Art Forms

Podcast May 2012
Podcast May 2012


Hello and welcome to Catalan Music’s May 2012 podcast which, as every month, will be keeping you up to date with all the latest news and events on the Catalan music scene and presenting new albums and concerts by Catalan artists world-wide. Catalan Music is the brand name specially created by the ICEC (The Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) for a wide variety of musical genres produced in Catalonia, such as Pop, Jazz, Folk, World Music or Electronic, with a stress on international projection.

Currently in Catalonia there are a great deal of bands who are working on the frontier between pop and folk, with traditional and magic elements, but we’ve definitely not forgotten about rock. As proof of this, we have Maika Makovski, artist with character and an abundance of ideas, whose career is constantly on the rise. She was born in Mallorca, of a Macedonian father and an Andalusian mother and, after spells in New York, she’s established her musical headquarters in Barcelona. Maika is always surprising: after starring alongside Juan Echanove in a show directed by the acclaimed stage director Calixto Bieito, she is now busy presenting her new album on which she plays more piano than guitar, blending her rock ‘n' roll soul with a luminous and playful repertoire. The disc is entitled ‘Thank You For The Boots", with her songs, as usual, sung in English.

And now for a cobla group, a kind of Catalan big band, usually made up of eleven wind instrumentalists, producing refined but  earthy sounds. The cobla format is traditionally linked to the sardana, Catalonia’s national dance, and it has recently experienced a revival in the framework of very different musical genres such as pop, singer-songwriting and electronic music. One of the most restless cobla groups is the Cobla Sant Jordi, which was officially given the title of Barcelona City Cobla by Barcelona’s City Council. The band have recently collaborated with musicians specializing in different genres such as minimalistic pianist Pascal Comelade and flamenco guitarist Niño Josele, giving rise to surprising exercises in fusion. Now, the Cobla Sant Jordi are back in the limelight as a result of the album they’ve made with the charismatic singer-songwriter Roger Mas. The album is simply called ‘Roger Mas & the Cobla Sant Jordi Ciutat de Barcelona”, on which this deep-voiced singer revisits some of his greatest songs and provides an interesting new angle on European classics by authors such as  Barbara and Fabrizio de André.

Catalonia is a land of individual creators, each with their own particular musical universe, and, if Roger Mas is a good example of this, then so is Joan Colomo. A former member of the indie-rock band The Unfinished Sympathy, Joan Colomo has built a highly personal imaginary world with pop songs sung in both Catalan and Spanish, and a register which is at once innocent and perverse, with bursts of magic and occasional references to cabaret and the world of circus. He went solo in 2009, and just a year ago released an album entitled ‘Producto Interior Bruto, vol. 1’, (as in Gross National Product, Volume 1) and has now followed it up with a second CD with a new and surprising sample of freethinking pop.

Joan Colomo is one of the artists featured on the new volume of the series ‘Music From Catalonia’ dedicated to the pop-rock genre. The compilation has been published, as usual, by the Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises, which has also just released two further volumes specializing in world music and jazz respectively. This series of albums, whose contents are selected by specialized journalists, feature the most outstanding products of the season. The new ‘Music From Catalonia CD devoted to pop-rock features a wide range of new-generation bands from the Catalan scene, such as Anímic, Els Surfing Sirles and Very Pomelo. The ‘Music From Catalonia compilations are distributed at international music fairs.

So, let’s kick off this month's international agenda with one of the UK’s top music festivals, The Great Escape, specialising in alternative pop and new trends. The festival is held yearly in Brighton, and this year it will be playing host to eight outstanding new-generation Catalan bands, all of which are devoted to indie pop and rock ranging from psychedelia to garage: Mujeres, Me And The Bees, Seward, Amics del Bosc, Ninette And The Goldfish, Oso Leone, Furguson and The Suicide Of Western Culture. They will be performing at The Great Escape from May the 10th to the 12th.

The Suicide Of Western Culture, an experimental electronic duo with post-rock influences, will follow their Brighton experience with two more international concerts: on the 23rd of June in Cologne, Germany, and the following day, they’ll be at the Le Fest. in Tunis, a festival specializing in electronic music. Another experimental electronic musician, Árbol, the artistic alter ego of musician Miguel Marín, originally from Seville and settled in Barcelona, will be presenting his new album, ‘sp22cd', at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, on the 31st of May. And, also on the electronic front, Strange 2, masterminded by experimental musicians name David Jornet and Sergio Mesa, will be performing in Paris this month, on May 12th at the Bouche à Oreille festival.

Germany will be the destination of Anna Roig i L’Ombre de Ton Chien, a band who’ve made a name for themselves in Catalonia with their down-to-earth and romantic songs influenced by the French chanson. Anna Roig and her accomplices will be performing on May 2nd in Saarbrücken, on the 3rd in Bochum; the 4th in Cologne, the 5th in Frankfurt-am-Main; the 7th in Tübingen and on the 8th in Berlin.

Meanwhile, Za!, an extreme free-rock duo, will be crossing the Atlantic to perform at the Sónar Sao Paulo, the Brazilian version of the prestigious electronic music festival created in Barcelona in 1994. Za! will be representing Catalonia in a two-day programme (May 11th and 12th) featuring performances by international figures such as Björk, Mogwai, James Blake and Ryuichi Sakamoto together with Alva Noto. Sonar Sao Paolo was first held in 2004 and, after a few years of silence, is back with its second edition, at a time when the Sónar trademark is in full expansion, as we can appreciate with the recent launch of Sónar Cape Town, South Africa, back in March.

On this month’s agenda, we also have a significant presence of Catalan fusion groups, such as La Kinky Beat, who’ll be giving three concerts in Germany; on May 2nd in Kiel, on the 3rd in Hamburg, the 4th in Aachen, and another in the Netherlands, on the 5th of May in Den Bosch. Another band specializing in fusion music, Muyayo Rif, will be travelling to France with performances in Landes on the 25th and 27th May and June 2nd, and in Saint-Laurent-de-Neste on June 1st. And Black Ghandi will be culminating the tour of the United States they began back in April, with concerts on the 2nd and 4th of May in New York, and on the 5th in New Jersey.

And in the field of classical music, we have a performance by the world-renowned viola da gamba virtuoso Jordi Savall, on May 23rd in Poitiers, France. And Savall’s brilliant renderings of Early Music lead us to Munich, a city that will be hosting the first edition of Classical: Next, a Classical Music fair which will be attended by the ‘440 Clàssica’ music magazine and Music Publishers Boileau.

We close this month’s agenda with a festival that’s not to be missed: Barcelona’s Primavera Sound alternative rock festival, whose main programme will be held from May 31st to June 2nd. Primavera Sound, which takes place yearly at Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum by the Mediterranean Sea, will be featuring international figures as Björk, The Cure, Wilco and Marianne Faithfull, as well as various exponents of the Catalan scene such as Joe Crepúsculo, Mujeres, Senior i el Cor Brutal and Bigott. Primavera Sound will be presenting its first edition outside Barcelona just a few weeks from now, from the 7th to the 10th of June in the city of Porto, Portugal.

The fusion of pop and Electronic Music is the expressive territory chosen by Minimal 21, a trio from Barcelona fronted by female vocalist, Núria Tamayo, who made her debut two years ago and has now released her second album ‘El fil d’Ariadna’ (Ariadna’s Thread). Minimal 21 offer uninhibited electronic pop sounds full of emotion and graceful melodies, in which the keyboards and their programmes blend harmoniously with the guitars.

To conclude this month’s podcast we have two bands specializing in fusion music, a blending of exciting genres that attracts large audiences both in Catalonia and abroad. Che Sudaka, a band made up of Argentinean and Colombian musicians based in Barcelona, fuse Latin genres such as cumbia and son, with socially committed lyrics dealing with immigration, unemployment, globalization and universal fraternity. Che Sudaka are one of the most active Catalan bands on the international scene and, to demonstrate this, we have the 40 concerts they gave in 10 different countries in just the first three months of 2012 Che Sudaka are currently celebrating their 10th anniversary with a new album, entitled ‘10' (Diez/Ten), with an explosive cocktail of infectious rhythms.

Che Sudaka could be described as the “old school” champions of the Catalan fusion scene, but there is also a new generation of bands who are fuelling the language of fusion and fiesta with their social protest messages à la carte. Recently, La Pegatina, have begun to draw large audiences to their concerts, and now there’s another band heading in the same direction: Txarango. Txarango is a young band made up of musicians around the age of 20, who’ve attracted a large following with their debut album, ‘Benvinguts al llarg viatge’ (Welcome to the Long Journey). The band fuse reggae and Latin genres with pop ingredients and a positive, playful approach. Just a few days back, they attracted a full house at Barcelona’s Apolo Theatre, and we can guarantee they have a great future ahead of them.

Txarango, the latest revelation on the Catalan music scene, have the honour of closing May’s Catalan Music podcast. For the past half hour or so, we’ve tried to fill you in on all the latest news relating to music produced in Catalonia, and the international activity of artists specialising in different genres, such as rock, cobla music, arthouse pop, electronic and fusion music. We’ll be back next month and hope you’ll join us again. Moltes gràcies i fins la propera!


Maika Makovski "Language"

Roger Mas "L'home i l'elefant"

Joan Colomo "El xiprer"

Very Pomelo "He quedat a les set"

Mujeres "Ride a river"

Anna Roig "Bigoti vermell"

Za "Megaflow"

La Kinky Beat "Love on line"

Jordi Savall "Sinfonia adelante"

Senior i el cor brutal "Tots els ianquis que vull"

Minimal 21 "Ariadna"

Che Sudaka "Inmigrant soul"

Txarango "Benvinguts"