Art Forms


Podcast June-July 2014
Podcast June-July 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 June and July. Catalan Music is the brand name specially created by the ICEC (The Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) for Catalonia’s music industry and offers you all the latest news and events on a happening Catalan music scene, covering a wide range of musical genres ranging from Pop, Jazz, Fusion and Folk to World and Electronic Music.

Two charismatic figures, the singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz and guitarist and producer Raúl Fernández Miró, have joined forces to record an album together after several years of collaboration and complicity. The result is ‘Granada’, a bold and surprising product based on the prodigious vocals of Sílvia Pérez Cruz and an assortment of guitars, both acoustic and electric, played by Raúl Fernández, alias Refree. The album has a compellingly raw and unornamented quality and offers pure emotion and expressiveness with a repertoire made up exclusively of cover versions of musical greats such as Catalan singer-songwriter Lluís Llach, Leonard Cohen, Édith Piaf, Fito Páez and Enrique Morente.

One of the most eagerly awaited discs of the moment is 'Festival', the fourth album by Sanjosex, the group led by singer and guitarist Carles Sanjosé, an artist who is always open to new rhythms and influences. To follow his more intimate 'Al marge d’un camí” (At the Side of a Path), Sanjosex has recovered the energy and vitality of his origins with a voluptuous and festive collection of songs fusing rock, blues and funk with Mediterranean sounds and even the odd African ingredient.

At the entrance to the Natural History Museum in New York, there is a dinosaur that inspired J. D. Salinger when he wrote his world-renowned novel “The Catcher in the Rye'. Now, one of Catalonia’s most popular bands, Els Amics de les Arts, also refer to Salinger’s cult novel on their new album, which they’ve entitled ‘Només d’entrar hi ha sempre el dinosaure’ (As soon as you go in, there’s always the dinosaur). This 4-piece Barcelona band’s new album presents us with a rawer and more manageable instrumental line-up, with no added string or wind sections.  

The so-called 'Barcelona Sound’, which at the beginning of the 21st century projected the Catalan capital’s fusion music internationally, is still much alive and active, both in terms of new bands who fuse genres, rhythms and languages and also classic bands belonging to that first generation. Ojos de Brujo, one of the most charismatic bands of the fusion scene, broke up a couple of years back, but its ex-members have since launched several projects, such as Marinah y Los Argonautas, Calima and Lenacay. Lenacay includes  two ex-members of Ojos de Brujo, the guitarist Ramon Gimenez and Dj Panko, and has just released a second album entitled 'Yerel ', with a more emphatic fusion of rumba and flamenco featuring electronic music, funk and hip-hop.

Catalan Music’s series of compilation albums has recently presented three discs which provide excellent samples of our industry’s latest creations. The three albums, devoted respectively to pop-rock, world music and jazz, are available free-of-charge at international music fairs, but you can also your own free copy by simply sending an e.mail to internacional.icec@gencat.cat The volume dedicated to pop-rock presents us with a wide range of sounds, including experimental singer-songwriter Nico Roig, the hot soul of The Pepper Pots and the visionary folk of Anímic and El Petit de Cal Eril. The World Music compilation features the charismatic guitarist Toti Soler and fusion bands such as La Pegatina, La Troba Kung-Fú, Calima and Wagner Pa. And on the jazz CD, you can enjoy recordings by top artists such as Andrea Motis, Agustí Fernández, Marc Miralta and Mambo Jambo, to name but a few.

Catalan fusion music, which is often internationally referred to as ‘The Barcelona Sound’, combines influences from the North and the South, from the Mediterranean and Latin America and is one of our most active genres world-wide, as can be seen, once again, in our concert agenda section. In the coming weeks there’ll be world tours by outstanding bands on the fusion circuit, La Troba Kung-Fú, with Joan Garriga, former lead singer of Dusminguet, and La Pegatina. La Troba Kung-Fú will be giving three concerts in France to present their third album, 'Santalegria': on May 31st in Argenton, June 21st at the Fête de la Musique, in Pau, and on July 19th at the Festival de Thau, in Mèze.

La Pegatina, a young and exciting band from the town of Montcada i Reixach, near Barcelona, are ready to take their 'Lloverá y yo veré tour 2014’ around or a wide tour of Europe and they’ll also be performing in China. Indeed it will be in, a country which the band have already visited, where their new international campaign of six concerts will be kicking off: on the 30th May in Beijing, the 31st in Wuhan, June 1st in Foshan, 2nd in Chonging, the 7th in Shanghai and the 8th in Dalian. Then they’ll be back in Spain before travelling to Belgium where they’ll be in action on July 5th in Lommel and on the 10th in Luik. On July 20th, they’ll be performing at the Larmer Tree Festival, in Salisbury, in the UK; on the 25th at the Zwarte Cross Festival, in Lichtenvoorde, in the Netherlands; on the 27th in Viersen, Germany; on August 3rd in Roermond, in the Netherlands; on the 14th in Luxey, France; on the 16th  and 17th in Germany, in Aschaffenburg and Übersee, respectively, and they’ll be ending their tour on August 30th at the Fête des Solidarités, in Namur, Belgium.

France is one of the most frequent destinations of our touring artists, such as Sílvia Pérez Cruz, who’ll be presenting her solo project entitled ‘November 11th’, on June 8th at the Parfums de Musique Festival in Vitry-sur-Seine, and on 27th July at the Fête de l'Été, in Valence, and she’ll also be performing in Winterthur, Switzerland on June 12th. The infectiously festive folk group Els Catarres will be giving five concerts on French soil: on May 30th in Lucmau, the 31st in Garein, on June 6th in Pissòs, the 7th in Capiteux and on the 8th in Luxey. And also La Cafetera Roja, made up of Catalan, French and Austrian musicians, will be presenting their fusion of soul, hip-hop and pop on June 7th in Sigoyer and on September 6th in Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois.

The Excitements
with their hot soul recipes will also be performing on French soil with a 14-gig tour that will kick off on May 29th in the town of Coutance. The Excitements will then be performing in Oldenzaal, in the Netherlands, on 31st May; on 7th June in Rovinj, Croatia, and will then be travelling to France for six concert dates: on June 21st in Brezier, the 29th in Mendionde, on July 3rd in Perpignan, the 7th in Mirabelle, the 17th in Niort and the 19th in Aix-en-Provence. Italy will be hosting two concerts on the 4th July at the Parma’s Beat Festival and on the 5th at the Nuvolari Festival in Cuneo. The Excitements will also be performing in Germany, in Attendorn, on June 28th, and in Belgium: in Freiburg and Oudenaarde on July 18th and August 24th respectively.

We close our concert agenda with the performances Els Berros de la Cort, a band specializing in medieval folk with a powerful stage presence, will be giving  on the 6th and 7th of June in Leipzig, Germany.

As always, at the approach of summer, we have a rich and varied selection of concerts programmed by a number of festivals big and small. Among the larger format festivals, in Barcelona, we have the Primavera Sound, which will be kicking off at the beginning of June. Primavera Sound combines the international alternative 'star system', with top bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Pixies, with a wide selection of Spanish and Catalan artists. Two weeks later, from 12th to 14th June, Barcelona will be the capital of the Electronic Music world with the 21st Edition of Sónar, which this year will be featuring top names such as Massive Attack, Chic and Neneh Cherry. And another large-format festival is the Cruïlla BCN, which specialises in fusions of pop and rock with root and World Music. The Cruïlla BCN line-up includes top international artists such as Damon Albarn, Calle 13, Jack Johnson and Tinariwen.

And now in the final straight of our podcast, we have an interesting selection of new pop albums. Firstly, one of the youngest and most promising outfits, The Free Fall Band, a group made up of musicians of around 20 years of age, who’ve already made a name for themselves with inviting melodies and lyrics sung in English by their lead-singer who perfected the language while residing in New Jersey. Watch this space! as their second album, ‘The Münster Sights', will, we believe, be much talked about in the coming months. It was made with British producer Darren Hayman, singer and guitarist of Hefner, and has been published on the Primavera Sound Festival label.

Renaldo & Clara, the vehicle of young singer and guitarist Clara Viñals, has delighted fans of melodic and intimate pop with her two EPs. But now, we are very pleased to present her long-awaited debut LP, entitled ‘Fruits del teu bosc’ (Fruits of your Forest) in the form of a meticulous inward-looking notebook full of fragile and melancholic atmospheres.

Another emerging band is Me and The Bees, with their unique brand of free-thinking pop with tight melodies and imaginative, psychedelic and playful ideas, which give the songs an unexpected quality. Me and the Bees have joined forces with Guillem Caballero, the ex-keyboard-player with the now disbanded Surfing Sirles, and have released their second album with songs sung in English, despite the CD´s Spanish title, 'Mundo fatal’.

And before we leave you, we’d like to draw your attention to the intense independent musical activity taking place in Vic, a city located around seventy kilometres from Barcelona. The new Vic scene has been much talked about in the Catalan press in the wake of bands and artists such as La Iaia, Joana Serrat and Nuria Graham. Among the new and emerging bands from Vic are two outfits who have just released new albums. One of them is ‘Univers”, with powerful textures, reverberation and noise influences, who’ve released a debut album entitled ‘L’estat natural’ (The Natural State).

Also from Vic are Ohios, another band with a leaning for loud electric guitars sounds and convulsive and muscular rock, as demonstrated on their debut album, entitled 'Faceless'. At the antipodes of the folk-pop that has dominated the Catalan music scene in recent years, bands like Univers and Ohios suggest there may well be a sudden change of direction marking tastes and trends in the coming months.

So with the happening new indie scene in the city of Vic, we close our June/July podcast. We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of the latest news, events, concert dates and album releases relating to Catalan artists with a particularly international focus. As always, we’ll be back in a couple of months with a new edition of the Catalan Music podcast and we hope you’ll join us. Moltes gràcies I fins la propera!


Tracklist

Sílvia Pérez Cruz & Raül Fernàndez Miró – Mercè
http://silviaperezcruz.com/
http://www.refreeweb.com/

Sanjosex - No hi ha mirades
http://sanjosex.com/

Els Amics de les arts - ja no ens passa
http://www.elsamicsdelesarts.cat/

Marinah – Despierto
http://www.marinah.es/en

Nico Roig - La gamba
http://nicoroig.wordpress.com/

La Troba Kung-fú - Rumbia
http://www.latrobakungfu.net/es/

La Pegatina - Lloverá y yo veré
http://www.lapegatina.com/

Sílvia Pérez Cruz & Raül Fernàndez Miró - Hymne a l'amour
http://silviaperezcruz.com/
http://www.refreeweb.com/

The Excitements - Ha, ha, ha
http://theexcitementsband.com/

The Free fall band - City of raleigh

http://thefreefallband.bandcamp.com/

Pixies - Here comes your man
http://www.pixiesmusic.com/

Els Berros de la cort - Ambrossia
http://www.elsberrosdelacort.cat/

Renaldo & Clara - Els dies s'allarguen

http://renaldoiclara.bandcamp.com/

Me and the bees - Like we wuere young
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Me-and-the-bees/163151755674

Ohios – Aunt
http://ohiosohios.bandcamp.com/

Joana Serrat - Summer in the beach

http://joanaserrat.bandcamp.com/