Catalan Music Hello and welcome to Catalan Music’s monthly podcast, which, with a particularly international focus, will be keeping you up to date with all the most important news and events on the Catalan music scene. Catalan Music is the brand name specially created by the ICIC (The Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries) for music produced in Catalonia, whether Pop, Jazz, Folk, World Music or Electronic.
Anna Roig (http://www.myspace.com/annaroigilombredetonchien), a young Catalan singer from the Penedès region, famous for its wines and cavas, has generated a great deal of interest with her pop sounds rooted in French singer-songwriting and the theatrical presentation of her concerts. Roig is backed by a band named L'Ombre de Ton Chien, an ironic reference to the lyrics of Jacques Brel’s magnificent 'Ne me quitte pas'. With a Catalan father and French mother, Anna Roig began her career performing versions of Brel and Serge Gainsbourg songs, but went on to expand her repertoire to include material of her own. After a first album that was acclaimed by the public and media, the band have now released a second disk entitled “Bigoti vermell” (Red moustache), with a colourful, eclectic pop sound in the form of waltzes, tangos and with jazzy influences, offering a collection of magic and romantic story-telling songs, in both Catalan and French.
The sounds of Anna Roig and L'Ombre de Ton Chien are part of a Catalan music scene in constant evolution, with numerous emerging artists attracting the attention of highly receptive audiences. The specialised media are unanimous in their opinion that Catalan music is experiencing its greatest period for decades, the most glorious since the golden age of the “nova cançó” in the 60s and 70s. In previous podcasts, we referred to bands who have created outstanding albums such as: Anímic (http://www.myspace.com/animicblog), with their visionary neo-psychedelic folk-pop; Very Pomelo, with their loud lo-fi Mediterranean blues-rock; and The New Raemon, with a dramatic, obscurantist Pop sound. Le Petit Raemon has released another excellent album this spring entitled “Brou” (Broth). Le Petit Raemon is the artistic name of Barcelona-born singer and guitarist Ramon Faura, who’s backed by the band Experimenta 3. On their new album, they strip their sound to the maximum and present us with a unique folk-rock garage sound complete with literary quotations, and an original instrumental format, with percussion and cello, giving the disk both a raw and distinguished touch.
One of the most internationally active bands performing in the Catalan language are Obrint Pas,(http://www.obrintpas.com/) a Valencian group offering a powerful fusion of ska and hardcore punk with ingredients of Mediterranean folk and socio-political protest messages. Obrint Pas have just released a new album in CD and book format, entitled “Coratge” (Courage) which they’re set to present worldwide. And so with the performances of Obrint Pas, we’ll begin June’s concert agenda. The band will be giving two concerts in Spain: in Madrid on June 10th and in Lugo, Galicia, on the 23rd. In July, they’ve also confirmed a performance at the Mighty Sounds Festival in the Czech capital, Prague, in addition to three concerts in Japan: in Tokyo on July 27th, in Gunma on the 28th and Niigata on the 29th.
Another internationally acclaimed band is Che Sudaka, (http://www.chesudaka.com/) which is made up of Catalan, Colombian and Argentinean musicians, offering a fusion of ska and Latin rhythms with a punk attitude. Che Sudaka are currently preparing their European tour. On June 4th they’ll be performing in Parigny-les-Vaux, France, on the 10th in Eichstätt, Germany, the 11th in Interlaken, Switzerland, and on June 12th in Mutzig, Germany. The band’s Central European commitments will continue in July with a further two concerts in Germany: in Cologne on July 12th and Koblenz on the 22nd, and another concert in Switzerland, in Appenzell, on the 23rd. They’ll also be performing in August with concerts in Bad Windsheim, Germany, on the 5th, Floreffe, Belgium, on the 6th, on August 7th in Hillion, France, and on the 20thin Italy, in Ariano Irpino. Che Sudaka have also confirmed a performance in the German city of Idar-Oberstein on September 2nd.
Still on the multicultural fusion front, Bongo Botrako(http://www.bongobotrako.com/), a Tarragona band blending ska, reggae, rumba and punk, have announced a series of concert dates in France this summer. They’ll be performing on June 2nd in Le Grau du Roi, in La Verrie on the 11th, in Gruissan on the 17th, in Pau on the 21st, on July 2nd in Ivry-sur-Seine, the 16th in Oloron, the 19th in Mont de Marsan and on July 21st in Le Havre. And Polvorosa, a band offering an eclectic pop sound with Latin influences, will be performing in Israel, a one-off concert in Tel Aviv on June 8th.
Camarón de la Isla is a legendary figure in the flamenco music world, an icon of the genre who died in 1992. “Camarón 30 años después” (Camarón 30 Years On) (http://www.tallerdemusics.com/camaron-la-leyenda-del-tiempo-30-anys-despres/) pays tribute to what was his most influential album, 'La leyenda del tiempo' (The Legend of Time), which was released in 1979 and marked the foundations for the renewal of flamenco music. The show, which features two outstanding Catalan flamenco artists, guitarist Chicuelo and singer Duquende, together with Andalusian dancer, Seville-born Rafaela Carrasco, is programmed in Holland this month with a one-off performance on 25 June, at the Amsterdam Roots Festival. Another Flamenco proposal is that of guitarist Juan Ramón Caro, who has performed worldwide with Miguel Poveda and Mayte Martín with a performance in Ceret in the south of France on the 24th June.
British venues are not easily accessible for artists from non-native English speaking countries, but, this month, two Catalan artists will be performing in England’s capital. Árbol, (http://www.myspace.com/arbolmmarin) the artistic identity of experimental electronic musician Miguel Marin, will be performing at The Place on June 11th. And a fortnight later, on June 26th, another London venue, Cargo, will be featuring Dorian, a happening band on the Catalan pop scene, with post-punk and electronic influences.
Dept., (http://www.dept.cat/control) a band with over ten years’ experience, offer an intense and emotional pop formula, and will be giving five performances on the continent. On June 8th they’ll be in Lisbon, and on the 12th and 13th in Marseille and Lyon respectively. They’ll be in Luxembourg on the 15th, and will also be performing in Greece at the Rockwave Festival, at Terra Vibe Park on July 3rd.
Za! (http://www.myspace.com/putosza) are a new reference band on Catalonia’s experimental rock scene and are fuelled by post-hardcore, New York vanguard music and African tribal rhythms in their much-acclaimed third album entitled 'Megaflow’. Za! are set to give two concerts in Central Europe: on June 4th in Chiasso, Switzerland and on July 2nd at the Fusion Festival in Lärz, Germany.
And on the jazz front, Emilio Solla, (http://www.emiliosolla.com/) a Barcelona-based Argentinean who has worked with creators such as Paquito d'Rivera, will be performing at one of the genre’s international Meccas, New York. Solla will be playing the Unison Arts Center on June 11th.
And we conclude this month’s agenda with Barcelona-born singer Dyango, with his melodic and romantic Latin repertoire rooted in the bolero genre. In June, Dyango will be culminating his extensive tour of South America with performances in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, on June 2nd and four further concerts in Argentina: on June 5th in San Juan, the 7th in Mendoza, the 10th in Rosario and on June 11th in Cordoba.
With the advent of summer, Catalonia’s Festival circuit is revving into action. Such is the case with the renowned International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, alias Sónar, (http://2011.sonar.es/?dist=1) which will be celebrating its 18th edition from the 16th to 18th June in Barcelona. The Sónar, a showcase for electronic and avant-garde products, has, over the years, grown to become a successful brand encompassing 24 parallel events worldwide, in cities such as London, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Chicago. This year, at its central headquarters in Barcelona, Sónar will be featuring top artists such as Aphex Twin, Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, The Human League, Underworld, Janelle Monáe, Yelle and James Holden, and consecrated Catalan artists such as Angel Molina, Barcelona Laptop Orchestra, Astrud + Col.lectiu Brossa, Facto y los Amigos del Norte and L’Eix.
Just a few kilometres to the south of Barcelona, the coastal town of Vilanova i la Geltrú will be hosting the Faraday Festival, (http://www.faraday.tv/) specialising in alternative pop. The event has become one of the Indie Scene’s top showcases. This year, the Faraday Festival will be celebrating its 8th edition with a line-up including renowned international figures such as Ron Sexsmith and The High Llamas, and a wide representation of Catalan artists including Standstill, Inspira, Nacho Umbert, The Surfing Sirles, Za! and Klaus & Kinski. It will be held from the 1st to the 3rd July at one common venue: La Platja del Far (The Lighthouse Beach), right in front of the Mediterranean Sea.
We have, in previous podcasts, referred to a band called The Pepper Pots, (http://www.thepepperpots.com/lover/home.php) who evoke 60s pop anthems by The Supremes and The Ronettes, but drawing from both soul and Jamaican musical roots. The Pepper Pots have just released their new album entitled 'Train to your lover' and are back in the news on account of a new, joint project with young American soulman Eli 'Paperboy' Reed. They recently appeared on stage together at Barcelona’s Apolo Theatre, and are currently working at The Pepper Pots’headquarters in Girona, the Black Pepper Studio, where they’re busy recording new material. Although the nature of the songs they’re working on is shrouded in secrecy, the project will undoubtedly give rise to a sensational reinvention of old-school soul. We’ll keep you informed as to how the collaboration develops.
And to close June’s podcast, here’s a band from the Pla d'Urgell, in the inland Province of Lleida, who offer dynamic electronic pop reminiscent of 1980s synth-pop. Hewel, (http://www.myspace.com/hewel) a band who made their debut in 2008 with an EP with the same name, have won prizes such as the Sona 9, which is awarded directly by the public, and have now released their first Long-Play entitled 'Desig’ (Desire). With Hewell’s electro-pop, we conclude this month’s Catalan Music podcast, which, as always, keeps you up to date with all the latest news relating to music produced in Catalonia, and the international activity of artists working in different genres. We hope you have a great start to the summer and that you’ll join us again next month. Moltes gràcies i fins la propera!
Tracklist Anna Roig "Bigoti vermell"
http://www.myspace.com/annaroigilombredetonchien Anna Roig "corre, salta, brinca i vola"