Archive for 6/11/07

Pau Riba: It takes long


Pau Riba is one of the most curious Catalans songwriters. As a great North-American folksingers admirers (Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan), he started as member of the duo Pau i Jordi, with Jordi Batiste, making versions of classical folk-songs and playing traditionals and populars Catalans tunes, as head of the Catalans songwriters collective El Grup de Folk (The Folk Group). Later, as soloist, he became an experimental songwriter and composer: he brought to Spain the music and the feeling from U.S.A. hippie movement, with progresive rock and psychedelic music. He translated Bob Dylan to Catalan and performed, being a modest hit called "La noia del país del nord" ("Girl from the North Country"). In one only word, Pau Riba is a true transgressor.

El Grup de Folk was a collective of Catalans songwriters, headed by Pau Riba and Jordi Batiste, that pretended make folk-songs in Catalan language. They were opposite to the other great Catalans songwriters collective, Els Setze Jutges, which refused to use traditional songs from Catalonia. El Grup de Folk, inspired by Seeger, Joan Baez, Guthrie and Dylan, among others, decided to use as instrument of their message the Catalonia folk-songs. Among others, there were Xesco Boix, Jordi Roure, Jaume Arnella, Marina Rossell, the excentric Jaume Sisa, Albert Batiste, Pau Riba and Jordi Batiste, sometimes as formers of the duo Pau i Jordi. Later, Balearic songwriter María del Mar Bonet, from the Jutges, would join them. Some of the most remembered songs are versions and adaptations to Catalan of great fight-folk-songs as "Blowin’ in the wind" (Escolta-ho en el vent -Listen it in the wind) or "The times they are a-changing" (Els temps estan canviant).

La Nova Cançó Catalana (New Catalan Song) was a very important songwriter movement that pretended, making of Catalan their expression way, preserve and vindicate the language of Catalonia. Teresa Rebull, a Civil War exhiled, was the forerunner, but singer Raimon was the real beginner. The movement, principally, had two differents tendences: Els Setze Jutges (Sixteen Judges), inspired by French songwriters, and El Grup de Folk (Folk Group), North-American folk-singers inspiration. Jutges were more worried about Catalan poetry and refused to use Catalonia’s folklore due to the populist use that the dictatorship was making with every Spanish folklore; but Grup de Folk like to combine old Catalans songs with North-American folk-songs. But in the beginnings of 70s, both were disolved, but the movement stood. New Catalan Song was imitated by others regional songwriters movement, borning in this way the New Songs from Basque Country, Castilia, Galicia, Andalucia… Some of the names of this movements are songwriters as Raimon, Lluís Llach, María del Mar Bonet, Pau Riba, Marina Rossell, Joan Manuel Serrat, Albert Batiste, Pi de la Serra, Ovidi Montllor; folk-groups as Al Tall and UC; folk-rock groups as Falsterbo 3 and Esquirols; and progresive and psychedelic rock bands as Companya Elèctrica Dharma or Maquina!… among others.

Es fa llarg esperar

Oh que llarga es fa sempre l’espera
quan s’espera que vindrà el pitjor;
i que trista qu’és fa la llarga espera
quan s’espera la mort de l’amor.
Quan s’espera que ja tot s’acabi
per tot d’una tornar a començar,
quan s’espera que el món tot s’enfonsi
per tornar-lo a edificar…
es fa llarg, es fa llarg esperar!

I es fa trist esperar cada dia
el cel roig i el sol que ja se’n va,
i es fa fosc esperar cada dia
perquè el sol no se’n vol anar mai,
perquè els dies se’n van sense pressa
i les hores no volen fugir,
perquè esperes, i esperes, i esperes,
i vols demà, però encara és ahir…
es fa trist, es fa trist esperar!

I es fan lents els matins i les tardes
quan l’espera et desvetlla el neguit.
I es fan grises les llargues lentes tardes
perquè et sents amb el cor ensopit,
perquè sents que tens l’ànima morta
i ho veus tot, tot el món molt confós
perquè et trobes amb les portes closes
i tancats com un gos rabiós,
es fa fosc, es fa fosc esperar!

I es fan grises les hores d’espera
quan no plou però veus el cel plujós.
I es fan llargues les hores d’esperes
quan la fi sents a prop per tots dos,
quan fa dies que ni xiules ni cantes
i fa temps que vas fer l’últim somrís,
quan al cor sents la mort i t’espantes
al pensar potser és l’últim avís.
Es fa gris, es fa gris esperar!

Oh, how long it always takes the waiting/ when it’s waiting the coming of the worst thing; and how sad that the long waiting makes itself/ when it’s waiting the death of love./ When it’s waiting that all would end/ at all for could start again,/ when it’s waiting the whole world sinks/ for could re-build it again…/ It takes long, it takes long to be waiting!// And is sad to wait every day/ the red sky and the sun that already is going,/ and is dark to wait every day/ because the sun never wants to go,/ because the days go by hurriless/ and hours don’t want to flee,/ because you wait, and wait, and wait,/ and you want tomorrow, but still is yesterday…/ Is sad, is sad to be waiting!// And the mornigs and the afternoons goes slowly/ when the waiting reveals you the anxiousness./ And the long slow afternoons become grey/ because you feel your heart asleep,/ because you feel your soul as dead/ and you see all, the whole world confused/ because you find the doors closed/ and with bolts as a rabid dog./ It’s dark, it’s dark to be waiting!// And the waiting hours turn grey/ when it’s not raining but you see the rainy sky./ And the hours waiting get longer/ when you find the end near you both,/ when since days ago you neither whistle nor sing/ and long time ago since you smile for the last time,/ when in the heart you feel death and you get scared/ at thinking that maybe that’s the last warning./ It turns grey, turns grey to be waiting!

words and music
Pau Riba

for read it in Spanish too, click here
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Gabriel Celaya: Poetry is a charged gun of future


Gabriel Celaya (1911-1994) was a basque poet, although he wrote in Spanish or Castilian. He is one of the most fierce, compromised  and passionated Spanish poets and a  force reference of Spanish contemporary poetry. As many of his peers, his poetry was a symbol of the resistance against francoist regime. Some things of his life and working can be seeing here: http://www.gabrielcelaya.com/

The poem "La poesía es un arma cargada de futuro" was a kind of manifest of the 50’s decade poets. It talks about making a poetry compromised with man, with workers, with people, with poors, and not to make a so called "pure poetry", a kind of poetry practiced by neutrals and francoist poets, that doesn’t reflex the reality. Celaya’s constant, analog to Gabriel Aresti’s hammer-pen, is to think poetry as a tool for working, as a hammer or a screw, against that other poetry, conceived for enjoy rich and powerful people in official acts and dinners.

La poesía es un arma cargada de futuro

Cuando ya nada se espera personalmente exaltante,

mas se palpita y se sigue más acá de la conciencia,

fieramente existiendo, ciegamente afirmado,

como un pulso que golpea las tinieblas,

cuando se miran de frente

los vertiginosos ojos claros de la muerte,

se dicen las verdades:

las bárbaras, terribles, amorosas crueldades.

Se dicen los poemas

que ensanchan los pulmones de cuantos, asfixiados,

piden ser, piden ritmo,

piden ley para aquello que sienten excesivo.

Con la velocidad del instinto,

con el rayo del prodigio,

como mágica evidencia, lo real se nos convierte

en lo idéntico a sí mismo.

Poesía para el pobre, poesía necesaria

como el pan de cada día,

como el aire que exigimos trece veces por minuto,

para ser y en tanto somos dar un sí que glorifica.

Porque vivimos a golpes, porque apenas si nos dejan

decir que somos quien somos,

nuestros cantares no pueden ser sin pecado un adorno.

Estamos tocando el fondo.

Maldigo la poesía concebida como un lujo

cultural por los neutrales

que, lavándose las manos, se desentienden y evaden.

Maldigo la poesía de quien no toma partido hasta mancharse.

Hago mías las faltas.  Siento en mí a cuantos sufren

y canto respirando.

Canto, y canto, y cantando más allá de mis penas

personales, me ensancho.

Quisiera daros vida, provocar nuevos actos,

y calculo por eso con técnica qué puedo.

Me siento un ingeniero del verso y un obrero

que trabaja con otros a España en sus aceros.

Tal es mi poesía: poesía-herramienta

a la vez que latido de lo unánime y ciego.

Tal es, arma cargada de futuro expansivo

con que te apunto al pecho.

No es una poesía gota a gota pensada.

No es un bello producto. No es un fruto perfecto.

Es algo como el aire que todos respiramos

y es el canto que espacia cuanto dentro llevamos.

Son palabras que todos repetimos sintiendo

como nuestras, y vuelan. Son más que lo mentado.

Son lo más necesario: lo que no tiene nombre.

Son gritos en el cielo, y en la tierra son actos.

Poetry is a gun charged of future


When nothing exhilarating is personally expected,/ but it beats and continues beyond consciousness,/ fiercely existing, blindly asserting,/ like a pulse that beats the darkness,// when are looked ahead/ the dizzying death’s eyes,/ it’s saying the truths:/ the wild, terrible, lovely cruelties.// It’s saying the poems/ that widen the lungs of so many of those that, asphyxiated,/ are asking to be, are asking for beat,/ are asking for law for that they feel as excessive.// With the speed of the instinct,/ with the ray of prodigy,/ as magical evidence, the real thing become for us/ into the identical thing itself.// Poetry for the poor one, needed poetry/ as the daily bread,/ as the air we demand thirteen times a minute,/ for being and as we are let’s give a "yes" that glorifies.// Because we’re living by blows, because they hardly let us/ say that we are who we are,/ our songs cannot be sinlessly an ornament./ We are reaching bottom.// I curse the poetry conceived as a cultural/ luxury by the neutrals ones/ who, washing their hands, doesn’t want to know and escape./ I curse the poetry from who doesn’t take side till get dirty.// I endorse the mistakes. I feel inside me to all those who are suffering/ and I sing breathing./ I sing, and I sing, and singing beyond my personals/ sorrows, I get wider.// I’d want to give you life, cause new acts,/ and I calculate for that with technique what do I can./ I feel like a verse engineer and a worker/ that works by others to Spain in its steels.// So is my poetry: poetry-tool/ at the same time that beat of the unanimous and blind thing. So it is, charged gun with expansive future/ with what I aim your breast.// It’s not a drop by drop thought poetry./ It’s not a beautiful product. It’s not a perfect fruit./ It’s something such as the air which everyone of us are breathing/ and is the song that space out what we carry inside.// They are words which everyone of us repeat feeling/ as ours, and they fly. They are more than the said thing./ They are the most needed thing: that what has no name. They are screams in the Heaven (1), and in the earth acts.

Gabriel Celaya

(1) The version I have here use the word "cielo". In Spanish, "cielo" can means two things: "cielo", sky; and "Cielo", Heaven. I think Celaya would mean "Cielo".

In many ways, Paco Ibáñez is
almost the father of the Spanish songwriters movement, beside Chicho
Sánchez Ferlosio and Raimon. Born during the Spanish Civil War, and
went with his family as exiliated to France. In France he mets the work
of the great French songwriters, specially that who will be his
inspiration: Georges Brassens. In 1959 he starts to put music on the great Spanish poems: from Spanish literature Golden Age, as Quevedo, Luis de Góngora, Jorge Manrique; passing by the 27’s Generation, as Lorca, Alberti, Miguel Hernández; to the most contemporary and compromised poets: Blas de Otero, Gabriel Celaya, José Agustín Goytisolo… But also Latin-Americans poets like Jorge Guillén and Pablo Neruda.
He tried to live in Spain at the 60’s, but his so known anti-francoism
makes that the authorities are always following him; so he returned to
France for singing in freedom. Finally returned when generals Franco
was dead. Many songwriters took example from him, as in Castilian as in
the others language from Spain: Catalonian, Basque and Galician.
Gabriel Celaya was very pleased for Paco were making songs with his poems, although he had to change some words and remove some lines. This song was one of the most celebrated by his audience:

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