Art Forms

Podcast June-July 2013
Podcast June-July 2013


Hello and welcome to a new edition of Catalan Music’s bimonthly podcast in which we’ll be covering all the international activities involving Catalan artists in the months of June and July. Catalan Music offers you all the latest news and events on a happening Catalan music scene, covering a wide range of musical genres produced in Catalonia, ranging from Pop, Jazz, Fusion and Folk to Electronic Music. Catalan Music is the brand name specially created by the ICEC (The Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) for Catalonia’s music industry.

With a vocation to reflect and promote Catalonia’s musical output, Catalan Music regularly presents compilation albums featuring the work of exciting new artists; a series of theme-based CDs with tracks selected by specialized journalists, categorized into four different musical genres, pop-rock, world music, jazz and Electronic. The latest release is the CD ‘Electronic Music From Catalonia’, an anthology featuring 17 tracks by leading creators from the current music scene, including artists with international projection such as John Talabot and The Suicide of Western Culture. The four latest Music From Catalonia compilations, each featuring a different musical style, will be presented in Barcelona on June 12th coinciding with the Sónar, the reference festival for Electronic and Advanced Music. But if you can’t make it to the Catalan capital that day, don’t worry! The compilations are distributed by the ICEC at different music fairs and you can also request your own free copy by just sending an e-mail to

Balago, a band from the town of La Garriga, situated just forty kilometres from Barcelona, have been performing together for the past ten years and are one of the bands featured on the ‘Electronic Music From Catalonia’ album. They’ve just released their fifth album, entitled ‘Darder’, on which they take another large step forward in their experimental approach, with solid and suggestive compositions that shift between ambient and microelectronic music showing German avant-garde and isolationist influences to express a cold and mathematic outlook which is not however exempt of emotion.

Supergroups became fashionable in the context of 1960s and 1970s rock music, and despite the obvious differences, this idea of involving a number of different musicians with things in common in a joint project is a formula that is still very much alive. The new Catalan music scene is a good example of this with the debut of three charismatic creators who have joined forces: Ramón Rodríguez, the mastermind of The New Raemon, Martí Sales, the lead-singer of Els Surfing Sirles and singer-songwriter Maria Rodés. Their debut album is surprisingly named ‘Convergència i Unió’ (Convergence and Union), which, in addition to its literal meaning referring to the force gained by bringing different talents together, is also the name of the political coalition that currently governs Catalonia. The band’s unorthodox folk-pop, which draws on quotes from the Bible and the works of great Catalan writers such as Pere Calders and Enric Casasses, aims to make its mark and invites us to reflect upon the state of our society.

Summer is drawing near and a number of Catalan artists are getting ready to discover new audiences around the world. We open our international concert agenda with performances in Germany by Daniel Puente Encina, a singer and guitarist from Chile, who was a former member of bands such as Polvorosa, Niños con Bombas and Pinochet Boys. Daniel Puente Encina will be presenting his album ‘Disparo’ (I shoot) with a powerful fusion of rock, Afro-American rhythms and Hispanic ingredients which he calls “Furious Latin Soul’. The concerts will be on June 2nd in Wolfsburg, the 12th in Ludwigsburg, the 13th in Bochum, and then later on in September, on the 6th in Ingolstadt, and the 14th in Süderburg.

In the months of June and July, the most internationally active Catalan artists will be our exponents of exciting fusion sounds, such as Che Sudaka, the Barcelona-based band made up of musicians from South America fusing Latin rhythms, reggae and ska with a punk attitude. Che Sudaka will be presenting their latest album, (Diez) ‘10’, with an intensive tour of Europe. They’ll be kicking off on June 8th in Lviv, in the Ukraine, and will then move on to Holland with a concert in Amsterdam on the 16th. Then, on the 22nd, they’ll be playing in Angra, Portugal, on the 6th July in Lommel, Belgium, the 13th in Trencin, Slovakia and then back to Belgium, in Boechout, on the 25th. On July 28th they’ll be performing in Burgas, Bulgaria, August 30th in Vroutek, in the Czech Republic, and on August 31st in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.

Another internationally active band is La Pegatina, with their infectious, festive sounds which attract a predominantly younger audience. The band’s latest album is called ‘Eureka’ and they’ll be presenting it at a number of venues in the coming months. On May 31st they’ll be performing at the Zomerfestival, in Delft, in Holland, and on June 1st they’ll be participating in the ‘Mega Spanish Party” at the Scala club in London, as part of the Rock sin subtítulos (Rock without subtitles) programme. Then they’ll be travelling to one of Europe’s leading festivals, the Pink Pop festival in Landgraaf, Holland, to perform on June 15th. On the 16th they’ll be playing at the Belasound Festival, in Berlin, Germany; on July 5th they’ll be performing in France, in Saint Prouant and on the 13th in Châteaubriant and, on the 21st they’ll be in Ghent, Belgium. La Pegatina will be back in France on August 3rd for a concert in Cheffois 3; on the 7th August at the Sziget macrofestival, in Budapest, and on the 17th at the Brussels Summer Festival, held in the Belgian capital.

We close our summer agenda with European concerts by two fusion bands. On June 21st, Zulú 9.30 will be taking their Latin fusion sounds to the French town Saint-Gaudens, where they’ll be presenting their new album ‘Para todos los públicos’ (For All Audiences). And showman José el Chatarra will be presenting, together with his trusty accomplice El Punky Gitano, his new album ‘Mira la que s’ha liao’ (an idiomatic Spanish expression denoting a messy situation), on July 6th at the Arte Flamenco Festival in Mont-de-Marsan

With the arrival of summer, Catalonia is preparing to present a number of festivals aimed at a wide variety of audiences. Following the Primavera Sound festival, a top event specialising in alternative rock, we have the Sónar, an important international appointment with Electronic Music and Multimedia Arts, which will be held in Barcelona, from the 13th to the 15th of June. In its 20th edition, the festival is presenting an ambitious bill of artists including the Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, Richie Hawtin, Bat For Lashes and Sébastien Tellier, and creators from Catalonia such as La Bien Querida, Bradien with Eduard Escoffet, Barcelona Laptop Orchestra and Ángel Molina.

Also not to be missed is the Cruïlla BCN, a festival with an increasingly attractive programme based on pop, rock and the fusion of cultures. On the 5th and 6th July, the festival will be presenting Rufus Wainwright, Suede, Billy Bragg, Goran Bregovic and Catalan musicians such as the post-hardcore rock band, Standstill, and the electronic duo The Suicide of Western Culture.

The PopArb festival, which is held annually in Arbúcies, at the foot of the Montseny mountain, just an hour’s drive from Barcelona, has become a powerful showcase for the Catalan pop scene. In this edition, which will be held on June the 28th and 29th, the festival will be presenting twenty or so performances by artists such as El Petit de Cal Eril, Joan Colomo, Delafé y Las Flores Azules, La Iaia, Pau Vallvé, Senior i el Cor Brutal and Za! And also the official debut of the new trio created by The New Raemon, Martí Sales and Maria Rodés.

Also specialising in Catalan pop production, we have the Aphònica de Banyoles festival, alias El Festival de la Veu (literally, the Voice Festival). This year’s edition will be presenting performances by Adrià Puntí, Joan Colomo, Manel, Esther Condal, La Troba Kung-Fú and the Barcelona-based American singer of French origin, Maïa Vidal.

Another musical attraction is the circuit of summer festivals held on Catalonia’s beautiful northern coast, the Costa Brava. The Cap Roig Festival will be presenting Catalan groups such as Manel, Antònia Font and Gossos alongside international stars such as Elton John and Mark Knopfler. Manel will also be performing at the Perelada Festival, which will also be presenting internationally acclaimed artists such as Jamie Cullum and Gloria Gaynor.

And we must also talk about the new albums by three women with unique voices, each from a different generation. To begin with, the most veteran and consolidated of the three, Maria del Mar Bonet, a Majorcan singer based in Barcelona and, undoubtedly, the most universal Catalan female vocalist. Maria del Mar Bonet has worked with internationally renowned artists such as Mikis Theodorakis, Alan Stivell, Jackson Browne and Milton Nascimento, to name but a few, and has forged a long and solid career based on the values and sounds of Mediterranean culture. Maria del Mar has released an album entitled ‘Fira encesa’, on which she presents her adaptations of texts by the Majorcan poet Bartomeu Rosselló-Pòrcel, who died prematurely of tuberculosis, at the age of just 24, in 1938, during the Spanish Civil War.

And from the great Maria del Mar Bonet to a voice that is still evolving; a troubadour with transparent vocals and a powerful artistic personality. Her name is Vicky de Clascà, but she works under the artistic alias of Bikimel. Four years ago she made her debut with ‘Stat jònic’, an album featuring modern folk-rock sounds with medieval ingredients. Now Bikimel’s back with an album entitled ‘Farrera’, the name of a village in the Pyrenees where she spent a few months searching for inspiration and writing her new songs. Fans of Joni Mitchell’s early period, watch this space!

Bikimel is a young singer-songwriter, but Núria Graham is even younger and is an up-and-coming talent to be reckoned with. At the age of just 16, this singer-songwriter of Irish and Basque origin, who lives in the city of Vic, has begun to rouse the interest of many music-lovers with her compositions that were originally broadcast on the Internet, but have now been immortalized on an album, a CD featuring seven songs entitled ‘First Tracks’. Núria Graham sings in English with a sensitive voice brimming with character and showing a wide range of rock, folk and blues influences.

With the highly promising vocals of Núria Graham, we conclude this edition of the Catalan Music podcast, in which we’ve featured new albums in the fields of Electronic Music, pop, rock, fusion and folk and have filled you in on the international activity involving Catalan artists in the months of June and July. At a time of year which is ideal for the enjoyment of live performances, we encourage you to discover our artists and festivals, offering a wide variety of musical styles and stimulating products. We hope you’ll join us again in a couple of months and that you’ll have a great summer! Molt bon estiu i fins la propera!


John Talabot - Destiny

Balago - L'explorador

Maria Rodés, Ramón Rodrigez i Martí Sales - Nusos

Che Sudaka - Love is strong

La Pegatina - Lléname de veneno

Zulú 9.30 - Todo vuelve

Pet Shop Boys - Winner

Rufus Wainwright - Out of the game

El Petit de cal Eril - Gribi bestial

La Troba Kung-fú - Flor de primavera

Manel - Desapareixíem lentament

Maria del Mar Bonet - Inici de campana

Bikimel - Llaurant la llera del riu vermell

Núria Graham - Dark Part