Art Forms

Podcast December-January 2014
Podcast December-January 2014

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 December 2013 and January 2014. 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 and Fusion 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.

We open the podcast with one of the most productive and unpredictable artists on the Catalan Scene, Guillamino, the artistic alias of Pau Guillamet, a creator open to Electronic Music, hip-hop and all forms of black music and fusion sounds. On his new album, ‘Un altre jo’ (Another Me) with songs in Catalan, he’s established a new musical vehicle, Guillamino & The Control Zs, with which he exploits his funkiest side with a repertoire of organic and danceable tracks offering exciting brass arrangements and consistent grooves and an impressive demonstration of his expressive soul vocals.

And we continue with a no less impressive selection of Catalan-style Afro-American sounds by courtesy of bands, like the indispensable and internationally active The Pepper Pots, whose inspiration comes from the world of soul. After recording an album with Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, The Pepper Pots are back with a collection of new combative songs, sung, as always, in English, entitled ‘We Must Fight’, with the complicity of Binky Griptite, from The Dap Kings, an experienced producer who has worked with artists of the calibre of Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones. The result, rooted in classic Tamla Motown, is a forward-looking sound with rich deep soul ingredients. There are also new developments on the band’s vocal line-up, with the trio transformed into a duo made up of Adriana Prunell and a powerful new acquisition who goes by the name of Aya Sima.

And to complete this Catalan funk and soul section, we have one of our music scene’s most internationally travelled bands, The Excitements. In the past few years, the band have been busy touring Europe, but have now deservedly become popular in their own homeland with large-scale concerts like their performance back in September in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya, as part of the city’s Annual Mercè Festivities. The Excitements, a band fronted by the explosive, irreverent Koko-Jean Taylor, a singer of Mozambican origin, who was brought up in the United States, together with experienced musicians such as Lalo López, from Fundación Tony Manero, have released a new album entitled ‘Sometimes Too Much Ain’t Enough’. Fans of Stax Records soul, James Brown and Ike & Tina Turner, please watch out for this highly recommendable band, who will be giving three European concerts towards the end of November: in England, in Brighton on the 26th and London on the 27th, and, in France, in Calais, on November 29th.

So, with The Excitements, we begin this month’s concert agenda which takes us to a number of Central European venues in the company of one of our most internationally renowned fusion bands, Che Sudaka, an outfit based in Barcelona and made up of Latin American musicians. The band specialize in socially and politically committed songs under the ‘punk reggae party’ trademark. Che Sudaka will be on a non-stop European tour (their ‘1111 Live Tour’), including 21 performances in Germany: on January 16th in Frankfurt, the 17th in Cologne, the 20th in Reutlingen, the 21st in Stuttgart; the 22nd in Ravensburg; the 23rd in Karlsruhe; the 24th in Mannheim; the 25th in Freiburg; the 28th in Marburg; the 29th in Nuremberg; the 30th in Regensburg; the 31st in Munich; the 1st of February in Kassel; the 4th in Bochum; the 5th in Bremen; the 6th in Lübeck; the 7th in Kiel; the 8th in Hamburg; the 14th in Berlin; the 15th in Dresden and the 18th in Konstanz. Che Sudaka will also be performing in Holland on the 18th January and in Switzerland: in Basil on January 26th and Zurich on February 19th; and in the Czech Republic, in Prague, on February 16th. And they’ll be closing the tour with three concert dates in Austria: on February 20th in Innsbruck; the 21st in Steyr and the 22nd in Dornbirn.

Still on the fusion front, watch out for two concerts in Latin America by Amparo Sánchez, ex-lead singer of the band Amparanoia, who has worked with members of the group Calexico on her new album, ‘Alma de cantaora’ (Flamenco Singer Soul). Amparo Sánchez will be offering her passionate Latin border sounds in Concepción, Chile, on the 1st December and in the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, on the 7th.
Daniel Cros is another artist who’ll be crossing the Atlantic next month to present his new album, ‘Aquello era entonces, esto es ahora’ (That Was Then, This Is Now) in Mexico. The concerts will be on the 27th November in Jalisco, the 5th December in the country`s Federal District capital, the 6th in Puebla and the 7th in Metepec.

Za!, one of Catalonia’s most ground-breaking and experimental bands, provide large doses of inventiveness with their tribal rhythms, cosmic sounds and references to free jazz, post-rock, Electronic Music and Afro-Latin genres. They have released a new album entitled ‘Wanananai’, which they’ll be presenting in Germany and Belgium on a 5-concert tour: on November 28th in Dresden, December 2nd in Hamburg, the 5th in Dresden, the 7th in Wiesbaden, and the 11th in Brussels.

One of the most charismatic figures on the Catalan jazz scene, the double bassist Giulia Valle, will be back in the United States. The performances will take place on the 6th and 7th December at the Jazz Center in San Francisco, and on the 14th in New York, at the Blue Note Jazz Club. She will be performing with her band, a luxury collection of musicians with Gorka Benítez on the tenor sax, Martí Serra on tenor and soprano sax, Marco Mezquida on piano and keyboards and David Xirgu, on the drums.

And we close this month’s concert agenda with the concerts the Orquestra de Cambra de l’Empordà chamber orchestra will be giving in France. The orchestra, with 21 years of experience offering both classical and contemporary repertoires, has created an innovative and ironic show called ‘Concert desconcertant’ ( “The Disconcerting Concert”), in a dynamic framework peppered with humour. The Orchestra will be performing on January 5th in Pamiers, the 24th in Fayence and the 25th in Vidauban.

The ever-evolving Catalan music scene is excellently documented in a series of compilation albums grouped under the title ‘Music from Catalonia’. The albums are published periodically by Catalan Music and can be found at international music fairs and festivals or, alternatively, you can simply send an e-mail to for your own free copy. In 2013, Catalan Music has released 4 such compilation albums devoted to pop-rock, Electronic Music, world music and jazz respectively. So let’s look back at some of the tracks featured on the compilations. The Catalan Music album dedicated to pop, for example, is opened by Sílvia Pérez Cruz, with a song from her much acclaimed CD entitled “11 de novembre” (The 11th November), an evocative collection of Mediterranean songs, which has just been distinguished with a Gold Disc award in Spain.

The volume of ‘Music from Catalonia’ devoted to Electronic Music includes one of our most international stars in the genre, John Talabot, who has been active world-wide giving concerts, DJing and also supporting The XX’s American tour. John Talabot is preparing a new album and, at the same time, opening new markets with his latest CD ‘Fin’ (End).

And on the World Music front, ‘Music from Catalonia’ featured a young fusion band with a highly festive spirit, called Txarango. The band have taken the Catalan circuit by storm with their new album ‘Benvinguts al llarg viatge’ (Welcome to the Long Journey) and in 2013 have performed in countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Germany Belgium and Holland.

The fourth ‘Music from Catalonia’ CD, dedicated to jazz, features a composition by drummer and composer Lluís Vidal and his sextet. The track in question, a delicious blend of modern jazz and contemporary music, is from his album entitled ‘Deptford Suite’, the name of which was inspired by Canadian writer Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy).

At Catalan Music we’re set to bring in the New Year with a great deal of exciting new products and we’ll also be active at a number of international music fairs. The not-to-be-missed winter fairs are the Eurosonic in Groningen, Holland and the Midem in Cannes. Eurosonic will be held from the 15th to the 18th January, and Catalan Music will be there with performances by four highly recommendable Catalan artists: the Electronic specialists Headbirds and Pional, the experimental rock band, Seward, and the fusion group Bongo Botrako. Two weeks later, from the 1st to the 4th of February, at the Midem in Cannes, Catalan Music will be on site with a stand which will also be accommodating a number of Catalan music agencies.

Catalan Music will also be present at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, where there’ll be three Catalan bands performing live: the ethereal and experimental pop of Desert, the inherited  psychedelic rock of Lost Tapes and the exciting soul of The Pepper Pots. And Catalan Music will also be active at the Babel Med Music fair, in Marseilles, France, from the 20th to the 22nd of March.

Before we say goodbye, we’d also like to tell you about three exciting new albums which will help us to see out 2013 in the best possible way. If you’ve never heard of Sara Pi, please take note and watch this space! Sara Pi is a 27-year old singer from Barcelona, who began her career in Brazil. Her second album, ‘Wake up’, with songs in English, has had a great impact in Catalonia. Soul-inspired sounds with subtle and sophisticated tropical ingredients and sensual vocals that make this singer absolutely indispensable.  

Calima, the band created by Juanlu Leprevost, the ex-bass guitarist of Ojos de Brujo, have become a necessary point of reference in the evolution of flamenco music. A vehicle in constant movement, they have now released their fourth album in just six years ‘Lumbre…  Canciones de carromato’ (Fire… Gipsy Caravan Songs), with collaborations by musicians such as Lisa Bause, from Las Migas, and Alberto Pérez, the trumpet-player from Muchachito Bombo Infierno. Calima offer us a blend of unorthodox new flamenco and Mediterranean sounds, with Latin, Balkan and jazz influences with a nomadic gipsy flavour.

To conclude this edition of the Catalan Music podcast, we have the deliciously intimate sounds of one of our most charismatic guitarists, Toti Soler, a veritable virtuoso of the instrument whose career spans over four decades in which he has collaborated with the likes of the late great Valencian singer-songwriter, Ovidi Montllor, and international figures such as Léo Ferré, Taj Mahal and Pascal Comelade. Toti Soler invites us to share in his sensual and humanistic world, accompanied by vocalist, Gemma Humet, on a highly refined new album entitled ‘El teu nom’ (Your Name).

The warm and precise guitar sounds of Toti Soler gently guide us towards 2014 and a new year which will, we trust, provide us with a host of new musical gems. The Catalan Music podcast will be back again in a couple of months with a wide selection of musical products and events. We hope you have a great Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous and musical New Year! Moltes gràcies i fins la propera!


Guillamino - És fosc

The Pepper Pots - We must fight

The Excitements - Keep it to yourself

Che Sudaka - Que viva la gente

Amparo Sánchez - La cuenta atrás

Daniel Cros – Palante

Za! - Gacela verde

Giulia Valle - Love song

Orquestra de cambra de l'Empordà - Concerto in G for guitar and orchestra

Silvia Pérez Cruz - Lietzenburgerstrassen 1976

John Talabot - El oeste

Txarango - Quan tot s'enlaira

Lluis Vidal - Yo no fui

Pional - Invisible

Desert - Camins

Sara Pi - Burning

Calima – Destino

Toti Soler - Vespre