Art Forms

Podcast February-March 2014
Podcast February-March 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 February and March. 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.

We open with a much-awaited album by Mazoni, a band who offer powerful pop with melodic accents and large doses of rock. Mazoni have made quite a change with this new CD entitled, “Sacrifiqueu la princesa” (Sacrifice the Princess) on which the band’s captain, Jaume Pla, has combined his customary electric guitar with a synthesizer. The result is an exciting and thought-provoking mixture of singer-songwriting and electro-rock.

We’ve upped the tone and volume a little to talk about a veritable cult Catalan post-hardcore band who’ve returned after a 6-year silence. No More Lies are a band from the Costa Brava who are no strangers to the international music scene since they began, a decade ago, to tour countries such as Slovenia and the Czech Republic and also recorded an album in Chicago. No More Lies are back with a CD entitled 'In the shade of expectation', sung, as always, in English. A work of great intensity and maturity full of exciting and fun sounds.

Jaume Sisa, a charismatic singer and composer from Barcelona, with over four decades of experience under his belt, is known as the proverbial “galactic singer-songwriter” due to the touches of eccentricity he channels into sensitive, imaginative and melodic ideas. He’s released a new album which is a veritable treasure chest for his followers. We’re talking about 'Extra', an album  which has recovered historical recordings made at the Canet Rock festival and the famed El Molino cabaret back in the 70s, featuring collaborations with Brazilian musician Wagner Pa and Algerian-Catalan singer Yacine Belahcene. This is a highly valuable document of one of our most popular and unpredictable creators.

Singer-songwriting, the figure of the modern troubadour, has been a rich tradition in terms of the Catalan language for decades now, and is currently captained by a number of artists. One example is Òscar Briz, a singer and guitarist who has had quite a curious career to date. In the late 1990s he lived in Australia and joined a popular band there known as The Whitlams. And then, back in Valencia, Briz embarked on a successful career as a singer-songwriter with a predominantly intimate sound as can be appreciated on albums such as “L’estiu” (The Summer) released in 2010. Now, Òscar Briz has released “Youth”, which, despite its English title, is sung in Catalan with an inward-looking acoustic repertoire full of pop spirit.

The Italian singer and pianist Paolo Conte has often performed in Catalonia and has a community of fans, among whom there are a number of musicians and singer-songwriters. Albert Fibla is one of them. Fibla, who has released 4 albums to date, has decided to dedicate his new CD to Conte’s repertoire, with adaptations of songs such as 'Blue tango', 'Sotto le stelle del jazz' and 'Genova per noi' into Catalan. The album is entitled “Mocambo and Other Tales. Albert Fibla sings Paolo Conte” and presents us with a refined journey into the universe of the Piedmontese musician, replete with fables and fictional evocations and featuring duets with Quico Pi de la Serra, Miquel Gil and Joan Isaac.

Every year, in the month of March, the international music industry packs its suitcases and makes for Marseille, the headquarters of BabelMed Music, one of Europe’s most important music fairs. This year the event will be held from the 20th to the 22nd of March and, as always, the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Culture Department will be there, in representation of the Catalan Music brand, with an umbrella stand for attending professionals to meet and network. In parallel, BabelMed’s official programme will also be featuring a performance by one of Barcelona’s top fusion bands, Che Sudaka.

And it’s with Che Sudaka that we begin a very busy February and March concert agenda. Apart from their concert in Marseille, this multicultural Barcelona-based fusion band, made up of Argentinean and Colombian musicians, will be offering a score of performances as part of their European tour. The tour includes another gig in France, on March 8th at the Big Fuzz Festival, in Jonzac, in addition to a number of performances in Germany: 1st 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. On the 16th February, Che Sudaka will be performing in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and on the 19th in Switzerland, in Zurich. Then they’ll be travelling to Austria to give three concerts: the 20th in Innsbruck, the 21st in Steyr and the 22nd in Dornbirn. And the band will be performing in Mexico on March 30th, at the Vive Latino festival.

Bongo Botrako, another prominent Catalan fusion band with a Jamaican rhythm base will be taking a number of European venues by storm this month. The band will be presenting their second album, ' “Revoltosa” (Rebellious) in the Netherlands, where they’ll be giving four concerts: on February 13th in Nijmegen, the 14th in Utrecht 14th, the 15th in Amsterdam and the 16th in Eindhoven.

Another not-to-be-missed appointment in the international music industry agenda is on the other side of the Atlantic. We’re referring to the South By Southwest festival, which is held in Austin, Texas. This year the event will take place from the 7th to the 16th of March, and if you have the opportunity to attend, you’ll be able to see an impressive selection of Catalan bands. At the moment, there are nine confirmed performances with the alternative pop of Anímic, Desert, Lost Tapes, Univers and Me and the Bees, the experimentation of Svper, the furious garage de Mujeres and the vintage soul of The Pepper Pots.

Manel, a Barcelona band who, in the past few years, have become extremely popular are set to embark on a tour of several European countries. Manel released their third album last year, with the very curious title, “Atletes, baixin de l’escenari” (Athletes, Get Down Off The Stage), referring to a P.A. announcement made at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, when a host of athletes jumped up onto the stage to dance the rumba songs which were being performed by Peret and Los Manolos. Rumba, however, is not Manel’s chosen style. The album in question shows the evolution of their original pop-folk sounds into a more rock-based and electrical product. Manel will be in Switzerland, in Lausanne, on February 10th and will then be travelling on to Germany with concerts in Regensburg on February 11th,  Munich on the 12th, Berlin on the 13th and Hamburg on the 14th. A few weeks later, the band will be travelling to London to perform at the Scala venue as part of the Rock Sin Subtítulos Spanish music programme.

This winter, England’s capital city will also be welcoming other Catalan artists such as singer-songwriter Sílvia Pérez Cruz, who’ll be performing on March 15th at the Lilian Baylis Studio accompanied by her trusty guitarist, composer and producer Raul Fernandez, alias Refree. Sílvia Pérez Cruz will also be performing in New York, at Joe's Pub, on March 22nd, and will then travel to France for two concerts: on March 28th in Briançon and on April 5th in Strasbourg.

Born in France, raised in Barcelona and discovered in East London, Clara Sanabras is a unique singer-songwriter with folk and blues roots who also shows the influences of classical and multicultural music. In the upcoming weeks, this very interesting artist, with both Gypsy and Sioux origins, will be offering a series of performances in the UK: on February 2nd she’ll be giving a concert featuring songs from the Spanish Civil War in Harborough, and will later be presenting her third album, 'The Emblem’ in London on February 10th and in Ashford on March 8th.

And London will also be witness to a concert by one of the most charismatic flamenco vocalists in Catalonia, Miguel Poveda, who’ll be performing on March 4th at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, as part of the Flamenco Festival, an event which is celebrating its 11th Edition. Miguel Poveda will also be giving two concerts in France, in Perpignan on February 7th and Colomiers on the 21st.

The crossing of cultures is the leitmotif of Calima, a band formed a decade ago by Juanlu Leprevost, ex-bass guitarist and co-founder of Ojos de Brujo. Calima have developed quite an unorthodox flamenco product and, on their new album 'Lumbre. Canciones de carromato’ (Fire. Gypsy Caravan Songs), the band have embraced Central and Eastern European Gypsy sounds. Ambitious fusion music with the collaboration of top artists such as the former violinist from Las Migas, Lisa Bausa and Alberto Pérez, trumpet-player from the band Muchachito Bombo Infierno.

We are living in an era which is more materialistic than spiritual, but there are artists who work not just to conquer markets but also to change mentalities. Such is the case with Pedro Burruezo, a widely experienced singer and guitarist who, with his current project, Bohemia Camerata, is championing the values of mysticism with adaptations of texts from different cultures and eras. Burruezo, who believes that medieval mystics such as Spain’s San Juan de la Cruz or the Andalusian Ibn-Arabi "were more ground-breaking than any modern rock star", has released a new album entitled 'Misticisssimus coralliummm', with collaborations by the Cypsella Choir and the Sudanese musician Wafir S. Gibril.

The humanism transmitted by Pedro Burruezo’s compositions has certain points in common with the sensitive imagination of Toti Soler, a virtuoso of the guitar and a musician with strict convictions and a highly impressive CV including historic recordings with the late great Valencian singer Ovidi Montllor and collaborations with artists of the calibre of Léo Ferré, Taj Mahal and Pascal Comelade. With the songs on his new album “El teu nom” (Your Name), with the special collaboration of vocalist Gemma Humet, Toti Soler excels once again in sensitivity and evocative power.

And to end this February-March podcast we have an album which is a veritable love letter to Barcelona, courtesy of a young Greek singer named Giorgis, who has settled in the Catalan capital. The CD, entitled ‘Barcelonauta', pays tribute the Bohemian Barcelona of times past, particularly the 1920s and 1930s, when the Avinguda del Paral.lel, famed for its theatres and cabarets, was bustling with activity and entertainment-seekers. In 'Barcelonauta', Giorgis gives new life to songs from the era and adaptations of other songs dedicated to Barcelona by French authors such as Charles Trenet and Boris Vian.

With this atmospheric journey back in time signed by the Greek singer Giorgis, we conclude our podcast, in which, as always, we’ve reviewed the current latest news and events on the Catalan music scene with a wide range of different genres, ranging from singer-songwriting and pop to fusion and hardcore, and a special emphasis on the international activities of Catalan artists. Catalan Music will be back in a couple of months with a new selection of news, events and interesting new products and we hope you’ll join us. Moltes gràcies I fins la propera!!!


Mazoni "Un petó per cada cicatriu"

No More Lies "The urgency has gone"

Sisa "Carrer"

Òscar Briz "Les odes"

Albert Fibla "Sota els astres del jazz"

Che Sudaka
"Mirando el mundo al revés"

Bongo Botrako "Dinero no se come"

The Pepper Pots
"We must fight"

"Teresa Rampell"

Clara Sanabras
"Ode to Jimmy Jo"

Miguel Poveda

Calima "Durotones"

Pedro Burruezo

Toti Soler
"Un got d'aigua"