Art Forms


Podcast July-August 2012
Podcast July-August 2012

CATALAN MUSIC JULY – AUGUST 2012

Hello and welcome to Catalan Music’s summer 2012 podcast, an intense double bill covering the months of July and August. As every month, we’ll be keeping you up to date with all the latest news and events on the Catalan music scene. 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 and Electronic, with a stress on international projection.

So let’s kick off with a selection of new albums featuring charismatic female vocalists. Pastora are a band from Barcelona fronted by Dolo Beltran together with Pauet and Caïm Riba, sons of the venerable cosmic singer-songwriter Pau Riba. Pastora, who specialise in electronic pop with Mediterranean ingredients, had a big hit a decade ago with the song ‘Lola’. Now they’re about to release their first album sung in Catalan, entitled ‘Una altra galàxia’ (Another Galaxy), a disc full of diaphanous melodies which offers a refreshing dialogue between electronic bases and acoustic guitars.

And to follow the poppy, summery sounds of Pastora, we have the more intimate universe of Maria Rodés, a young singer-songwriter who greatly impressed us with her two previous albums, her first as part of a duo called Oníric, and the second signed with her own name. Maria Rodés is back in the news with ‘Sueño triangular’ (Triangular Dream), an album featuring songs in Spanish with a deeper and more atmospheric sound than in her previous works. The naïve touch that characterized her earlier albums and was an important part of her musical charm, is now combined with more experimental and atmospheric compositions with dreamy neopsychedelic sounds.

And to complete this trio of female vocalists, we give you the emerging singer and pianist Esther Condal, who is making a name for herself following the release of her debut album entitled ‘Home’, a disc sung in English that reveals a sophisticated ‘singer-songwriter’. Condal draws from classic rock, folk, blues and jazz sources with seductive songs and a highly suggestive voice which would undoubtedly go down very well with fans of Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn, An album with depth and full of nuances, which makes it hard to believe this is her opera prima.

Festival season is in full swing in Europe, and Catalonia is also highly active at the moment with a number of events attracting international audiences. To follow the large-scale Primavera Sound and Sónar events, Barcelona will be hosting its third big summer festival, Cruïlla BCN, with an eclectic, multicultural programme featuring top international artists such as Iggy Pop and The Stooges, The Specials, M. I. A. and Cypress Hill, together with a wide representation of Catalan bands including La Pegatina, Quimi Portet, The Pepper Pots, Las Migas, Bigott, Mendetz and Za! The event will be held at Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum on the 6th and 7th July.

And beyond Barcelona, we have two smaller festivals, which we would strongly recommend for their uniqueness and artistic quality. On the one hand, Faraday, held in the coastal town of Vilanova i La Geltrú, just fifty minutes from Barcelona. Faraday is a festival dedicated to independent pop which, this year, will be billing international cult artists such as Herman Dune, Josh Rouse and The Montgolfier Brothers, and Catalan bands Love of Lesbian, La Casa Azul, Esperit! and Isaac Ulam, in addition to top Valencian acts Senior i el Cor Brutal and Juli Bustamante. Bustamante will be performing with the Barcelona band Fred i Son. Faraday will be held from the 28th June to the 1st of July.

Alternative pop fans may well indeed have a dilemma as, at the same time, on the 29th and 30th of June, the PopArb festival will be in full swing in the inland town of Arbúcies, an hour’s journey from Barcelona. The PopArb festival is ideal if you want to immerse yourself in the new Catalan pop scene. This year the festival will be offering concerts by top bands such as Love of Lesbian, Mishima and Sidonie, together with other prestigious acts such as Els Surfing Sirles, Manos de Topo, Maria Coma and Very Pomelo.

Nico Roig is one of the most restless and creative artists on the Amniòtic Records label, together with other artists such as Pau Vallvé, Inspira and Maria Coma. Following his sensitive experimental debut album ‘Tonada del genoma humà’ (The Tune of the Human Genome) released last year, Roig is now recording his second CD in Anvers, Belgium, and it’s there he’ll be giving one of his presentation concerts on September 27th.

So with Nico Roig, we’ve opened this summer’s concert agenda, packed with performances by Catalan artists specializing in a wide range of musical genres. In the coming weeks, our Northern neighbour, France, will be the most visited country as far as Catalan artists are concerned, with concerts by bands such as the soul specialists The Excitements, who’ll be performing on July 6th at the Cognac Blues Passions festival in the town of Cognac, and the Jamaican music and fusion band, Txarango, who`ll be playing at the Les Feux de l’Été festival in Saint Prouant on July 7th. Also in the field of cross-over and fusion music, we have the powerful Muyayo Rif, with seven concerts in France: on June 29th at the Soirs au Village festival in Saint-Calais, on the 30th at Les Kampagn’arts festival, in Saint-Paterne-Racan, on July 7th at the Beg Chopin festival in Tréguier; on July 20th at the Musicamas festival in Mont de Marsan; the 21st at the Temps de Fête in Douarnenez; the 11th August at the Omaha Festival in Vierville-sur-Mer and on August 25th at the Communist Party celebration in Mauleón-Licharre.

Muyayo Rif will also be travelling to Russia, where they’ll be performing on July 14th at the Festmir in Shushenskoe, and on the 15th in Moscow. Another fusion band, Zulú 9:30, will also be performing in France: on July 7th in Vieux-Boucau and on August 6th at the Porto Latino festival in Saint-Florent. And La Pegatina, the rousing, socially-committed band who blend Catalan rumba and Latin rhythms will be playing at the Fête de Pau festival on July 14th and at the Festival de Poupet in St. Malo du Bois on the 27th. La Pegatina will also be travelling to the Netherlands, where they’ll be performing at the Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen on August 12th. And the veteran, iconic singer-songwriter, Paco Ibáñez, has also once again chosen France to present his fiery songs rich in references to Spanish literature. He’ll be performing in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer on July 5th, at the Au Fil des Voix festival on August 7th, in Vaison La Romaine and at the Festival Musicalarue in Luxey on August 12th.

Italy is the destination chosen by the Piccola Orchestra Gagarin, a band who flirt with classical Russian avant-garde music and folk sounds in an experimental framework. On July 7th they’ll be at the Südtirol Jazz Festival in Bolzano and on the 8th in Bologne. The veteran folk band El Pont d’Arcalís will also be performing in Italy, where they’ll be giving a concert at the Ététrad festival in Fenís, in the Aosta Valley. Another interesting folk project is the duo formed by Pere Pau Jiménez and Jordi Molina with their Catalan tenor shawm and melodion, will be live onstage in Germany on July 26th at the Summerwinds festival, in Dülmen.

One of our most mould-breaking and experimental bands, Za!, will be giving two concerts in Germany in July: on the 20th in Frankfurt and on the 21st at the L’Abore festival in Mühlteich. And, to close this month’s concert agenda, we must go back to France, where we can enjoy three very different musical products. Drummer Marc Ayza, a restless jazz-based musician who works with hip-hop fusions, will be presenting his album entitled ‘Live at home’ on July 12th at the Hauts de Garonne festival in Floirac. The acclaimed Catalan flamenco singer Duquende, will be performing at the same festival on the following day, July 13th, and will also be playing in the town of Ollioules on July 28th. And Jordi Savall, the charismatic, internationally renowned viola da gamba virtuoso, will be also be performing at four different French venues: on June 27th at the Maguelone festival in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone; from July the 15th to the 19th at the Fontfroide Abbey festival in Narbonne; on August 6th at the Fontdouce Abbey in Saint-Bris-des-Bois, and on the 22nd at the Les Rencontres d’Aubrac literary festival in Saint-Chély-d’Aubrac.

And now for a very interesting project in which Josep Tero, a singer-songwriter with a career spanning the past three decades, has participated. Tero has collaborated on the new album by the Greek singer and composer Laurentis Maxairitsas, ‘The Angels Still Live in the Mediterranean’ [the original title is actually in Greek], an ambitious double CD in which Salvatore Adamo, Angelo Branduardi, Bernard Lavilliers, Christophe and other Mediterranean artists have also participated. As well as having collaborated with the project, Josep Tero will also be participating in its large-scale presentation, a macro-concert at Panatinaikos’s Studium in Athens on July 9th.

And we can’t leave without recommending a very interesting album that’s just been released: Cuchillo’s second album entitled ‘Encanto’ (Charm). Cuchillo are a trio from Barcelona who offer a high-quality product, sung in Spanish, an adventurous trekking experience with folk, avant-garde rock and psychedelic influences. This new album offers a collection of evocative well-worked songs bathed in atmospheric twilight.

From the intimacy of Cuchillo, we switch to a very different product created by the band Ix!, who specialize in powerful, melodic rock sounds with lyrics in Catalan, an emotionally ambitious and epic album that has earned the band comparisons to top international outfits such as Coldplay and Muse. Their new album entitled ‘Immersió’ (Immersion), provides us with a more luminous and expansive sound.

And last, but by no means least, we have Calima, a band born from the Diaspora of the ex-members of Ojos de Brujo. Juanlu, who was the bass guitarist of the famed Catalan fusion band, created Calima in 2007, and ‘Solo volar’ (Just To Fly) is the group’s third album; a disc featuring collaborations with La Shica and Dani Macaco which consolidates them as a very exciting outfit specialising in the language of new flamenco.

So, with the flamenco-rooted Mediterranean sounds of Calima, we close this special summer edition of Catalan Music’s monthly podcast. As always, we’ve aimed to give you an insight into what’s happening on the Catalan music scene, with a special focus on electronic pop, alternative singer-songwriters, rock and root music and inform you about the upcoming international commitments of some of the most exciting Catalan bands of the moment. We hope that the diversity of musical products “made in Catalonia” will find a slot in your summer agendas. But, of course, we’ll be back in September with all the news and events relating to the Catalan music world. Moltes gràcies i molt bon estiu!

TRACKLIST

Pastora "una altra galaxia"
http://www.pastora.org

Maria Rodés "Lejos de Pekín"
http://mariarodes.net

Esther Condal "Loneliness"
http://www.petitindie.com/esthercondal/

Iggy Pop "Louie louie"
La Casa Azul "Los chicos hoy saltarán a la pista"
http://elefant.com/grupos/la-casa-azul

Mishima "L'última ressaca"
http://www.myspace.com/intomishima

Nico Roig "La Iaia"
http://nicoroig.wordpress.com

The Excitements "Take the bitter with the sweet"
http://www.myspace.com/theexcitements

Muyayo Rif "I ens venen"
http://muyayorif.org

Zulu 9.30 "Sin prisa"
http://www.zulu930.com

Piccola Orchestra Gagarin "Camino a la nave"
http://www.myspace.com/piccolaorchestragagarin

Za! "Pachamadretierrawah"
http://www.myspace.com/putosza

Josep Tero "El mariner"
http://www.joseptero.com

Cuchillo "Hora bruja"
http://www.myspace.com/cuchillo

Ix! "La ciutat dels Àngels"
http://www.gatrecords.com

Calima "Súmamela bien"
http://www.calimacolores.es