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Catalan! music eMagazine

International CONNECTION THERE IS STRENGth IN NUMBERS

And:

Catalans on tour Recommended festivals New releases

autumn 2012 issue 4


Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals Passatge de la Banca 1 i 3 E-08002 Barcelona Tel.: +34 933 162 700 internacional.icec@gencat.cat www.gencat.cat/cultura/icec/internacional www.catalanarts.cat Text: Grup Enderrock Images: Xavier Mercadé, Toni León, Juan Miguel Morales, Alba Nájera, Juanchi Pegoraro, Óscar Perales, Ana Madrid, Biel Capllonch, Eric van Nieuwland D.L.: B-32542-2011 Barcelona, september 2012 ISSN: 2014-3834

Cover image: Xavier Mercadé

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/es/deed.ca


Catalan! music eMagazine

autumn 2012 issue 4

The digital magazine for the international promotion of the Catalan music. Available in English, Catalan and Spanish. Published four-monthly.


intro

The history of Catalan music has been marked by extraordinary performances with collaborations between artists of international renown and artists from our homeland. It is merely necessary to remember, among others, the concerts of Caetano Veloso with Joan Manuel Serrat, Lluís Llach with Amina Aloui, Joan Isaac with Cecilia Todd, Marc Almond with El Último de la Fila and Brad Jones with Els Pets to capture the scope of these collaborations. The professionalism of our musicians is becoming increasingly evident and this is seen in the media, festivals and concert halls beyond our borders. We are therefore not surprised that great artists from elsewhere show an interest and wish to collaborate with our musicians. The most recent case is the record made by the North American soul singer Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed with the Catalan group The Pepper Pots, which led to a number of performances around the territory.


In this edition of Catalan! Music eMagazine we would like to look at the most representative musical pairings that have marked a before and after for music made in Catalonia. At the same time, we open the door to professionals from all around the world who would like to learn about our musical output, offering a selection of new records from recent months and a pick of the upcoming festivals, which will all certainly be a showcase for the best musicians currently on the scene. Catalan! Music shall continue to promote ‘International Connection’ among Catalan artists and those from elsewhere and contribute towards international promotion of the Catalan music industry. This new edition of Catalan! Music eMagazine is another step forward in this direction and we would very much like you to accompany us by reading it. Gorka KnĂśrr Director of the Catalan Institute for the Cultural Companies


New! Pop Rock and World Music from Catalonia 2012 It is now available the new edition of the compilations Pop Rock & World Music from Catalonia 2012 in a double CD to promote the Catalan pop rock and world music worldwide. Alberto Guijarro, Primavera Sound’s director, highlights that there is a “high degree of creativity with its own distinctive personality ranging from cosmopolitan to rural, taking the best from apparently opposing worlds, a forum in which the avant-garde, the absurd, the strange, tradition and sophistication can all be seen to co-exist”. Daniel Shaw, artistic director in Celtic Connections, says that “Catalonian musicians and bands are performing some of the most exciting and unique world music today”. Pop Rock from Catalonia 2012 has been selected by Guillem Vidal (music journalist), in collaboration with Anna Cerdà (Pop Arb Festival coordinator), Nando Cruz (music journalist), Albert Juncosa (international booking, Last Tour International), Jordi Herreruela (Cases de la Música coordinator), and Albert Puig (music journalist). World Music from Catalonia 2012 has been selected by Jordi Lara (writer) in collaboration with Jordi Bertran (Fira Mediterrània de Manresa), Josep Maria Hernández Ripoll (journalist), Jordi Urpí (music chronicler) and Francesc Viladiu (music programmer).


Anímic / Manel / Maria Coma / La Iaia / Maika Makovski / Antònia Font / L’Hereu Escampa / Za! / Very Pomelo / The New Raemon / Mazoni / Nico Roig / Paul Fuster / Eric Fuentes / Biscuit / Manos de Topo / Le Petit Ramon / Els Surfing Sirles / Nacho Umbert & La Compañía / Joan Colomo / The Pepper Pots

Gertrudis / Pascal Comelade & Cobla Sant Jordi / Yacine & The Oriental Groove / Maria del Mar Bonet & Manel Camp / Folkincats / Derrumband / Quico el Célio, el Noi i el Mut de Ferreries + Pep Gimeno “Botifarra” / Llama / El Pont d’Arcalís / Tazzuff / Apa / Sabor de Gràcia / Perepau Jiménez & Jordi Molina / Orquestra Àrab de Barcelona / Toti Soler / Rumba Vella / Miquel Gil / La Pegatina / Xavier Baró

If you are a professional of the music sector and want a free copy of this compilation, please, send us your pro details to internacional.icec@gencat.cat.


Summary

HOT: International CONNE on tour 30 news 40 festivals 48 upcoming festivals 62 new releases 64


ONNECTION

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*Biscuit


HOT

Interna CONNE


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ational ONNECTION *The Pepper Pots


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Taj Mahal


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Catalonia has always been a culture crossing. Since the middle of last century, relations between Catalan artists and musicians from around the world have been very common. Own styles like rumba, Mediterranean music and other borrowed like jazz have been an unavoidable meeting point. Pere Pons Music journalist

Like all Sunday mornings, the Sant Jaume square in Barcelona fills with circles of people dancing the oldest of all dances: the sardana. Among the passers-by looking on, one citizen wearing a flowery shirt, with dark skin and a straw hat, is recording, with a recorder in his hand, the melody of the flabiol fipple flute, the banging on the tambourine and the high-tone shouting of the tenor. He was named Henry Saint Clair Fredericks seventy years ago in New York, but the world knows him by the nickname Taj Mahal. He is an inveterate bluesman born to an Indian father and an Afro-American mother, who has devoted his career to exploring the multiple sides of sounds rooted in North America. When he travels around the world he applies the same interest when capturing


hot International CONNECTION

all music with its own identity which, as he has been able to observe, allows him to get to know the personality of the place, area or country better. Way before this scene took place, the guitar of Taj Mahal had already established an initial point of contact with Catalan musicality when, in the year 1971, he collaborated with the group Om. The group, which had just recorded the foundational Catalan rock record under the leadership of the most inspired Pau Riba –Dioptria (Ariola, 1971)–, had musicians such as Toti Soler on guitar and Jordi Sabatés on piano. In his progressive form of combining tradition and modernity, Taj Mahal discovered the point of interconnection which enabled him to establish the providential crossover of cultures. This was not the first time, and was certainly not to be the only time, when a foreign musician was to demonstrate his attraction to the forms and the concept with which music is created in Catalonia. The purest case of symbiosis may possibly be found in the figure of the Argentinean Xavier Patricio Pérez, Gato Pérez, who, via the art and grace of Catalan rumba, became the most relevant exponent as a social and musical figure of the genre. But, with it not being necessary to resort to such an extreme case of musical abduction, the list of musicians from all around the planet who, due to aesthetic or ethical reasons or simply for pleasure, have felt the need to offer their talent to Catalan productions and collaborate with their


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architects covers a range from traditional music to pop and rock, including jazz, singing and electronic music. This has been done by the Brazilian Caetano Veloso with Joan Manuel Serrat, the Frenchman Michel Portal with Raimon, the Moroccan Amina Aloui with Lluís Llach, the Italian Paolo Conte with Quico Pi de la Serra and the Greek Mikis Teodorakis with Maria del Mar Bonet. In the field of pop, the range includes Marc Almond with El Último de la Fila and Jackson Browne with Javier Mas and Dani Nel·lo, as well as PJ Harvey with Pascal Comelade and Brad Jones with Els Pets. And, in the field of jazz and improvised music, possibly the most prone to these kinds of interactions, the list of musicians from other parts of the world who have left their mark with offerings by Catalan musicians includes historic names such as Lionel Hampton, Dexter Gordon, René Thomas, Anthony Braxton and Chick Corea, as well as others more current such as Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Jeff Ballard, Gary Willis, Evan Parker and Lee Konitz, to mention just a few of them. All of these names, together with many others who make up an endless list, leave the demand for music made in Catalonia clear, among a varied and select representation of some of its best exponents on an international scale. ■


hot International CONNECTION

Brad Jones & Els Pets & Refree In search of the perfect song The disappearance of the producer and guitarist Marc Grau just after the release of the album Sol (DiscMedi, 1999) gave a strong jolt to Els Pets, a group which, nevertheless, looked for alternatives thanks to their work with the American producer Brad Jones. “There is a very subtle line that identifies Brad’s work and also revives that of Marc,” says Lluís Gavaldà, singer and songwriter of Els Pets. The good thing about Brad Jones is that we talked to him about Wings or Tom Petty and said that we would like that sound, and we didn’t have to explain who they were, he already knew them”. The drummer Joan Reig adds “Brad Jones has many influences and they coincide totally with ours”. Brad Jones has also co-produced the latest album by Raul Fernández, Refree: Matilda (Marxophone, 2010), recorded at the producer’s studio in Nashville. “I met Brad a few years ago, through Lluís Gavaldà, and immediately we wanted to work together”. When talking about the album by Refree, Jones says: “When I first heard Refree’s music I felt like I was being told a wonderful secret. I hope I never get to understand the whole of that secret”. ■

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Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed & The Pepper Pots The Power of Soul During the presentation of the album Train to Your Lover (Black Pepper Records, 2011), The Pepper Pots met the Boston singer Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed. From this union emerged one EP (on CD and 7” vinyl) and a DVD which illustrates their meeting at the Girona group’s studios. Almost a year after that first flirtation between American musician Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and the Catalan soul group The Pepper Pots, the band could be seen live at the Sala Apolo in Barcelona on 27th May 2012 at the 23rd Barcelona Guitar Festival. A night filled with soul. Live, it could already be seen how the voice of the Americansoulman fitted in perfectly with the rhythm section of The Pepper Pots. At their concert at the Barcelona Guitar Festival, ​​this impression was confirmed in an effective live show in which together they performed songs like “The Satisfier”, “Take it Like a Man”, “The Pleasure is All Mine”, “Rougher Yet” and “TCB or TYA”. ■

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Will Johnson & Anímic From Texas to Collbató via Arbúcies and drinking horchata Half a year ago at the Anímic house, Miquel Planas ‘Zuma’ (bass) was the only one who had a record by South San Gabriel. “Now we can’t live without listening to Will Johnson. We love his first solo album, which oddly enough is the least well-known of them all: Murder of Tides (Undertow Music, 2002)”, says the singer and musician Ferran Palau. The monster of the American folk song has made a place for himself at the Anímic house after staying there last June, when the Texan artist shared space and a mini tour with them. And between visits, meals and football games, they shared music and rehearsals in order to prepare a small tour together (Arbúcies, Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona). Their big debut was at popArb where Will Johnson became the first international artist to climb up on the stage. This is confirmed by the Arbúcies festival’s artistic director, Marc Lloret: “As a first try it seemed easier to bring a singer-songwriter and not a group. And we had to think of a Catalan band to make the logistical


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part easier. Anímic seemed right”. The result was splendid and they connected immediately. “The cadence of Catalan in folk, pop and rock music makes a lot of sense to me. It fits in a way that sounds very familiar, natural. Although I couldn’t understand every word I sang, I didn’t need to look at the lyrics to be able to follow them”, said Johnson. ■

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Speed Caravan & Rabah Donquishoot & Nour Trip to Algerian Roots Rai music has fought against the image of an Algeria linked to negative values, but this genre is undergoing days of decline due to young people’s tastes for other genres like hip-hop and hybrid music styles. This situation forms the basis of the show Rock de souk, a co-production by BAM (Barcelona Musical Action) and the Vic Live Music Market, which in 2009 brought together the group led by Yacine Belahcene and Speed Caravan. Mehdi Haddab is the soul of Speed Caravan, a group based in Paris that surprised plenty of people with their first album. Yacine Belahcene was the singer of Nour, a group from Barcelona that brought Arab sounds to Catalan rock. Rabah Donquishoot is the singer of the legendary hip hop group MBS and his work in promoting Arab rap has been recognised worldwide. All three are of Amazigh origin and took a risk with the aim of bringing rock to the Algerian market. Rap, rock, electro and dub are some of the styles that were played on the stage by this three-part outfit, in a mixture of languages ​​ including Catalan, Spanish, French, English and Arabic. ■

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hot International CONNECTION

Clem Snide & Senior Neil Young in a sexy and mysterious language Friday 2nd July 2010. The beach of Platja del Far at Vilanova i la Geltrú is ready to enjoy the most anticipated performance of the night by the American band Clem Snide revisiting the album Zuma (Warner, 1975) by Neil Young. The first chords sound, and a voice with a Valencian accent replaces that of the Canadians: “Given that Neil Young is one of our hypothetical parents, both theirs and mine, and since Eef Barzelay (leader of Clem Snide) knew that ‘Don’t Cry No Tears’ was in my repertoire in Valencian, he asked me to sing it with them in, as he likes to define it, my sexy and mysterious language”. The speaker is Miquel Àngel Landete, best known for his role as leader of Senior i el Cor Brutal. What were the mysteries of their meeting? “When Clem Snide released End of Love (Spin Art, 2005) they were touring Spain. Because they weren’t coming to Valencia, I went with a friend to see them at the Moby Dick in Madrid. We sneaked into the soundcheck and afterwards went to dinner with them”, recalls Landete. When after a year Barzelay presented his solo album Bitter Honey (Spin Art, 2006), he did play in Valencia: “I opened for him, and he liked the American rock songs that I sang in Valencian. We spent two days together and from then on we have always stayed in touch”. ■

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hot International CONNECTION

The Hidden Cameras & Hidrogenesse An album, a whim In summer 2009, Joel Gibb, leader of the “gay church folk” group The Hidden Cameras, proposed that Hidrogenesse, the duo of Carlos and Genís, do a remix of a song from their album Origin:Orphan (Arts & Crafts, 2009). They decided on the song “He Falls to Me” and asked Joel for the vocal tracks of more songs, so they could rework them at their Barcelona studio and release them with Austrohúngaro, the label Hidrogenesse is on. The result of this collaboration is Hidrogenesse vs. The Hidden Cameras (Austrohúngaro 2010), a six-song EP that was released on CD and on 12” vinyl at 45 rpm. “When they came out it was much talked-about. They were doing something new, attractive and very appealing”, says Genís referring to The Hidden Cameras. The Catalan pop duo met the leader of the Canadian group when he was finishing the album Origin: Orphan, and they took advantage of the coincidence: “The idea came from a conversation with Joel Gibb last summer. He really liked the first thing that we sent him and we decided to do an EP. He’s pretty proud of it!”, says Segarra. ■

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Savina Yannatou & Miquel Gil Across the Mediterranean Greek singer Savina Yannatou and her approach to traditional music have been an influence on Miguel Gil for years. In 2004, Gil gave one of the concerts at the Mediterranean Fair of Manresa, presenting Katà (Galileo, 2004). “At night, chatting with the organisers of the Fair, they told me they wanted me to open the following edition with something special, a show that would sum up the new Mediterranean direction they wanted to give to the event. I was asked to think of someone to invite and the truth is I was in no doubt.” Savina Yannatou was his choice. The two singers began to exchange emails and materials in order to work on a show together. In choosing the repertoire, they chose pieces by the Valencian singer and also made medleys of songs from their respective repertoires. “Playing with the two bands together was extraordinary. The concerts after Manresa – Athens, Torroella de Montgrí... – went fantastically well. There were no more worries about the recording, now we could try other things, play with the voices: all the technical problems were already solved. It was like driving on a highway.” ■

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on tour

BONGO BOTRAKO 32 GIULIA VALLE QUINTET 34 RAMON FOSSATI GLOWING TRIO THE SUICIDE OF WESTERN CULT


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O 36 TURE 38

*Bongo Botrako


on tour

BONGO BOTRAKO They have been described as a ‘punk party’ band and admit that the label does not bother them. Vocalist Oriol Giné reflects: “The truth is that it is very difficult to classify us. Maybe there is a little punk, but there is also ska, reggae, rock, rumba... This ‘party’ tag explains the festive element of the group quite well, we liked it and so we adopted it”. However it might have happened, this band from Tarragona has not stopped playing since they presented their first album, Todos los días sale el sol (Kasba Music, 2010), an optimistic title that is at odds with the times we’re living in... Or is it? “We need to be optimistic, and more so now that we’re in a crisis! The songs of Bongo Botrako are festive, but also talk about the system, war, economy... They make it positive: we’ve had enough of complaining, we need to go forward and work on fixing it.” Bongo Botrako have spread their frenetic live show with the tour for Todos los días sale el sol. Bongo Botrako are going on a short tour of the Netherlands, playing at the Epop Festival in Epe on 1st September and at the New Culture of Heerlen on 2nd September.

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on tour

GIULIA VALLE QUINTET The Giulia Valle quintet is currently one of the most successful bands in the Catalan jazz scene. Their music includes a wide range of sound emotions full of shades, an imaginative, unpredictable and striking jazz fuelled by a powerful line-up of first-class musicians: MartĂ­ Serra (tenor and soprano saxophone), Gorka BenĂ­tez (tenor saxophone), Marco Mezquida (piano and keyboards) and David Xirgu (drums). The latest album by the composer and double-bass player Berenice (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2010) is a true gem; a work which brings together the art of improvisation, the culture of classical music and the generational legacy of a creator who is in touch with the pulse of her time. Of particular note among the qualities of her work, however, is her ability to serve music which escapes the paper it is written on and becomes a way of expressing her outlook on life. Thanks to the work of artists such as Giulia Valle, Catalan jazz is one of the best letters of introduction for Catalan culture in Europe. The Giulia Valle Quintet will perform in South Korea from 12th to 17th October as part of the Gapyeong Jarasum International Jazz Festival.

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RAMON FOSSATI GLOWING TRIO The trombonist Ramon Fossati presents a new original repertoire accompanied by two important figures of Catalan jazz: the Argentinean double-bass player Horacio Fumero and the drummer David Xirgu. The great complicity between the musicians in this band has enabled Fossati to find a great balance between composition and improvisation, the perfect interaction for a set of new compositions which travel the language of jazz leading us to an innovative proposal which includes new uses of rhythm and tone in a delightful three-way dialogue. With this new project, Fossati has consolidated himself as one of the most personal trombone players in Catalonia. In spite of not having released the CD, the band has shared its most recent creations, “Reverie de mai”, “Connected Souls”, “Kaleidophonic” and “Tribulus Terrestris”, on the net. In addition to the Glowing Trio, Fossati is also involved as a trombone player in other projects, such as the Five in Orbit quintet together with the French musicians Olivier Brandily, Laurent Bronner, Nicolas Rageau and Luc Isenmann. The Ramon Fossati Glowing Trio will tour South America during November: Rosario, AR (18th), Montevideo, UY (20th) Córdoba, AR (22nd) and Buenos Aires, AR (24th). They will close the month with a performance in Hamburg on 28th November and another one in Berlin on 29th.

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THE SUICIDE OF WESTERN CULTURE With only toy keyboards and a few second-hand pedals, The Suicide of Western Culture (TSOWC) decided to create their own songs from a London student hostel room. Lo-fi tunes recreating the sounds of the 1990s bands which they so admired: Godspeed You Black Emperor, Disco Inferno, Mogwai, Flying Saucer Attack and Tortoise, among others. Roughness and vacuum, melody and surprise, instrumental post-electronic music based on what is tangible, impossible button contorsionism, a true revolution of machines including some as familiar as Casio CZ-1000 and the beloved TR505 rhythm composer. The Suicide of Western Culture is the electronic band of the moment in the Spanish scene, and they have already displayed their synthetic, emotional, noisy, lo-fi and analogue post-rock music in the most respected festivals in Europe and the United States. Their visceral, tuneful and soulful songs are inspired on krautrock and an arsenal of pedals, keyboards and vintage devices from which this duet from Barcelona can squeeze out the very last drop of sound. TSOWC will perform in Austria (Vienna, 5th October) and France (Dijon and Vend么me, 8th and 9th November)

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ELECTRONIC

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*La Pegatina


news

Free to Dream, The Cuban Connection The progressive rock band from Barcelona Free to Dream has been on tour rom 4 to 14 August in Cuba The band has played a total of eleven concerts around the island, in conjunction with the promoter ComunaCuba and the label Jam Session Records. During the tour, they have been presenting their latest album, Rocktámbulo (self-released, 2011), published in LP format, which they also presented live in 2011 in Russia and other European countries.

Tour dates

Havana - Maxim Rock 5th August Pinar del Río - Casa de la Música 7th August Matanzas - AHS Centre 8th August Havana - Submarino 9th August Santa Clara - Meunje 10th August Cienfuegos - Peña de los Modyys 11th August Holguin - Caligary 12th August Holguin - AHS Centre with the Royal Bakunin Orquestra 14th August Santiago de Cuba - AHS Centre 15th August Camagüey 16th August Havana 4th August

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Free to Dream


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Antònia Font

Astrio

Love of Lesbian

Mayte Martín


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Catalan! Music at the Mercat de Música Viva festival in Vic The 24th edition of Vic’s Mercat de Música Viva festival will bring together, from 12th to 16th September, almost seventy proposals which will turn the Catalan city into a musical epicentre for the weekend. Catalan! Music will be there to support the Catalan music industry and the festival, which once again aims to become the most important meeting point for the music industry and thus help energise Catalan music. The festival includes two separate programmes: MVLab, aimed mainly at professionals with the aim of encouraging contracts; and the festival itself, aimed at the public and with a more festive format. This year includes some new features as part of MVLab, the professional part of the festival, such as a firm commitment to so-called speed meetings, short meetings between various agents to close deals quickly and smoothly. In addition, the Puig-Porret award has been modified so that it now goes to the best music creation project, still with a financial prize of €10,000. In terms of performances, some of the highlights include Antònia Font, Els Catarres, Mayte Martín, Col·lectiu Brossa + Falsalarma, Lenacay, Love of Lesbian, Gertrudis, Txarango, La Pegatina, Astrio and Raydibaum. ■

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Catalan! Music at the Womex 2012 fair Womex –17th to 21st October, Thessaloniki (Greece)– is one of the most important music festivals in the world. This fair brings together root music professionals and organises concerts, conferences and screenings of music documentaries. After three years in Copenhagen (Denmark, from 2009 to 2011), Womex is moving to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second major economic and political centre, located right by the Mediterranean Sea. Catalan! Music! will have its own space in the Womex trade fair, where it will welcome the various Catalan companies taking part. The showcase programme will include the Catalan group Lenacay, composed of three former members of the band Ojos de Brujo: Ramón Giménez ‘El Brujo’ (flamenco guitar, midi guitar, programming, jaleos and break dance), Dj Panko ‘El Mago’ (electronic bases, keyboards, scratching and vocals) and Xavi Turull (percussion) – as well as two new members – ‘La Camaleón’ (vocals, clapping and jaleos), Yolanda Cortés ‘La Joya’ (dancing, flamenco singing and jaleos) – and Eduardo Cortés ‘El Hechicero’ (flamenco guitar). Their first album, Ryma (Satélite K, 2012), is based on flamenco and Catalan rumba and explores their links to electronic music, hip-hop, break-dancing, black music and funk, to name but a few. ■

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festivals

SAN MIGUEL PRIMAVERA SOUN POPARB 52 Faraday 54 SĂ“NAR 56 Music Festival of Torroella International Music Festival + upcoming festivals 62


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orroella de MontgrĂ­ 58 estival of Peralada Castle 60

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SAN MIGUEL PRIMAVERA SOUND From 29th May to 3rd June Barcelona

Records and memories The 2012 edition of the San Miguel Primavera Sound festival was attended by over 150,000 spectators, a record achieved thanks to the free events within the San Miguel Primavera a la Ciutat programme, with a total of 270 concerts. The professional side of the festival, PrimaveraPro, brought together a total of 1,400 participants from 43 countries, a 27% increase in relation the 2011 edition. From an artistic point of view, in spite of the cancellation of Björk due to vocal problems (she was replaced by Saint Etienne), the concerts by The Cure, Wilco, Rufus Wainwright, Franz Ferdinand, Beirut, Marianne Faithfull, The XX, Spiritualized and The Walkmen were some of the highlights. Catalan groups performing at the Forum includedAnímic, Joe Crepúsculo, Refree, Eric Fuentes, Senior i el Cor Brutal, Mujeres and Dulce Pájara de Juventud. The festival’s parallel programme included the Catalan bands L’Hereu Escampa and Mates Mates, the show Minimúsica (with Fred i Son, Refree and Internet 2, among others), Renaldo & Clara, Xavier Baró, Odio París, Joan Colomo and Aliment. ■


poprock

Rufus Wainwright

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The Cure


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POPARB

poprock

8th and 9th July Arbúcies

Sharp Guitars Litoral opened the eighth edition of popArb with its Mediterranean pop sound and the recent addition of Helyette Vercambre (accordion, keyboards and vocals). On the first night there were sets by La Estrella de David and the always dramatic voice of Manos de Topo. The band led by the great Quimi Portet was very guitar-based, also featuring Jordi Busquets. The audience sang along with almost every song by Mishima. Els Surfing Sirles presented a set of songs that were truly visceral, with professionalism, not just punk attitude. Amics del Bosc led off the afternoon of the second day at Prat Rodó, a natural area that has become the epicentre of popArb by day, with other bands such as Les Sueques or the precocious talent of Mates Mates. A luscious concert by Maria Coma focused on her latest album, Magnòlia (Amniòtic Records, 2011). By night, the festival could almost be called rockArb, with the live sound of the Valencian band Arthur Caravan; the Yankee-inspired classic rock of Vilanova band Biscuit, the return of Brighton 64; the thrust of Very Pomelo with their latest album, Ràdio Clotxa (Chesapik, 2012); the revival of Love of Lesbian; the universal garage rock of Mujeres; and the heavy artillery of Sidonie. ■


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Very Pomelo

Manos de Topo

Mishima


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Faraday

poprock

29th and 30th July Vilanova i la Geltrú

The Nights We Have Lived The two days of the festival (Sunday had to be suspended due to the rain) had two clear winners, both Catalan: Love of Lesbian and La Casa Azul. The former based much of their repertoire on songs from their recently released album: La noche eterna - Los días no vividos (Music Bus / Warner, 2012). The other undisputed big name was that of Guille Milkyway fronting La Casa Azul, one of the musicians who is most able to assimilate his influences and passions into his songs. Friday night saw the appearance of the French duo Herman Dune showing their most electric rock-influenced side, while Bowerbirds offered pastoral folk with ethereal moods and harmonic voices. On Saturday, David Rodríguez at the helm of La Estrella de David came onstage accompanied by the best of Catalan underground: Jaume Pantaleón (former 12Twelve and Atleta), Joe Crepúsculo and Ana FernándezVillaverde (La Bien Querida). For her part, the Swedish pop diva Frida Hyvönen was a disappointment. Music from the Valencian Community had a particular impact on Saturday’s programme. First, Senior i el Cor Brutal offered the most powerful set of the festival. Next, the locals Fred i Son revived the legendary figure of the Valencian singer Juli Bustamante. Finally, Josh Rouse, American by birth but a long-time resident of Altea, offered up a pleasurable concert-massage for the senses. ■


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La Casa Azul

La Estrella de David

Herman Dune

Love of Lesbian


festivals

SÓNAR From 14th to 16th June Barcelona

Multimedia display The international scope of the Sónar festival was reflected in a poster bringing together the top acts in the world, such as the pop star Lana del Rey, who performed her great “Video Games”, “Born to Die” and “Blue Jeans”, among others; the British band New Order; and the DJ James Blake, for example. In addition to first-class names such as The Roots, Fatboy Slim and Richie Hawtin, the Sónar festival in Barcelona (which also holds performances in Cape Town, Tokyo and São Paulo) provided a space in which to showcase the work of both Spanish and Catalan artists such as John Talabot, The Suicide of Western Culture, Uner, Pegasvs, d.Forma, Esperit!, Stand Up Against Heart Crime, Lenticular Clouds and Sinjin Hawke Vs. Zora Jones. ■


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New Order

John Paul Jones

The Roots


festivals

Music Festival of Torroella de Montgrí 21st July to 23rd August Torroella de Montgrí

THE CLASSICAL DOOR TO THE MEDITERRANEAN This year saw the 32nd edition of the Torroella de Montgrí Music Festival, held between 21st July and 23rd August. The festival, which has been declared a strategic festival by the Catalan regional government, included a total of 15 high-quality concerts devoted to Catalan and international classical music. The pianist Josep Colom was the guest of honour in this year’s festival. Colom was the main attraction in the opening concert, and also shared a programme with the Zemlinsky Quartet. The festival also had a space devoted to commemorating the anniversaries of three 20th century Catalan composers: Eduard Toldrà, Frederic Mompou and Xavier Monsalvatge. In addition, the programme also included artists of high international level such as the Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and the violinist Viktoria Mullova, as well as young performers such as the Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva, the clarinetist Laura Ruiz and the mezzo-soprano Anna Alàs, who performed a generous baroque programme with the Musica Florea orchestra under the baton of Marek Stryncl. ■


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Anna AlĂ s + Musica Florea

Cor La Xantria

Anne Sofie von Otter


festivals

International Music Festival of Peralada Castle From 17th July to 22nd August Peralada

Unique Framework Following last year’s silver anniversary, in which artists such as Montserrat Caballé, Plácido Domingo and Joan Manuel Serrat performed in Peralada, this year, the festival consolidated itself as one of Catalonia’s most important summer festivals. The festival has continued its commitment to a variety of styles ranging from opera to dancing, swing and singer-songwriter music, among others. From its first editions, the Peralada Castle Festival has been characterised by its focus on opera, and this year it has reflected this with the tenors Jonas Kaufmann and Ramón Vargas, and the operas Il trovatore by Verdi, Don Giovanni by Mozart and Java Suite by Agustí Charles. As part of the Paral·lels section, the following were particularly noteworthy: the Debussy & Guinovart concert, in which the composer and pianist Albert Guinovart paid tribute to Claude Debussy; the Curiositats venecianes, in which the writer Donna Leon read out excerpts of her works with music by Antonio Vivaldi; and the Xavier Montsalvatge tribute concert. Sara Baras and Barcelona Ballet added the dancing, and the festival’s Musical Summer touch was brought by the Serrat & Sabina duet, Melody Gardot, Sondheim’s Follies, Harry Cornick Jr., the Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra with Omara Portuondo and Dionne Warwick. ■


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Don Giovanni

Jonas Kaufmann


upcoming festivals Girona 16 September - 4 October

12 FESTIVAL DE JAZZ DE GIRONA

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jazz

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poprock

Barcelona 21 - 23 September

BAM. BARCELONA ACCIÓ MUSICAL

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Girona / Salt 4 October - 9 December

TEMPORADA ALTA. FESTIVAL DE TARDOR DE CATALUNYA

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poprock

Barcelona 30 October - 30 November

44 VOLL-DAMM FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE JAZZ DE BARCELONA

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jazz


Manresa 8 - 11 November

15a FIRA MEDITERRÀNIA DE MANRESA

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world music

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Barcelona 19 November – 6 May 2013

BANC DE SABADELL 14 FESTIVAL MIL·LENI

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poprock

Barcelona 5 - 9 December

SAN MIGUEL PRIMAVERA CLUB 2012

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poprock


new relea Cuchillo — Encanto

Delên — Bonanova

Ester Formosa Quartet — Thank You Satan

Las Migas — Nosotras somos

Love of lesbian — La noche eterna / Los días no vividos

Maria Rodés — Sueño triangular

Samitier — Mirador

Sílvia Pérez Cruz — 11 de novembre

Sira Hernández — Nocturns


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Eva Novoa Trio — Fresch Sound New Talent

Fred i son — Un altre temps

Joan Guinjoan — Obra simfònica Vol. 2

Partido — Leaving All Behind

Pastora — Una altra galàxia

Prats — Pla B

Terratombats — Aires de primavera

The Mamzelles — Que se desnude otra

Very Pomelo — Ràdio Clotxa


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Cuchillo — Encanto (Limbo Starr) Psychedelic Pop

website listen video Encanto is the third album released by the trio from Barcelona Cuchillo, after a good response from the music critics to their previous works Cuchillo (Sinnamon, 2008) and the EP Duat (Limbo Starr, 2010). The band, composed of Israel Marco (guitar and vocals), Daniel Domínguez (drums and percussion) and Henrik Agren (guitar, keyboards and percussion), explores new lines in its self-named “hypnotic experimental folk-rock”. Filled with the spirit of Donovan and Robert Wyatt, the group performs tunes which float in a hypnotic air which at the same time makes the songs much more direct than those of their previous works. In Encanto, Cuchillo leaves English behind and opts for Spanish instead, with lyrics which are closer to transcendentality than to the study of customs, and definitively welcomes the multi-instrument-player Henrik Agren into their group. The album also has collaborations by Rhys Pyefinch on the tenor saxophone and the violinist Anna Fürstenberg. ■


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Delên — Bonanova (Música Global, 2012) Pop-folk

website listen video Delên present their second album. Bonanova is an album full of good news turned into songs: acoustic treatment dominates pieces like “Els ametllers”, with an elegant string section, the lively “Quan xerres amb els ulls” and “400 milles, 17 nusos, 24 hores”, a song where the voice of singer Len Mesquida takes us close to the style of the “cançó” with the folk feel of some albums by Maria del Mar Bonet. The electric moods, discreet but effective, bring depth and nuance to songs like “Dunes artificials”, a harsh indictment of environmental destruction on the island of Menorca. This is one of the hallmarks of Jaume Pla, Mazoni, who has produced a record with a strong homemade feel. An interesting folk and pop delicatessen with a touch of salt and sand. ■


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Ester Formosa Quartet — Thank you Satan (Quadrant Records) Jazz / Singer-songwriter

website listen video Thank You Satan is the last of a trilogy started by Ester Formosa’s band in 2007 in which, together with Maurici Villavecchia, Horacio Fumero and Matthew Simon, she has added music to the poetry of three great Catalan poets: Jordi Guardans [Ester Formosa canta Jordi Guardans. Sola com el poeta (K. Indústria, 2007)], Feliu Formosa [Formosa per Formosa. Ester canta Feliu (Barnasants / Satélite K, 2009)], and now Joan Casas. Thank You Satan has a second central character, Léo Ferré, one of the most important poets and composers of the 20th century, thirteen of whose songs have been adapted. The CD includes a live recording of the show performed at the concert season held in the Teatre Lliure de Barcelona theatre in October 2011. ■


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Eva Novoa Trio — Eva Novoa Trio

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(Fresh Sound New Talent) Jazz

website listen video Always in tune with new additions to the census of the demographics in Spanish jazz, producer Jordi Pujol has captured for his New Talent catalogue one of the more restless and evocative pianists and composers on the Catalan scene. Her name is Eva Novoa and her education took place in different schools around Europe and in particular at the Koninklijk Conservatorium, located in The Hague (Netherlands).


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The album which has just appeared offers a sound somewhere between an exploration of improvisation and the aesthetics of contemporary chamber music. She has created it together with two musicians who are accustomed to working without a net: double bassist Masa Kamagouchi and drummer Marc Lohr, with the result that Novoa presents herself as a young creator attached to avantgarde forms. â– 


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Fred i son — Un altre temps (Sones / Warner) Pop

website listen video Fred i Son have undergone an evolution that never ceases to surprise. The second album by the Barcelona band is bathed in exquisitely elegant pop, heir to the big names of the British scene of the 1980s such as the Scottish band Orange Juice and its singer Edwyn Collins. Groups like Prefab Sprout and Everything But The Girl are also present in the musical universe of Xavi Rosés, singer and composer of all the quartet’s songs. A flawless production by the group itself and Pere Serrano, the sound technician at Estudis GDM provides string and wind decoration for songs that have made a great leap in terms of the quality of performance. As the title suggests, the second album by Fred i Son carries a great musical and emotional past. ■


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Joan Guinjoan — Obra simfònica Vol. 2 Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra (OBC). Josep Pons, Edmon Colomer and Ernest Martínez Izquierdo, conductors. (Columna Música, 2011) Symphonic music

website listen video Columna Música expands its Guinjoan collection with a second volume of highly recommendable symphonic work. The CD breaks the ice with one of his first mature creations, “Ab Origine” (1974). Joan Guinjoan is a magnificent sonic explorer and brilliantly exploits the timbral possibilities of each instrument. “Ab Origine” discusses progress and the passage from the quietest sound to a deafening roar. Conductor Josep Pons surprises us with highly passionate work that is completely focused on the quality of the piece. The second work, “Trama” (1983) is closer to the romanticpopular sound of the symphonic poem. We are unsettled by the dark brass at the beginning, and admire the absolutely masterful handling of percussion sounds, inherited from jazz, and a great command of silence. It is no wonder that a great pianist like him ended up forging a creation like “Concert per a piano i orquestra” (1981), a virtuoso work, which seeks a set of motifs rather than sonic risk, with dollops of good humor, very well performed by Miguel Ituarte and Ernest Martínez Izquierdo. ■


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Las Migas — Nosotras somos (Chesapik) Flamenco singer-songwriters

website listen video What better to replace a charismatic voice than another voice full of character? This is one of the conclusions that can be drawn from this new work by Las Migas, where the flamenco singer Alba Carmona, one of the most innovative voices in Catalan flamenco, takes over from Sílvia Pérez Cruz. In addition, Lisa Bause’s violin has become stronger. A collection of cheerful but painful songs, sad songs to laugh with; they all transmit that special pain caused by remembering happy days when in solitude. If the “new flamenco” label has ever had any meaning, it is in cases such as this, where flamenco, happy and deep at the same time, meets the melancholy of European music styles. It is also popular music, music to sing to and cry to on the streets. ■


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Love of lesbian — La noche eterna / Los días no vividos (Music Bus / Warner) Pop

website listen video Excess seems to sit well with Love of Lesbian. In times of crisis, they have opted for a double album which is also a concept album. Now that so little time is devoted to every supposedly new release leaked to the internet, the group led by Santi Balmes is demanding that its audience sit through a long work. Getting deeper into this album is a rewarding task that shows us a well-known pop universe with the ingredients that have made Love of Lesbian great. ■


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Maria Rodés — Sueño triangular (BCore Disc) Original pop

website listen video Maria Rodés kicks off her second album with “Te vi”, which is striking for its floating mood. On “Lo que fuego fue” she transforms the paths of lost love into a creative rivalry and then walks steadily through border sounds towards a declaration of speculative principles, “Haz lo que te de la gana”. “Lejos de Pekín” is a pleasant diversion with a schoolyard feel, but it is perhaps the perfect counterpoint for presenting “Mirall”, a great song that deals with fear itself. A few drops of water introduce “Algo y nada a la vez”, in order to continue with the quiet mood of the strings, to learn something and yet nothing. “Hum!” is the other song in Catalan on the album, then she sails with “Transiciones”, waltzes on “Anabeluna”, gives a wink to El Guincho in “Qué fácil” and ends with “Mírate”. ■


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Partido — Leaving All Behind (Warner Music Spain) Pop-folk

website listen video Partido’s first album was fully recorded in Paco Loco’s studio (producer of Mishima and La Iaia), and includes songs with rich acoustic tones and a tendency towards melancholy, deriving inspiration from folk and alternative Country music but always in a manifestly pop language. Calm and melancholy songs performed with a great deal of perfectionism and ambition. The album achieves the expectations of a band which in just under a year has managed to become the opening act for prestigious international artists such as Mojave 3, The Dodos, Damien Jurado, Sea of Bees and Caitlin Rose. In autumn of 2011 they were chosen by the American artist Eef Barzelay to become his own private Clem Snide in a tour which took them to about a dozen Spanish cities to celebrate the anniversary of the album The Ghost of Fashion. ■


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Pastora — Una altra galàxia (Sony Music) Pop

website listen video That ‘other galaxy’ is not so far away where Pastora is always making listeners travel, making them dance or hum the tunes of Caïm Riba. The project by the Riba brothers and Dolo Beltran presents a dozen tracks in Catalan on an album which features brand new songs while at the same time presenting requests. Among the new songs, the title track is a positive statement of intent – ‘Mai deixaran de sorgir camins, nous mons’ – and the lyrics by Beltran are the usual inner monologues turned into songs, now more mature, such as on “Mals hàbits” and “Sentit de l’humor”. This is the second album in Catalan by Pastora, the first with the pure essence of the duo and the magical voice of Dolo Beltran. ■


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Prats — Pla B (BCore Disc) Pop

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Marc Prats (ex Madee) and his colleagues have put out an album of moody sophisticated pop, with depths and dramatic outbursts but without reaching epic heights. This is pop which due to its inner strength and its relentless rhythmic pulse uses ingredients from rock, although here there are hardly any distorted guitars and Marc Prats sings calmly, containing his emotions. Pla B is an elegant album that offers emotion without being dishevelled and plays


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with melancholy and evocations on songs which give priority to intimate lyrics, rich in allusions to personal moods and existential doubts. As occurs, for example, with Mishima and Inspira, differences aside, Prats builds a sound that conveys power and ambition, and also creates an intimate atmosphere of restlessness. This is a balance of forces that the group achieves with the involvement of Ricky Falkner. â– 


new releases

POPROCK

If the first album by Samitier – Missatges de l’aigua (Nòmada 57, 2010) – did not seem up to the level that we had seen in their live shows, now with Mirador they have come up with a winner, demonstrating that in the right conditions they are capable of forging a record which shows their power and vitality. Thus here they present some new songs which


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Samitier — Mirador (The Indian Runners) Pop-rock

website listen video invite us to wander along their sonic coast with a guitar-filled breeze pushing back our hair. This path leads us to the “Mirador” of the title, a space from which singer and lyricist Adrià González puts down in words everything he has seen. This new calling card shows that Samitier is one of the crown jewels on the new Catalan pop scene. ■


new releases

Sílvia Pérez Cruz — 11 de novembre (Universal) Singer-songwriter

website listen video Silvia Perez Cruz has everything in her favour in order to become the new queen of the Mediterranean “cançó”, the diva we needed and the salvation of the Catalan star system in the new millennium, but her solo debut, 11 de novembre (Universal, 2012), makes it clear that none of that really seems to interest her. While she is admirable as a singer, she is, although it might not seem that way, as much or more of a musician than an interpreter, and this disc is not that of an exuberant vocalist looking for scores that allow her to dazzle the listener, but rather that of a radical and daring creator in her own right. The songs end up being exciting despite attempts to make them more reserved, and this is the disconcerting expressive terrain that gives the album its identity. ■


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Sira Hernández — Nocturns

classical music

(La Mà de Guido) Piano solo

website listen video Sira Hernandez begins her chronological review of the history of the nocturne with John Field, the best-known forerunner in this musical form. The vision of the Catalan pianist fortunately covers a broad geographic and stylistic panorama. Just a glance at the thirteen composers included here is more than enough to testify to the eclecticism of Hernandez: Field, Chopin, Liszt, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Fauré, Debussy, Satie, Scriabin, Blancafort, Britten, Bonet and Balsach. The real risk of monotony in a repertoire like this is avoided through the musicality of a performer who, in the booklet, characterises each poem with a quote from the emblematic ‘Himnes a la nit’ by Novalis. ■


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folk world music

The most colouristic and exuberant side of Catalan rumba is the vein chosen by the band Terratombats. With a richness of tone where the trumpet and the saxophone shine above the ventilador style of guitarplaying, the cowbells and the piano with an Antillean flavour, their lyrics tell stories ranging from the history of Catalonia to Cuba, the birthplace of rumba, singing of how Barça is playing under Guardiola’s coaching, of environmentalism, or of the embers of the Sant Joan celebrations accompanied by Carles Belda, or by music which reminds us of havaneres


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Terratombats — Aires de primavera (self-released) Rumba

website listen video with “Oreneta gentil”. With this album, Terratombats has met the expectations it had created until now with its many concerts and its previous demo, Mitjons blancs (2011), of which they have taken elements such as the title song, one of the hits of their repertoire; a young but mature repertoire which makes good use of the principles and teachings of the great names of this genre, starting out with Gato Pérez and his own particular danceable melancholy, particularly noticeable in the thrilling “Mira’m a la cara”. A rumba which walks on and on and on... ■


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The Mamzelles — Que se desnude otra (DiscMedi) Pop

website listen video They are called The Mamzelles, jokingly emulating the girl groups of Motown. However, listening to the first record we perceive that their songs have more to do with Guillermina Motta than with the icons from the Detroit music factory. Que se desnude otra (Discmedi, 2012) is a collection of songs full of sarcasm and irony, with a hint of spite more necessary than ever in the world of polite pop. Their sound has matured. An essential role is played here by Miqui Puig, who fulfilled the dual role of producer and protector, and his studio, Bucbonera Records, where they have forged a discreet and elegant sound. Soul-inspired brass, acoustic sensitivity, vocal polyphony and jazzy tones give this album a fresh and iconoclastic feel. â– 


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Very Pomelo — Ràdio Clotxa (Chesapik) Folk-rock

website listen video A fusion album, but with a clear place of origin. “Clotxa” is a farmer’s dish from Ribera d’Ebre (round bread stuffed with herring, tomatoes, onions and garlic). The songs come from a thousand improvisations, the sentences are handed out to all the songs, while the landscape of the Terres de l’Ebre is also a leitmotif. Radical frontier music with its roots in rock, Mediterranean and Catalan music styles. ■


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CATALAN! MUSIC eMAGAZINE ENGLISH issue 4