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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