Catalan Music – February 2013
Hello and welcome to Catalan Music’s February 2013 podcast which, as every month, will be keeping you up to date with all the latest news and events on an ever-changing and happening Catalan music scene, and presenting new albums and international concerts by Catalan artists. Catalan Music is the brand name specially created by the ICEC (The Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) for a wide range of musical genres produced in Catalonia, such as Pop, Jazz, Folk, World Music and Electronic, with a stress on international projection.
We’ve opened fire this month with a rather unorthodox band from the city of Valencia. Orxata Sound System (http://orxata.tv/) are breaking moulds with their unabashed fusion of popular genres: a mixture of suburban hip-hop and electronics with Latin rhythms such as cumbia and traditional Valencian vocals, the so-called ‘cant d’estil’ which is cultivated in the Mediterranean Horta region. Orxata Sound System, recently reinforced with Colombian Singer Diana de la Torre, are one of the revelation bands of the season with their album entitled ‘3.0.’ sung in Catalan.
Hip-hop and electronic music are also the main ingredients chosen by another impressive band named Macrobukkake, (http://www.bankrobber.net/web2/es/macrobukkake) a tandem formed by plastic artist David Cabello and musician Òscar Martorell together with a number of collaborators. Macrobukkake have made their debut with an album sung in English entitled ‘Landscape of Your Brain’, which is rich in imaginative and sometimes disconcerting sounds ranging from psychedelic rock to free-jazz and dub. A free-thinking and ultramodern product.
Orxata Sound System and Macrobukkake are just two examples of some of the bold products that characterize our current music scene abounding in artists who break the pre-established patterns of pop culture. A highly productive landscape with international projection through Catalan Music, a platform which, in January, as every year, was present at Europe’s most important music fair, the Midem, held in Cannes. Catalan Music (http://www.catalanarts.cat/web/?q=en/node/5495) were there with their own stand that also accommodated a score of agencies and institutions: Agents 4 Music / Love and Hate, Apecat, Blanco y Negro, Bmat, Bonatarda Publishing, Brisa Records, Discmedi, Distribucions Musicals 09, Distrijazz, Divucsa Music, Bit Music, Ediciones Musicales Clipper’s, Ventilador Music, Enrich Advocats / Copyrait, Meta Network, Open Records, Picap, Satélite K, Teddysound, Tenzing Media, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Verónica Casas Vila.
In the past few weeks, Catalan music has also been performed live at two top festivals. Firstly, the Eurosonic Noorderslag, (http://www.catalanarts.cat/web/?q=en/node/5493) in Groningen, Holland, which programmed three Catalan bands: the powerful, infectious soul of The Excitements, the cultivated pop of Evripidis and His Tragedies and the avant-garde and tribal experimentations of Za! Also, Sílvia Pérez Cruz, one of the most striking voices on the Catalan scene, performed at the Celtic Connections festival, in Glasgow, accompanied by virtuoso guitarist Toti Soler. We’re also proud to announce that Sílvia’s solo album ’11 de novembre’ (November 11th) was distinguished as the second best album of 2012, in the “chanson-jazz-world music” category by prestigious French publication ‘Les Inrockuptibles’.
With the voice of Sílvia Pérez Cruz (http://www.facebook.com/silviaperezcruz.11denovembre) we kick off this month’s concert agenda with a wide range of musical genres. On the pop front, we have the Barcelona-based indie band Dorian who are about to release their fourth album ‘La velocidad del vacío’ (The Velocity of the Void) recorded in Mexico with British producer Phil Vinall, who is well known for his work with bands such as The Auteurs, Elastica, Placebo and Deus. Dorian (http://webdorian.com/) are set to give three concerts in France: on February 5th in Bordeaux, March 1st in Paris and April 3rd in Lyon. They’ll also be travelling to Mexico, where they’ll be performing on March 15th at the Vive Latino festival, held in the capital, Distrito Federal.
And Paris will also be playing host to another Catalan band. Well, not just “another” Catalan band but rather a popular phenomenon with over a decade of Gold Discs under their belts and constant full houses at large venues. We’re talking about Estopa, (http://www.estopa.com/) the duo formed by brothers David and José Manuel Muñoz, who fuse the rhythms of rumba and urban rock with lyrics based on day-to-day situations and social themes, which are unmistakable characteristics of singer-songwriting. Estopa, who released their first album in 1999 with over a million copies sold in Spain alone, made their debut in the French capital in 2011 with a concert at the Bataclan venue. In this second visit to Paris, the band will be performing at a different venue, Le Cabaret Sauvage, on February 22nd, and will be presenting the songs from their latest album ‘Estopa 2.0’.
And on the musical fusion scene, we have international performances by Che Sudaka, (http://www.chesudaka.com/index.php/en/) the Barcelona band made up of Latin American musicians. The band will be back in Central Europe to delight their fans at seven different venues: One in Switzerland, in Zurich, on January 24th; three in Austria: in Dornbirn on the 25th, Salzburg on the 26th and February 1st in Vienna; and three in Germany, in Munich on February 2nd , Berlin on the 15th and Dresden on the 16th.
And one of Barcelona’s leading exponents in the field of fusion, the singer Amparo Sánchez, (http://www.amparosanchez.info/) ex-leader of the band Amparanoia, will be presenting, in both Belgium and France, her second solo album ‘Alma de cantaora’, on which she has collaborated with American band Calexico,. On February 7th she’ll be performing in Ghent, on the 8th in Paris and the 10th in Brussels. Then she’ll be travelling on to Australia and New Zealand: on March 9th and 11th she’ll be performing in Adelaide, and on the 16th and 17th in Plymouth, all in the context of the Womad festival.
France is one of the most common international venues for Catalan artists, and indeed is the second home to the legendary singer-songwriter Paco Ibáñez, (http://www.aflordetiempo.com/) who lived there for many years while in exile from Franco’s dictatorship. This Barcelona-based veteran troubadour with Basque roots has released a new album entitled ‘Paco Ibáñez canta a los poetas latinoamericanos’ (Paco Ibáñez Sings The Latin-American Poets), on which he has adapted texts by authors such as Pablo Neruda, Alfonsina Storni and Rubén Darío, and he’ll be presenting the disc at four different French venues. On January 30th at the emblematic Le Châtelet theatre, in Paris; on February 7th in Saint-Avertin, April 5th in Unieux and April 20th in Ivry-sur-Seine.
And also in France, the viola da gamba virtuoso and Early Music eminence Jordi Savall (http://www.jordisavall.es/) will be giving four concerts. On February 4th in Orleans, on the 6th in Paris, the 7th in Poissy and the 24th of March in Perpignan.
And now on to the jazz scene, with the vintage jazz fusion with rhythms of boogie-woogie, ragtime and swing of the young pianist Bernat Font, (http://www.bernatfont.com/BernatFont/Index.html) who’ll be giving two concerts in the Serbian capital Belgrade. He’ll be presenting his album ‘Out for a while’ with his trio on February 24th and 26th. Another pianist, Mar Serra, with her avant-garde experimentation combining jazz and flamenco influences will be performing in Ireland on February 13th, at the 12 Points Festival, in Dublin.
And to close February’s concert agenda, we have the Central European tour of the OBC (The City of Barcelona and Catalan National Symphony Orchestra), (http://www.obc.cat/) who’ll be presenting a programme of classic Catalan composers Robert Gerhard and Isaac Albéniz. The OBC will be giving five concerts in Austria; on February 21st and 22nd in Salzburg, the 24th in Linz, the 26th in Vienna and the 28th in Villach; one in Slovenia, in Maribor, on February 27th and another in Croatia, in Zagreb, on March 2nd.
And now in the final straight of this month’s podcast, we present you with a number of brand-new albums. On the alternative pop and rock scene, we have Egon Soda, (http://www.myspace.com/egonsoda) a band fronted by singer and bass-guitarist Ricky Falkner, one of Catalan pop’s busiest men as he has also produced bands such as Love of Lesbian, Sidonie, Lori Meyers, Standstill and many others. Egon Soda offer American-style pop and rock sounds with rousing choruses, vocal harmonies and masterful instrumentation. Four years after their debut album, the band return with a vengeance and a double album entitled ‘El hambre, el enfado y la respuesta’ (Hunger, Anger and the Answer).
Bullitt (http://www.myspace.com/bullitrules) are a band from Sant Feliu de Guíxols, on the Costa Brava, who are practitioners of a gutsy and dynamic rock with pop melodies and distorted guitar passages, akin to post-hardcore and reminiscent of bands such as The Lemonheads and Foo Fighters. Bullitt’s new album, their third to date, is entitled ‘So many ways’ and, as always, is sung in English.
Alex Torío (http://www.alextorio.com/) is a singer and pianist whose music tens toward intimate, dramatic and classic rock sounds, with the odd burst of melancholy, and draws from such noble influences as Bob Dylan, Robert Wyatt and Tom Waits. Now, Alex Torío, a singer-songwriter who works in the English language, is back with a new album entitled ‘Ghosts of Comala’. A conceptual product inspired by a classic of South American literature, the novel ‘Pedro Páramo’ by the Mexican author Juan Rulfo. With Pedro Páramo as his inspirational starting-point, Torío has created an intense and exciting album.
And to follow such emotional and electric intensity, we present you with a wonderful, soothing voice of Luna Cohen, (http://www.lunacohen.com/) a singer and composer from Belo Horizonte in Brazil. Luna, who’s based in Catalonia, tastefully and masterfully specialises in the bossa nova tradition and has presented an impressive new album entitled 'Estrada do sol', on which, in addition to reviewing a composition by the late-great António Carlos Jobin, she also delights us with her own creations. With her evocative voice, transporting us to exotic carioca landscapes, we put a close to this month’s podcast..
With Barcelona-based Luna Cohen’s Brazilian songbook, we conclude February’s Catalan Music podcast. For the past half hour or so, we’ve tried to fill you in, in the most eclectic and transversal way possible, on all the latest news relating to music produced in Catalonia, and the international activity of artists specialising in different genres. As you can see, the new year’s begun with batteries recharged and a very interesting selection of music and bands. We’ll be back next month and hope you’ll join us again. Moltes gràcies i fins la propera!
Orxata Souns System “Aspra diàspora”
Macrobukakke “Where is the pavillion”
Gold Panda “Same dream China”
The Excitements “Take the bitter with the swett”
Silvia pérez cruz “Dias de paso”
Dorian “A chance encounter”
Estopa “Me quedaré”
Che Sudaka “Mirando el mundo al revés”
Amparo Sanchez “La flor de la palabra”
Paco Ibañez “La mala reputación”
Jordi Savall “The musical priest”
Bernat Font “Ulls ametlla”
OBC “Impressions camperoles”
Egon Soda “Vals de pequeña mecánica”
Alex Torío “Riderless horse”
Luna Cohen “Estrada do sol”