Art Forms

Podcast October-November 2013
Podcast October-November 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 October and November. 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 World and Electronic Music. Catalan Music is the brand name specially created by the ICEC (The Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) for Catalonia’s music industry.

After a summer packed with performances by our artists at numerous international venues, autumn presents us with a number of new albums that set the temperature of the new season and provide us with an excellent insight into the musical trends that will mark the next few months. As is the case with two new albums that show us that things are really happening on the Catalan pop scene. The bands we’re referring to have left their acoustic and folk-based sounds behind to adopt harder, darker and more electric stances and they both presented their products in the city of Vic, at the recent edition of the Mercat de Música Viva.

Such is the case with Anímic, a well-known psychedelic folk-pop outfit who, with their new album, 'Hannibal', have evolved towards a much denser and more Gothic approach to their music. Their lyrics, as always in Catalan and English, reflect an existential anguish related to the social hardships arising from the economic crisis.

And, secondly, Refree, the artistic alias of Raul Fernandez, who has made a marked change in direction with his new album ‘Nova creu alta“ (New High Cross). This subtle singer-songwriter, who is forever open to experimentation, has now stepped up a gear with electric instruments and a product that is reminiscent of psychedelia and hard rock and his former days with hardcore rock bands such as Corn Flakes. Raul Fernandez, an important musician on the Catalan music scene, is also in the news as he’s produced the latest albums by the legendary band Els Pets and Madrid-based pop singer-songwriter of Danish origin Christina Rosenvinge, in addition to a new acoustic disc by Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, which he recorded back in May, in Barcelona.

And talking of Els Pets, ”L’àrea petita” (The Small Area) is the name of their new album. Another exciting new product the season has to offer. Els Pets are one of Catalonia’s best-selling pop groups and have consolidated their prestige with a series of albums produced by America’s Brad Jones, an accomplice of pop artists such as Matthew Sweet, Cotton Mather and Marshall Crenshaw. Their new album, however, has been produced by the aforementioned Raúl “Refree” Fernández, who chose to focus on the more upbeat and rock-based version of the band.

In the new autumn term, or “la rentrée” as it’s popularly known (curiously with a French word) in Catalonia, we have a not-to-be-missed appointment with the international world music festival Womex, which this year will be taking place in Cardiff, Wales, from the 23rd to the 27th of October. As every year, Catalan Music will be there with a stand that will also be hosting a broad representation of our music agencies such as Batall Produccions, Èxits Management & Produccions, La Sonora Libre, Mercat de Música Viva de Vic, Rosazul and Taller de Músics. Other Catalan companies such as Fira Mediterrània de Manresa, Sonde3 Producciones, Albert Reguant and Central Art Process.will also be attending. The official Womex 2014 programme will be featuring live Catalan music with Flamenco Eléctrico, an unorthodox flamenco band featuring the vocals of Salao and the electric guitar of Jaco Abel, in a production by the prestigious Taller de Músics.

With Womex, we begin October and November’s international concert agenda. One of our most traveled bands are The Excitements with their classic and infectious soul sounds. The Excitements include powerful guitarist Lalo Lopez, from Fundación Tony Manero, and the explosive vocalist Koko-Jean Taylor, who was born in Mozambique, lived in the United States and then settled in Barcelona. The band will be giving two concerts in Belgium in November, on the 8th in Leuven and on the 9th in Bruges.

Rik Van Den Bosch, a Dutch folk-pop singer-songwriter who also chose to settle in Barcelona, has brought out a new album, 'Rik Van Den Bosch and the Dandies', recorded together with his band of Catalan musicians, which he’ll be presenting in France: on November 22nd in the town of Romorantin, in the Centre region.

Exxasens are a band who experiment in post-rock in the strongest sense of the term, with powerful guitar textures and invasive rhythms. A product that will also undoubtedly go down well with Mogwai fans. Exxasens are also highly active on the international front. After successful performances in Russia and the Ukraine earlier this year, they’ll be presenting their third album, 'Eleven Miles' in three European cities: Bordeaux, France, on 25 October; Luxembourg on the 27th and Jena, Germany, on the 31st.

Daniel Cros, a singer-songwriter who features different rhythms such as rumba catalana and Cuban genres, has just released his seventh album, 'Aquello era entonces, esto es ahora’ (That Was Then, This Is Now), which he’ll be presenting on November 2nd in Serres, France, and then he’ll be crossing the Atlantic to perform in Bogotá, Colombia, on November 15th. And from Bogotá he’ll be travelling to Mexico, where he’ll be giving four concerts: in Mexico City on the 23rd and 27th of November and the 5th of December, and in Metelpec on December 7th.

This autumn, Paco Ibáñez, the great Totem of singer-songwriting and a symbol of political vindication during Franco’s dictatorship, will be back in France, where he spent long periods of his life, and where he’s always given a very warm welcome. He will be giving six concerts there: on the 26th of September in Bourg-lès-Valence, the 1st of October in Biarritz, the 4th in Bagnols-sur-Cèze, the 12th in Rivesaltes, the 25th in Schiltigheim, and on the 9th of November in Perpignan.

In the field of fusion and the combination of multicultural rhythms, we must talk about two hyperactive groups who are veritable globetrotters: La Pegatina and Che Sudaka. La Pegatina are in the limelight with their fourth album entitled 'Eureka!', and will be performing in France, on November 9th in Biriatou, in the Atlantic Pyrénées. And Che Sudaka will be performing in South Korea on October the 5th at the Ulsan World Music Festival. Then they’ll be travelling to France for a concert October 18th at the Fiesta des Suds festival in Marseille. The band have released their first live album, '1111 Lives’, recorded at the A38 venue in Budapest and have also recorded a song dedicated to the Welsh rock band Bullet For My Valentine entitled 'Balas para mi Valentine' as part of a campaign for Jägermeister.

For jazz-lovers, we have Perico Sambeat, the renowned saxophonist who has worked with international stars such as Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau, and the late-great Catalan pianist Tete Montoliu. Perico Sambeat will be performing in Macau, China, on October the 12th in a unique concert accompanied by the Iberian Jazz All Stars, a group including musicians from the former Portuguese colony. A few days later, on October the 16th and 19th, Perico will be giving two more concerts in Belgium, in Brussels and Vilvoorde, as guest artist of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, with the 'Flamenco Big Band' repertoire. From the 25th to the 28th of October, he’ll also be giving two concerts in Cork, Ireland, with a band featuring Irish drummer Stephen Keogh and American singer Rene Marie. He’ll then be travelling to Portugal: for performances on the 30th and 31st of October in Lisbon; the 1st of November in Estarreja and on the 2nd in Porto. Finally, on the 8th and 9th of November, the Perico Sambeat Quartet will be performing in London, at the Pizza Express jazz club.

We close our October-November concert agenda with two classical music options. The Orquestra de Cambra de l'Empordà chamber orchestra will be giving four concerts in France with a highly original programme entitled “The Disconcerting Concert” with a combined classical and contemporary repertoire peppered with humor. The first performance is on November 9th in Nice, and then, in 2014, in Pamiers on January the 5th, Fayence on January the 24th and the 25th in Vidauban. And composer and engineer Ramon Humet will be presenting his new opera 'Sky Disc, in Halle, Germany, with five performances: on the 2nd, the 6th, the 18th  and 23rd of October, and the 9th of November. ‘Sky Disc' is an opera-oratorio for seven solo vocalists, mixed choir and orchestra, with a libretto written by British artist Rebecca Simpson.

From the international agenda to the Catalan agenda with a couple of highly recommendable events. Firstly, the Live Sessions Day festival, which will take place in Lleida, less than two hours away from Barcelona, from October 30th to November 3rd. Live Sessions Day is a showcase of emerging Catalan and international talents, and this year it will also be presenting a section for professionals called Pro Sessions in collaboration with Catalan Government’s  Department of Culture to be held on the 30th and 31st  of October, The sessions will include conferences relating to the discovery of new talents, the relationship with the national and international media, the public funding of music and the accessibility of music festivals. Lleida Sessions Pro is a unique framework for meeting and networking with international festival programmers. For more information please don’t hesitate to visit the festival’s website

And another not-to-be-missed Catalan event will be taking place in Manresa, the capital of the Bages region, just 50 minutes from Barcelona. The annual Fira Mediterrània is a meeting point for artists and professionals working in the fields of traditional and world music. The Fira Mediterrània, which will be held from the 7th to the 10th of November, and will be offering over 200 performances, has the internationally renowned Jordi Savall as its formal guest artist. The Mediterranean Fair will offer a selection of top international and Catalan folk and traditional artists such as Kiko Veneno, la Cobla Sant Jordi, Kepa Junkera, Moussu T e Lei Jovents, Muchachito and Xarnege. The fair will also be offering a special new programme of speed meetings and showcases for professionals.

At last year’s Fira Mediterrània guitarist Niño Josele and the Catalan band Cobla Sant Jordi recorded an album entitled 'Live at the Kursaal Theatre' that has just been released. A bold experiment combining virtuoso flamenco with the sounds of a cobla band, Catalonia’s traditional equivalent of a big band. The album includes compositions by Niño Josele, traditional Catalan songs and adaptations of compositions by Bill Evans and Francis Hime.

In the final straight of our podcast, we have a comeback album by the band 08001, one of the pioneers of Catalonia’s fusion scene, the so-called 'Barcelona sound’ that was developed at the beginning of the last decade. 08001, a multicultural group which emerged in the Raval district, in the historic centre of Barcelona, are back, six years after their last album, with a new product entitled  'No pain no gain', with sensitive and powerful pop, afro-american rhythms and electronic sounds.

With the open-to-the-world music of 08001, we close this October-November Catalan Music podcast, in which we’ve reviewed all that’s new in a number of different genres and have informed you as to the current news and events in the Catalan music industry with a special emphasis on international projection. The Catalan Music podcast will be back again in a couple of months so please stay tuned and watch this space! Moltes gràcies I fins la propera!


Anímic "The others"

Refree "Els nostres pares"

Els Pets "Bombolles"

Jaco Abel " Agua de mi aljibe"

The Excitements " Fat back"

Rik Van den Bosch "Karma man"

Exxasens "Helios"

Daniel Cros "Dejar la piel"

La Pegatina "Mamma mia"

Perico Sambeat "No te aguanto más"

Simfònica de cobla i corda de Catalunya "Al capdavall del pont vell"

John Talabot "Matilda's dream"

Kiko Veneno "La vida es dulce"

Niño Josele i la cobla Sant Jordi "Cabo de gata"

08001 "No pain no gain"