Miguel Primavera Club festival held its sixth edition in 2011, which sold out its tickets for the five days of concerts that were held in Barcelona and Madrid. In all there were 110 performances at 13 different venues. Highlights were concerts by The Pop Group, the combative post-punk outfit headed by Mark Stewart; Saint Vincent, who drove the audience crazy, and the folk-pop of Fleet Foxes in their spectacular live show. Other notable performances were those of California band Girls and the presentation of the new album by the singer from Pavement, Stephen Malkmus, with his band The Jicks, as well as Superchunk, Givers, Jeff The Brotherhood, the Portuguese band Gala Drop and the controversial performance by John Maus. This year, jazz joined the festival line-up, with performances such as those of Fire Room, Charles Bradley and Com Truise. As for the Catalan scene, performing at the San Miguel Primavera Club were artists such as Aliment , who presented their debut album, Villarroel, Furguson, Las Ruinas and CapitĂĄn. â–
Festivals: upcoming festivals Barcelona 2nd December 2011 to 28 April 2012
13è Banc Sabadell Festival del Mil·lenni website mapa Barcelona 13 January to 30 March
folk world music
XXV Tradicionàrius 1988-2012. Festival Folk Internacional website mapa Barcelona, metropolitan area and Cuba 20 January to 31 March
BarnaSants 2012 website mapa Barcelona May 30 to June 3
primavera sound website mapa
folk world music
Barcelona 4 to 27 February
6è Festival Internacional de Percussió de Catalunya
Terrassa 8 to 25 March
festival de jazz de terrassa website mapa
Barcelona 22 March to 8 June
18è Festival de Guitarra de Barcelona website mapa VARIOUS Tokyo (Japan) 21 and 22 April
SonarSound Tokyo website mapa
NEW F AT L’AU
Oriol Pérez Treviño, the new general ma National Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona an the new musical and organisational or
anager, and Pablo GonzĂĄlez, head of the nd Catalonia, the resident orchestra, talk about rientation of Lâ€™Auditori in Barcelona.
Close up Oriol Pérez Treviño General Manager of L’Auditori of Barcelona
“We need to break through a lot of mental borders” Oriol Perez Trevino makes clear in this interview that from now on the National Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona and Catalonia (OBC) will be the axis on which all programming at the venue will be built. What is your project for the future of L’Auditori? L’Auditori has to be a public music and cultural institution which does what the private venues don’t do. Culture is the transmission of values, the display and knowledge of one’s heritage and is not solely an event offering entertainment, leisure and fun. We will work towards excellence, and towards the results given by perseverance, discipline and effort, all values that have been lost. Now we are creating a tree whose trunk is the OBC and the Banda Municipal de Barcelona, whose branches are the different programmes. How will this ideological framework be put into practice? What changes will audiences find? Music is not an entity that lives outside of space and time, but rather is involved in our cultural landscape. Music is not mere programming but a discipline that has dealt with issues related to cultural realities, issues such as nations, gender violence, historical figures etc. which other humanistic disciplines have also dealt with by telling a story. Audiences will find that
the music will now be associated with a story and will be consistent with this mission of public service. What needs to be done to lower the age of classical music listeners? If we want a young audience we need to apply a policy of creating a section for young people; young people between 25 and 35 are going through one of the worst moments ever for them. First we need policies to create a section that makes them take up the habit. Secondly there is the price of tickets, which are not cheap. Thirdly there is the content. We need to create productions that lead to the understanding that the symphonic world can also talk to other musical styles, breaking through mental boundaries. One example is what the Spanish National Orchestra has done with Tomatito or what the San Francisco Orchestra did a few years ago with Metallica. Will you be creating a new structure? We will be creating a new tree. When you look at the programming of the Cité de la Musique you find classical music, contemporary music, chamber music, folk, and everything is part of a discourse that is based on a story. And we will go in that direction, towards understanding music as a unit. And we’ll do that by starting to find points of connection between the different departments of L’Auditori. For example, the Centre Robert Gerhard, which is a unit for promotion and dissemination, should be more involved with the Music Museum or connect with the people who carry out research at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC). How can you plan and execute all of this at a time of economic crisis? By beginning to understand that we have to change the way we work. Society, through the taxes it pays, aims to generate a range of public services that are transformed into cultural content; it’s not about creating a macrostructure, or a macrobuilding, that only does a few things to justify this structure. We have to prioritise, create a basis, do much less business but with higher quality and provide this public service function. ■
PASSIONATE ABOUT MUSIC Oriol Pérez Treviño, born in 1972 in Manresa, was manager of the Xarxa de Músiques de Catalunya, director from last year of the Festival de Músiques in Torroella de Montgrí, coordinator of the Centre Robert Gerhard for the promotion and dissemination of Catalan musical heritage, and founder of the journal 440Clàssica. He is one of the most active and incombustible people on the Catalan music scene. His arrival in music started as a critic for the regional daily newspaper Regió 7 and publications such as Serra d’Or, Revista Musical Catalana and the newspaper Avui. He has also worked with the magazine Scherzo and has written a biography of the composer Josep Maria Mestres Quadreny, among others. In September 2011 he was introduced as the new general manager of L’Auditori.
Close up Pablo González Head conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona and Catalonia (OBC)
“The OBC should have more presence in society” Conductor Pablo González from Asturias ends his first season as head conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona and Catalonia. Optimistic, idealistic and consistent, he makes a critical and constructive assessment of last season and heralds a new era marked by economic crisis and cuts. We’re at the end of your first year as head conductor of the OBC. How would you sum it up? I think the orchestra has evolved very well. In one season there cannot be major changes, but if I try to be objective and look at how the orchestra was in September and how it is now, I think that it has really improved. I feel that, little by little, we are achieving a more fluid dynamic in rehearsals, the atmosphere is good, and the performances in concerts and in general throughout the season were very satisfactory. I’m very happy. The OBC is your first role in charge. Has you daily routine changed a lot compared to what you had been doing until now? Absolutely. It is a completely different type of job. Here it’s about building. You have to bear in mind the group and its psychology; you have to
remember that we are going to be spending a lot of time together. We all need to be aware that with each programme we are taking another step. In addition, there are certain things you can’t say when you are a guest conductor, because it’s not your place to tell them and because in a week you can’t change it. Now, however, little by little, I have to keep transmitting it to the musicians. I’m very much in favour of sharing responsibilities with the orchestra. How do you aim to give a voice to your musicians? We have created an artistic commission that has the opportunity to contribute ideas about programming. In fact, in programming the season I have taken into account the views of this committee and the musicians in general. I feel that there is a good dialogue, a lot of trust and I try to be very receptive. Are the objectives that were set being met? As you rehearse you see things that need to improve. I don’t think that “in three years time we will have reached that point yet.” It is a very dialectical, very fluid and very dynamic process. The ultimate goal, the ideal, is for the orchestra to be completely independent of the conductor, to be an instrument in its own right, so that when the conductor arrives there is a relationship of interdependence, but never dependency. At the presentation of the 2011-12 season it was said that the OBC needs to be the soul of the Auditorium. Does the orchestra not occupy the place it should occupy in society? We need to have much more presence, we need to be better known. Many people in Barcelona still do not know what the OBC is. However, I hope that gradually we can diversify our activities. This would mean having fewer concerts in the season, to be able to leave L’Auditori and put on a few performances outdoors, in different neighbourhoods or in prisons; things that connect us to society, to which we are in debt because we are an orchestra funded with public money. ■
NEW SEASON 2011-12 Pablo Gonzรกlez opens his second season in charge of the OBC with the Catalan Choral Society and the Madrigal Choir, which, together with Polish contralto Ewa Podles, will perform Prokofiev. In addition, the orchestra is taking part in the Year of Liszt, will perform Bernstein, delve deeper into the world of Mozart, Dvorak and Bach, pit Beethoven against Brahms, attack the Concierto de Aranjuez and take on Wagner and Schubert.
*Els Amics de les Arts
CATALAN MUSIC TRIUMPHS IN INTERNATIONAL MARKETS Eurosonic Noorderslag, Kulturbörse Freiburg, Midem and Celtic Connections, four of the most prestigious European music markets, have agreed to schedule Catalan artists. Eurosonic Noorderslag is one of the most important platforms for presentation, exchange and promotion in the field of European music. In this year’s edition, held from 12th to 14th January in Groningen (The Netherlands) there have been performances by the Catalan groups Mujeres, Za!, Muchachito Bombo Infierno and The Suicide of Western Culture. Their participation in Eurosonic Noorderslag makes these groups join the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP), funded by the European Commission and aimed at promoting the circulation of European musical talent through seventy festivals across the continent. Catalonia is also the guest country at the annual exhibition of performing arts Internationale Kulturbörse Freiburg, which was held in Germany from 23rd to 26th January. The German trade fair is a benchmark market for performing arts industry in the central European region. The groups that have participated are Las Migas and Jordi Molina & Perepau Jiménez, as well as a dozen Catalan theatre, dance and circus companies. Also at the end of the month at Midem (28th-31st January), the most important European record industry fair, the band The Last 3 Lines performed live at a meeting organised by Coca-Cola & Music Dealers, at the Black Pearl hall in the French city of Cannes. The Catalan group performed together with the Swedish band You Say France & I Whistle, the English band The Special K’s and the US band I <3 My Ex wife. Lastly, six roots music bands will perform at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland (19th January to 5th February): Las Migas, Lídia Pujol, La Carrau, Sol i Serena, Jordi Molina & Perepau Jiménez and Domini Màgic. ■
Jordi Molina & Perepau JimĂŠnez
The Suicide of Western Culture
The Last 3 Lines
Els Amics de les Arts
Ojos de Brujo
Love of Lesbian
EUROPEAN RECORD COMPANIES distinguish FOUR CATALAN RELEASES The IMPALA award of the Independent Music Companies Association has been received by Manel, Ojos de Brujo, Amics de les Arts and Love of Lesbian The IMPALA Prize is awarded by the European Association of Independent Record Companies to all artists that exceed the figure of 20,000 units sold. Catalan artists who have received the IMPALA award (Independent Music Companies Association) in 2011 are Ojos de Brujo, with the gold disc Techarí (Diquela Records / PIAS); Manel, with the album 10 milles per veure una bona armadura (DiscMedi / Warner); the compilation of artists featured on Cuba le canta a Serrat (DiscMedi); Mayte Martín and Tete Montoliu for the re-release Free Boleros (K.Industria) and Muchachito Bombo Infierno (La Fabrica de Colores), according to the Independent Phonographic Union (UFI). Recently, Love of Lesbian has been added to the list, since it was announced on 20th December that the Barcelona group had achieved its first gold record for sales of the album 1999 (o como generar incendios de nieve con una lupa enfocando la luna). As of today, to get a gold record in Spain it is necessary to sell 20,000 units and twice that figure for platinum, 40,000 units. These figures, however, have not always been the same, as Anabel Mateos (Relabel Communication) from Promusicae (Production Music Spain) reports. In fact, initially it was necessary to sell more than twice that amount to receive the awards, but the terrible decline in record sales has forced a downward revision of the figures. The charts of Promusicae-Agedi (Association of Management of Intellectual Property Rights) since 2004 are available on the Promusicae website. ■
ALBERT GUINOVART PARTICIPATES IN THE SOUNDTRACK OF THE ARTIST The composer and pianist, who turns 50 in 2012, has participated in the orchestration of the soundtrack to the film The Artist, which received the 2012 Golden Globe for best soundtrack. Albert Guinovart was one of the musicians participating in the orchestration of the soundtrack of the French production The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, which has been a commercial and critical success in cinemas this winter. The soundtrack was composed by Ludovic Bource, although it contains fragments by other composers, such as Bernard Herrmann. Guinovart is one of the most active musicians of his generation. He is prodigious not just in composition, but also in orchestration, piano performance and teaching. As a soloist, he has cultivated a repertoire focused on the Romantic period, with particular attention to the works of Albéniz, Granados and Turina, and he has also developed a brilliant career in the world of the lied, accompanying the great soprano Victòria dels Àngels. As a composer, he has emerged as a brilliant orchestrator, and is the composer of musical comedies, music for piano and chamber and symphonic compositions. An eclectic and seductive creator, the defence of melody, lyricism and the post-romantic spirit are essential elements in his musical universe, of a great ability to communicate with the audience and in which particular highlights include the musical Mar i cel, the flagship production by the theatre company Dagoll Dagom. He has also made chamber orchestra versions of the operas Goyescas, by Enric Granados, and Babel 46 and El gato con botas, by Xavier Montsalvatge. His own catalogue features Tres preludis per a piano (1992); Sonatina sobre temes de Mompou (1993); the cantata Els fills del segle (1994); the ballet Terra baixa (1999); Clarobscur, concert per a percussió, piano i cordes (2005); Concert per a piano “Traces” (2006), Concert per a piano “Mar i
Cel” and the symphonic poem El lament de la Terra, released by the National Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona and Catalonia in January 2009. In 2010 he celebrated the Year of Chopin with several concerts, a vital composer in his career to whom he dedicated the work for solo piano Fantasia-Evocació, premiered at L’Auditori in Barcelona. In 2011 as part of the 1st Festival of Cervera he released Valsos poètics en homenatge a Enric Granados. Recently, he premiered the work Llunàtics with Pau Miró in the show El viatge a la lluna that Murtra Ensemble performed together with the work by Xavier Montsalvatge of the same name at Temporada Alta de Girona, 2011. He has also released an attractive production for cobla and piano, and has composed several soundtracks, jingles and incidental music for popular series on Catalan public television (TVC), such as Nissaga de poder, Laberint d’ombres and El cor de la ciutat. His most recent success was the new musical La vampira del Raval, premiered in December 2011 at the Teatre del Raval, which has received high praise from critics and is currently a box office hit. ■
New Relea The Last Three Lines — Visions from Oniria
Bernat Vivancos — Blanc
Folkincats — L’aigua no es mou
Joan Díaz — We Sing Wayne Shorter
Miquel Gil — X marcianes
Nacho Umbert — No os creáis ni la mitad
Maria del Mar Bonet i Manel Camp — Blaus de l’ànima. Més de 20 anys ben a prop
La Iaia — Les ratlles del banyador
Orquestra Àrab de Barcelona — Libertad
Carles Dénia — El paradís de les paraules
David Mengual — Maitia
Els Surfing Sirles — Romaní, semen i sang
Maika Makovski — Desaparecer
Marc Ayza — Live at Home
Maria Coma — Magnòlia
Raph Dumas — Coblism
Xavier Dotras Trio — Preludes
Josep Maria Ribelles — Ondines ballen
The Last 3 Lines â€” Visions from Oniria Aloud Music Rock
website listen video With its second full album, the Barcelona band has decided to relapse into the ways of 70s rock, with progressive textures that often fall into dark traps, close to late-period Gothic music but also ambling through areas that are closer to glam and pop, without losing sight of the psychedelia that permeates the twelve cuts on the album. A product with a solid and steady finish, dreamy and cosmic but also realistic and tangible. â–
Bernat Vivancos — Blanc Neu Records Classical
Latvian Radio Choir Sigvards Klava, conductor
website listen video In recent years, Bernat Vivancos (Barcelona, 1973) has been making an outstanding place for himself on the Catalan music scene, whether as a composer, teacher (currently at ESMUC) or performer, acting since 2007 as the conductor of the Escolania de Montserrat, a choir he knows quite well because he was part of it. The connection with Montserrat is present in Blanc, a double album with choral work with a predominantly religious character. On all the pieces, Bernat Vivancos shows a remarkable mastery of texture, his taste for playing with sonic space and for surround sound effects, as well as the skill with which he converts existing material. It would not be out of place to recall the names of two of the leading representatives of what was called Sacred Minimalism: Britain’s John Tavener and the Estonian Arvo Pärt, two composers with different techniques and values, but who have in common the ability to transport the listener into spheres with a certain mysticism (whether sincere or imposed, since this depends on each person’s sensibility) and an ethereal atmosphere, a commingling effect which the Catalan composer also often uses. ■
The musical production of Maria del Mar Bonet in recent years has moved between large format works (Amic, amat or Bellver) and others which are more intimate, like this one, Blaus de lâ€™Ă nima. We need to consider two other factors. The first is the extraordinary work of Manel Camp. At this stage it is no longer possible to be surprised by the talented pianist from Manresa. We can only confirm the high level of interpretation and composition that he shows on the album, not only with his great arrangements for the songs but also the
Maria del Mar Bonet i Manel Camp — Blaus de l’ànima. Més de 20 anys ben a prop Picap Singer-songwriter / jazz
website listen video instrumental pieces that appear throughout the double album. The second factor is the success in choosing the songs, which combine some well-known songs from Bonet’s repertoire (“Què volen aquesta gent?”, “La balanguera”, “L’àguila negra” or “Jim”) with other lesser-known tracks and new pieces (“La barbera”, “No sé tu com ho sents” and “Cançó del bes sense port”). The key to all this is the understanding between these two major artists, giving spectacular results, for the pleasure of a select few. ■
Carles Dénia — El paradís de les paraules Comboi Folk
website listen video Upholding the forgotten work of Arab poets who lived in Valencia when it was a part of Al-Andalus is nothing new. However what is new, is the way that Carles Dénia has done it on his new album, El paradís de les paraules, giving us a reading of a selection of those poems (adapted by writer Josep Piera) which, while remaining fully rooted in the local musical tradition, fly with a freedom of style, alternating and combining all kinds of influences, from the oldest to the most contemporary. Dénia moves comfortably in a wide variety of registers, taking the Valencian folk song as a starting point, but connecting it in particular to flamenco, as well as to fado, romance songs, North African rhythms etc. All very Mediterranean, yes, but, and here comes the surprise, also very close to a jazz style similar to the one cultivated, for example, by the ECM label. This, then, is a groundbreaking work that opens new paths, comparable perhaps to Omega (El Europeo, 1996) by Enrique Morente with Lagartija Nick, although here the backing band is made up of the sensational strings of Tòbal Rentero, Efrén López and Mario Mas (son of the great Javier), the keyboards of Albert Sanz, the bass of Guillem Aguilar and the percussion of Aleix Tobias. What a band! ■
folk world music
Among the most restless and persevering musicians on the Catalan jazz scene, double bass player David Mengual occupies a special place. After some early years of exultant excitement with works as revealing as Monkiana (Fresh Sound, 1997), the double release with a trio and a nonet of Mosaic (Satchmo Jazz Records, 2000) and the completion of this initial stage with the sensational Deriva (Satchmo Jazz Records, 2003), the Barcelona musician has recorded Maitia, a work in which he shows his most intimate and personal side. Surrounded by his friends and usual fellow travellers - Joan DĂaz on
David Mengual — Maitia Quadrant Records Jazz
piano, Dani Pérez on guitar, Giulia Valle on double bass and Oriol Roca and David Xirgu on drums - with the aim of establishing complicity of the closest kind in order to take his compositions to limits that even he never suspected. The postulates of this proposal are based on the discovery and permanent exploration of oneself. This is how some tracks sound that establish the sequence of the growth of a person (“Embrió”, “Infant”, “El perro dejó de andar como una rata” etc.) when in fact what they are signalling is the rebirth of an old acquaintance who we have been missing for some time. ■
Els Surfing Sirles — Romaní, semen i sang BankRobber Garage rock
website listen video The second album by this Barcelona band Els Surfing Sirles comes with the same desire to make noise and have a good time that they have always had. A special tribute to Montseny in a 1960s soulpop style and accompanied by the woodwind of Gramophone Allstars opens an album full of symbolism and attitudes, including a song tribute to the legendary photographer Flowers, a character from the nightlife scene of the city of Barcelona. The production by Joan Colomo gives it that point of controlled chaos they like so much, which is also transferred to their chaotic and fun-filled live shows. The cover in Catalan of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer and a rocking festival closer with “Vols rock’n’roll pues té” close an album which in combining lyrics by punk poet Martí Sales with garage and rock & roll psychedelia becomes a great antidote to boredom. ■
folk world music
The formality of classical music, the freedom of jazz and the identity of the roots of traditional music are three basic ingredients that define the personality of a unique group: Folkincats, who are presenting, under the title L’aigua no es mou (Satélite K, 2011), the second album by a Barcelona outfit which is more restless than most and which dares to play around with Beethoven, Django Reinhardt, Isaac Albéniz and the “Cançó del lladre”. Assembling a band that sounds fresh, open, direct and communicative does not require mortgages or large-scale paraphernalia, just a violin (Oriol Saña), guitar (Albert Bello), a sax (David Salleras) and
Folkincats — L’aigua no es mou Satélite K Folk
website listen video a double bass (Oriol González); with four basic humble instruments there is enough to turn the established order of labelling music upside down and to bring together “La Pathetique” by Beethoven with the traditional Mallorcan song “So de pastera”. And those who want more excitement can also choose from “Granada” by Albéniz and “Katibum”, which hails from the Balkans. This is a combination that could be explosive, but in the hands of Folkincats it takes on a frighteningly natural cohesion. In no way is it fusion, but rather the coexistence of different aesthetics with the aim of engendering one of their own. ■
Joan Dﾃｭaz returns to the formula that gave such good results on his album We Sing Bill Evans (Fresh Sound, 2008), winner of the Jaﾃｧ magazine Critics Award for best album of the year. In formal terms, this new project cannot be judged by comparing it to its predecessor. Firstly, because the musical style of Evans and Shorter are radically different. But also because from the band on that first album only the drums of Ramon ﾃ］gel Rey remain. With the reformulated band and a body of work in front of them as intense and personal as that of Wayne Shorter at different stages of his career, the project by Dﾃｭaz demanded the utmost responsibility. The first challenge overcome by the pianist and composer
Joan Díaz — We Sing Wayne Shorter DiscMedi Jazz
website listen video was to achieve the coexistence in the same repertoire of the different avatars in the career of Shorter, such as the period of the second Miles Davis quintet (“Pinocchio”), his time in Weather Report (“Palladium”), the beginnings and maturity of his work as a leader (“Infant Eyes” and “The Three Marias”, respectively) and, especially, his album Native Dancer (Columbia, 1974) with Milton Nascimento (“Beauty and the Beast”, “Diana” and “Ana Maria”). On this subject, Joan Díaz injects a dose of vitality and energy that allows access via a closer and more direct route. In a way, this untangles the skein of sonic tones that converge in Shorter’s work and shows us the way to exit the maze. ■
La Iaia — Les ratlles del banyador Música Global Pop
website listen video Les ratlles del banyador expresses more musical substance and in particular more ambition than the demo which brought it to our attention, while remaining the work of a group that moves in the territory of pop songs which are observational, confessional and filled with minimalist imagery. The collaboration with producer Paco Loco has led to an album of melodic pop songs played in a folk style, in which the refrains are as solid as the acoustic dynamics, textures and the touch of warmth and humanity. “L’última nit”, which evolves from a close-miked guitar to an epic crescendo, reflects a peaceful meeting of aesthetics, and “Explosió” and “La platja” invite us to imagine a kind of Simon & Garfunkel touched by the fog of Osona. Their debut is not a festival album but a pleasant and compact work, occasionally shaken by spasms of participatory folk (such as “No trobo el meu lloc”). With it, La Iaia touch up the image of a relaxed group with a repertoire that is redolent of the properties of singer-songwriters, in which the lyrics often become the protagonists through a series of everyday tales with an emotional background. This is material that, far from exhibiting a desire for perfectionism, unselfconsciously shows its seams and finishes, as befits a work of true craft. ■
Maika Makovski â€” Desaparecer Outstanding Records Rock
website listen video Nearly all possible adjectives run out when defining Maika Makovski, her records and, above all, her honest, emotional and utterly heartstopping live performances. With this new album the level of praise has not diminished, although it is possibly the most difficult and uncompromising work of her career. With a structure that takes as its basis the play in which she appeared alongside actor Juan Echanove and under the orders of Calixto Bieito, Makovski plays each song with highly diverse structures and textures, basing their lyrics on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. It is a work that in places is a little too divergent, but which manages to fit in with the universe that Maika Makovski carries on weaving successfully, album after album. â–
Marc Ayza — Live at Home Fresh Sound World Jazz Hip-hop / Jazz
listen video Recorded live at the Jamboree club in Barcelona on 22nd and 23rd April 2011, this album confirms the continuing journey of Marc Ayza down the road that he himself defined in his previous work, Offering (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008), in which the coordinates of jazz were widened through a determined partnership with hip-hop. The decision to take this new step through a live recording allows him to capture the energy and intensity of the project without the filter of the studio, in the same way that the dynamic of a concert rules out stylising and touch-ups, while allowing the groove and rhythmic cadence to prevail where the skins of Ayza and the rhyme of Core Rhythm alternate. This impact means that when we listen to the album track by track there is an overriding sensation that hip-hop and the new principles of soul have relegated jazz to a decorative function. But for what it’s worth the ear can make out the way that the involvement of a volcanic Roger Mas on piano and keyboards, the calm and well-placed thumb on the double bass of Tom Warburton and even the turntable touches of the brilliant DJ Helios provide substantial elements of improvisation and surprise to assert the jazz within the sonic fabric of the urban jungle. ■
Maria Coma — Magnòlia Música Global Original pop
website listen video With her debut, Linòleum (Amniòtic Records, 2009), Maria Coma, the bandmate of Pau Vallvé in u_mä places herself on the map as a solo artist with a delicate and highly open sound which embraces playful melodies, a vaguely naif style and agitated dynamics built on sophisticated piano arpeggios. Now, in Magnòlia, the Barcelona singer takes the dreamiest, most turbulent and deepest side of her artistic profile and presents a work of the kind that needs to be heard several times in order to begin to feel that you are inside it. Vallvé is there again, of course, handling the production of a collection of songs that convey a sense of unity. These are luxuriant compositions with which Maria Coma transmits sensations of fantasy, sadness, anxiety or celebration together with a visual sense to the music, which is very redolent of film soundtracks. The ‘magnolia’ that gives the album its title has connotations of the Proustian madeleine and for the composer evokes scenes from the past that give her strength. An emotional, warm leitmotif in which the piano is the main thread, with elegant ranges of neoclassical notes which are both wide awake and a little giddy. ■
folk world music
Miquel Gil — X marcianes Temps Record Folk
website listen video The new album from singer Miquel Gil offers plenty of joy for fans of modern roots music: because it is the happy result of the immersion of this musician in micro-sponsorship, a humble and hopeful way of making viable cultural projects become truly popular; because the extraordinary punk cover by Jordi Albinyana, as direct as a punch in the nose, is the perfect graphic representation of transgressive spirit with which the musician from Catarroja attacks purist platitudes and redefines the traditional code term ‘valencianomediterrani’, and above all, because we really wanted that earthy voice to return to combine young poetry and ancient music from the street. As for more recent material, the typical rhythmic force of the gnawa makes an appearance, linked with the verses by Enric Casasses in “Com més”, while in “Les xiquetes” we find the velatori, Jamaican touches and Hellenic modal scales. Regarding the pieces that have been toured in live shows before being recorded, foremost stands “De la mar”, dedicated to the struggle by the residents of the Cabanyal district in Valencia, which has already become a classic. ■
‘Escribí una nueva canción...’ (‘I wrote a new song ...’), begins the album in the title track. Nacho Umbert has created a fervent audience for his songs, which shuffle between a reality that at first glance is hermetic and a liberating fantasy. He can start out from the closely observed figure of “El Sr. Esteve” and build a portrait worthy of basing a film around in which a father-son relationship is based only on money. Like a female Pied Piper, “Una chica espectacular” charms all the men and Umbert portrays them
Nacho Umbert — No os creáis ni la mitad Acuarela Original pop
website listen video as imbeciles, while in “Cuatro señoritas” the prostitutes are the stars of an adolescent night out paid for by an older cousin. A highlight is the song “El mort i el degollat”, which is as catchy in its simple guitar chords and clapping as it is with its story which drags you along and cuts you open. Nacho Umbert might not be trustworthy, but he portrays a sordid human panorama and has that quality that charms everyone who comes to his songs, which are now sung in Catalan. ■
folk world music
Orquestra Àrab de Barcelona — Libertad World Village / Harmonia Mundi Music from Maghreb
website video The third album from the OAB consolidates the step forward made with the previous Maktub (Harmonia Mundi, 2009) and polishes the formula of a style of music rooted in the rhythms and genres popular in the Maghreb region, but which incorporates more and more decisive and explicit hints of jazz, rock, pop and Cuban music, with the drums of Sergio Ramos and the piano of Omar Sosa taking on a leading role alongside the two pillars of the project: the violin of Mohamed Soulimane and the unmistakable voice of Ayoub Bout. They should be given credit for knowing how to glue everything together with hardly a squeak, on an album which lines up the trumpet of David Pastor, the guitar of Dani Figueras and the Flamenco vocals of Paula Domínguez, among others. ■
Raph Dumas — Coblism DiscMedi Electronic Fusion
website listen video Having flirted with the fusion of funk, rock and Catalan roots music with the group The Primaveras, the renowned DJ and producer from Perpignan Raph Dumas on the new album Coblism takes up the challenge of uniting his two great passions on a single album: cobla music and electronica. The result fits in with the tradition of the tenora and could work on the dance floor of any club. Based on the sampling of records of the 1950s and mixing them with recordings of various modern cobla songs, the alchemist in Dumas creates a potion in which flute and drum set the rhythm in a fruitful clash of musical civilizations. It includes the voice of the Catalan pop culture icon Òscar Dalmau on “Outro lliure” and a cover illustrated by a good friend of Raph Dumas: the musician from Ceret, Pascal Comelade. Put aside your prejudices and discover one of the most creative fusion artists on either side of the Alberes. ■
The Catalan pianist Xavier Dotras has found the musical formula that allows him to combine his classical training with improvisation: the prelude. While his previous album, Vincent (Picap, 2009), was inspired by the work of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, this time the theme that runs through the new work by Dotras are these preludes. The pianist has included up to eight pieces in this format, clearly developed and turned into complete tracks, using his regular trio with Toni Pujol on drums and CĂŠsar MartĂnez on double bass. The influences that underpin his piano work run from Bach
Xavier Dotras Trio — Preludes Picap Jazz
website listen video and Chopin to Henry Mancini, Ennio Morricone and, of course, Bill Evans, to whom he explicitly dedicates prelude number 7 (“Wait for Me Listening to Bill Evans”). In his elaboration Xavier Dotras deploys an evocative and lyrical tone that places him in the realm of the post-romantic musicians. The album closes with the song “No em diguessis ‘Adéu’”, in homage to his father Jaume Dotras, who is the composer, performed by Carme Canela. Among the collaborators on the album, another highlight is the presence of Fèlix Rossy on trumpet. ■
Josep Maria Ribelles — Ondines ballen Armando Records Folk
website video Having played in important projects and groups, the harpist Josep Maria Ribelles steps out front to uphold the importance of the harp (an instrument present in many latitudes, from Brittany to Paraguay) in Catalan traditional music. But the point here is that he does not do so with any grandiloquent speeches or exercises of musicological reconstruction, but rather by recreating traditional pieces, in particular popular dances from the Vallès region with a simple and modern sensibility. He is helped by a group featuring the woodwind of Eduard Navarro, the strings of Carlos Beceiro (La Musgaña) and one-off contributions from the bass of Carles Benavent, the triki of Kepa Junkera and the hurdy gurdy of Marc Egea. ■
folk world music
The ICEC and the musical sector: What can we do for you? The ICEC, Catalan Institute for the Cultural Companies, is responsible for funding and development of the music industry in Catalonia. It provides a range of funding schemes to support both recorded and live music and has its own label, Catalan! Music, to promote the sector abroad.
Funding schemes The ICEC provides support to the recording industries by means of several funding schemes, the most significant of which are targeted at labels and programmers. Labels can apply for subsidies linked to their business plan â€“ instead of funding individual releases, the ICEC funds part of the companiesâ€™ investments in production, digitalization and use of new technologies. The ICEC has also a funding scheme for the publication of records of particular cultural interest and others targeted both at private companies and town councils who regularly programme concerts or organize festivals. Since 2008 the ICEC has also initiated an exchange programme with festivals and musical institutions from several regions and countries outside Catalonia. This scheme allows for Catalan musicians to perform abroad, while some musicians from those regions and countries are also offered some acts in different venues and festivals in Catalonia.
Catalan! Music, the brand to promote our music abroad The ICEC also works for the distribution of Catalan music outside Catalonia. This objective is carried out by means of the brand Catalan! Music. Catalan! Music is the umbrella under which the ICEC acts in the international framework, in a coordinated way with the sectorâ€™s entities and associations. Its actions include, among others, the presence of Catalan companies in international fairs and markets; support for Catalan music companies interested in doing business abroad; offering information, advice and contacts to Catalan and foreign professionals and companies for the international distribution of their productions; providing international consultancy for specific projects; favouring the creation of circuits for exchanges with other countries and the publication of compilations, catalogues, directories, a specific website, newsletters and other tools about the music sector in Catalonia. The diverse actions to promote the internationalization of Catalan music are carried out via the five international offices of the ICEC, located in the strategic cities of several target markets: Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, London, Milan and Paris. The offices play an active role in the design and development of the dissemination and exportation policies for the Catalan music production. Therefore, the range of actions performed by the ICEC in support of Catalan music is extremely wide, in response to the dynamism and the creativity of the Catalan music industry.
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The digital magazine for the international promotion of the Catalan music. Available in English, Catalan and Spanish. Published four-monthly...
Published on Jan 24, 2012
The digital magazine for the international promotion of the Catalan music. Available in English, Catalan and Spanish. Published four-monthly...