Art Forms

Catalan Music August- September 2014
Catalan Music August- September 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 August and September, a particularly busy period as far as international tours are concerned. 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.

As always, at the height of summer, we have a packed concert agenda. But before we fill you in on the international tours of Catalan artists, we’d like to draw your attention to a selection of new songs which Love of Lesbian have released on the Net: three new tracks which, for now, are only available on Internet platforms such as iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. This Barcelona band who specialize in powerful pop sounds are set to kick off their summer tour of Catalan and Spanish venues before travelling on to Latin America. Following their two appearances in a row at the large-scale Vive Latino festival in Mexico, Love of Lesbian seem to have made their second home there, and they’re also planning to take Argentina and Chile by storm. In the meantime, they’ve regaled us with a number of songs with critical messages, such as ‘Mal español’ (Bad Spaniard), in which they offer an ironic take on the aptitudes of the political establishment.

In Catalonia, and its capital, Barcelona, Electronic Music has a long and internationally acknowledged history with brands such as the Sónar and specialized labels such as Molts Records. This restless 'indie' label deserves our attention on account of releases such as Check One, the artistic alias of Carles Guinart, with 'Connections', which features the Canary Isles singer and rapper Burning Yama.

Molts Records works in parallel with a line specializing in urban music for children, Molts Records Kids, whose aim is to bring the latest trends, linked to electronic or hip-hop music to children with fun products that are musically daring and attractive both to kids and parents, like this track entitled ‘Happy feet' by producer El Chavo with rapper Racecar.

Daniel Puente Encina is back with a new album, entitled ‘Chocolate con ají’ (Chocolate with Chili) with all the power and flavour of Anglo-Saxon and Latin music, rock, soul, boogaloo and tropical rhythms. In his native country, Chile, this singer and guitarist fronted the post-punk band Pinochet Boys before moving to Barcelona where he formed the band Polvorosa. Now, Daniel Puente Encina has set up as a powerful solo act, specializing in what he has christened 'furious latin soul', as demonstrated on his previous album, 'Disparo’ (“I shoot”) with which he opened up the doors of several European markets, such as Germany. And it’s precisely in Germany he’ll be presenting this new album, ‘Chocolate con ají’, with three concerts: on August 2nd in Kiel, the 25th in Bochum and September 6th in Duisburg.

So with Daniel Puente Encima we’ve kicked off our concert agenda, which, as we said earlier, will be the main focus of our summer podcast. Fusion bands, which are deeply rooted in Catalonia, with their crossing of genres and cultures and an explosive latin spirit, are the most highly active on the international scene. Groups such as Txarango, one of the most fashionable bands of the moment, attract large young audiences with their exciting sounds based on a fusion of Jamaican rhythms, Catalan rumba and latin musics. Txarango will be giving three concerts in France: on July 25th in Rodez, the 31st in Brest and August 1st in Crozon, and a fourth gig in Belgium, on the 3rd of August, in Floreffe.

La Pegatina, another band that attract mass audiences with their rumba and ska rhythms, will be extending their 'Lloverá y yo veré tour 2014’ to a number of European countries, beginning with a concert in Salisbury, in the UK, on 20th July, at the Larmer Tree Festival. Then La Pegatina will be travelling to The Netherlands for three concert dates: on July 25th in Lichtenvoorde, the 26th in Amsterdam and on August 3rd in Roermond. In Germany they’ll be performing on July 27th in Viersen, August 16th in Aschaffenburg and on the 17th in Übersee. In France, in Luxey, on August;14th, and then onto Belgium with a gig in Namur on August 30th and, finally a concert in Italy, on September 7th, in Treviso.

Another highly active band on the European circuit, who are about to take to the road again, are Che Sudaka, the Barcelona outfit made up of South American musicians who specialize in fusing powerful latin rhythms. Che Sudaka will be giving their first concert in Ghent, Belgium, on July 18th, as part of a European tour that will take them to a dozen different cities. The band will be giving a total of seven concerts in France: on July 19th in Aix-en-Provence; the 23rd in Manosque, the 15th August, in Ascain; the 16th in Laruns, the 23rd August in Châtillon-sur-Loire; the 29th in Montgaillard and on September 20th in Portet-sur-Garonne. La Pegatina will also be performing at the Paleo Festival, in Nyon, Switzerland, on July 26th , at the Stockholm Cultural Festival, in Sweden on August 12th, and will be performing twice in Hungary: on September 5th in Nyiregyhaza and on the 6th in Budapest.

And still on the fusion scene, Bongo Botrako will be travelling to The Netherlands for concerts in Biddinghuizen, on 16th August, and Venlo on the 17th, while Zulú 9.30 will be taking part in the Porto Latino festival, in Saint-Florent, France, on August 11th.

In Belgium, on September 20th Bruges’ Cultuurcentrum will be hosting a very unique event, a musical and culinary performance entitled “Banquete rumbero', in which several invited musicians will be revealing the secrets of some of their favorite traditional dishes with the accompaniment of popular songs. The singer and accordionist and La Troba Kung-Fú frontman, Joan Garriga, will be talking about “pa amb tomàquet’, the Catalans’ simple but delicious tradition of rubbing their bread or toast with ripe tomatoes, and Amparo Sánchez, former lead-singer of the band Amparanoia, will be disclosing the secrets of Granada-style meatballs. Also participating will be Serbian accordionist Ivica Vucelija and the French-Polish trumpet-player Thomas Morzewski.

Las Migas, the charismatic female new-Flamenco band, will be giving six concerts in Central Europe in the next few months. Firstly in Germany, in Idar-Oberstein on August 22nd and in Marienthal on the 30th. In December, Las Migas will be performing in Austria, on the 4th in Vienna, the 5th in Innsbruck, and the 7th in Salzburg, and, later on in the year, they’ll be returning to Germany for a performance in Mainz on December 6th.

The exploration of flamenco is also the expressive territory of the band D’Callaos, who, in September, will also be giving two concerts in Germany; on the 26th in Duisburg and on the 27th in Leverkusen.

Els Berros de la Cort is a folk band specializing in the repertoire of medieval Catalan and Occitan troubadours, who have created their own unique universe of medieval mysticism. The result, however, is far from being a museum piece, and their concerts are both powerful and theatrical. You can see them in action in Igolstadt, Germany on July 26th, at the Viagem Medieval festival, in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, on August 1st and at the Les Médiévales festival, in Brignoles, France on  August 16th.

And in a different register, La Cafetera Roja, a band who fuse black groove with hip-hop and latin rhythms, will be performing in France: on July 25th in Saint Georges-de-Didonne, the 26th and 28th in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer; on August 3rd in Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquière, in Luxey on the 15th; in Trelins on the 16th, in Gruissan on the 28th and in Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois on September 6th.

The hot fusion of soul and rhythm'n'blues of The Excitements, fronted by singer Koko-Jean Davis, will be on stage in Fribourg, Switzerland, on July 18th; and on the 19th, at the Zic-Zac Festival in Aix-en-Provence, in France; and on August 24th they’ll be performing at two different festivals in Belgium: at the Viva Lola, in Sint-Niklaas, and at the Feest in het Park festival, in Oudenaarde.

On 12th July, Berlin will host the Spanish Rock Invasion, a festival featuring bands from Spain, including Los Mambo Jambo, an instrumental outfit from Barcelona who pay tribute to rock 'n' roll, rhythm'n'blues and swing of a vintage nature. Los Mambo Jambo includes renowned musicians such as saxophonist Dani Nel.lo, ex-member of the popular Barcelona outfit, Los Rebeldes, and guitarist Mario Cobo, from Nu Niles, who has toured internationally with Kim Lenz’s band.

Before closing summer’s heavy concert agenda, we have two further recommendations. Daniel Cros, an urban singer-songwriter with Latin American influences, who recently released an album entitled, 'Aquello era entonces, esto es ahora' (That Was Then, This Is Now). He’ll be performing in South Korea on September 13th in Ulsan, at the Taehwa River Spring Jazz Festival.

And Jordi Savall, a world-renowned viola da gamba virtuoso specializing in Early Music, will be giving two concerts in Belgium with Herpèrion XXI: on  August 6th in Bruges, and, later on, in Brussels, on  November 12th.

In the final section of our podcast, we have three new and highly recommendable new albums. Luna Cohen, a Brazilian singer who lives and works in Barcelona, captivated us just a couple of year back with her album 'Estrada do sol', which drew on the bossa nova tradition, and now she’s just released a CD entitled 'Flor do cerrado', featuring a collection of her own compositions which reassert her sensual and diaphanous jazz-based sounds.

Pascal Comelade, an utterly unique pianist who specializes in miniature instruments, from the so-called North Catalonia, in France, is, in addition to being a musician, a free-thinker and a free soul who has come up with a veritable rescue project, a four-pack CD entitled ‘Col•lecció Nord’ (North collection) featuring two cult albums by Catalan-French singer-songwriters Gerard Jacquet and Pere Figueres, which had been unavailable for years, and two CDs with rarities of Comelade himself featuring musicians from Barcelona’s experimental scene such as Víctor Nubla, from Macromassa, and American artist, ex-member of the New York ‘no wave’ band Mars, Mark Cunningham. A genuine treasure chest of unorthodox music.

We close this August-September podcast with an album that has put a smile on the faces of many Catalans over the past few weeks. We’re referring to the second album released by Halldór Már, a singer-songwriter from Iceland who lives and works in Barcelona. The album in question, entitled 'Winds', is made up of ten Catalan classics adapted into English with delicate folk-rock sounds, a selection of songs composed by acclaimed singer-songwriters who are veritable totems for the Catalan public, such as Raimon, Lluís Llach, Joan Manuel Serrat and Maria del Mar Bonet, among others, which Halldór Már has transformed into surprising English versions.

With these great classic Catalan songs, boldly but respectfully revisited and transformed by an Icelandic troubadour, we close our CATALAN MUSIC summer podcast in which we’ve focused particularly on the international tours of Catalan artists. We’ll be back in a couple of months with more news and events and we hope you’ll join us again. Have a great musical summer! Que tingueu un gran estiu musical i fins la propera!!!


Love of Lesbian - Manifiesto delirista

Check One – Connections

El Chavo - Happy feet

Txarango - Músic de carrer

La Pegatina – Olivia

Che Sudaka - Almas rebeldes

Bongo Botrako - Punk parranda

La troba kung-fú - Sta. Alegria

Las Migas - Con toda palabra

D'Callaos - Oir tú voz

Els Berros de la Cort - Aissi cum

La Cafetera Roja - La mananita

The Excitements - Keep it your serf

Los Mambo Jambo - El baile hipnótico

Daniel Cros - Dejar la piel

Jordi Savall - Première suite

Luna Cohen - Samba que a gente começa

Pascal Comelade - Bar elèctric

Halldor Mar - The wind