Ovidi Montllor: Ribera School

Ovidi Montllor

(Alcoy, 1942-Barcelona, 1995), born in Alcoy, Valencia (Cast. Valencia;
Cat. València) was one of the more vehement between the songwriters on
stage. With a powerful and melodious voice, he sang intelligents and
imaginative words by his own or by great Catalan poets. His way of singing,
very influenced by Jacques Brel, was very dramatic, not in vain, he also was an actor: La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (The truth about the Savolta affair), La fuga de Segovia (Segovia’s runaway) or Amanece que no es poco (*It dawns, that’s not a little a thing*) among others. Ovidi sings in Catalan in the dialect of Valencia.

"L’escola de Ribera" is an interesting song about how was the school during the post-war (after Spanish civil war), between the 40-50 years. Franco’s regime abolished the Republic’s educative system and introducing the old clerical teaching system: very severe and hard, usually imparted by cleric men. Those teachers were giving a esentially based on religion teaching, using terms as the fear to hell and the  remorse of sinning. The corporal punishment, generally to beat the hand with a ruler, but also worse than this, was a very usefull practice for them. In Basque Country, Catalonia, Valencia, Balearic Islands, Navarre and Galicia to speak the language of this lands was forbidden. With this, also was a formation in that they called "Formación del espíritu nacional" (National spirit formation), that consisted in a group of chants and teachings about the war winner’s vision about Spain, with fascists signs and chantings, sometimes in form of songs: all what a student should know was the church, to pray, to salute as a fascists, that reds were bad people, and that Franco was the fatherland savior.


La suma era dos més dos.
El resultat era quatre.
La pregunta era Qui és?
La resposta era Déu.
La consigna era Pàtria.
La resposta era alçar el braç.
La classe era a les nou.
El mestre era a les deu.
El wàter era al fons.
La merda era a l’entrada.
Els amics érem tots.
Els diplomes eren grocs.
Els diplomats eren verds.
El Crist era de fusta.
Els cristians de cartó.
Els pupitres eren bruts.
Els que sèiem érem pobres.
La regla era per la mà.
La mà era per tancar-la.
El càstig era sever.
El càstig era por.
La missa era molt sèria.
Els assistents no ho sabíem.
El capellà era vell.
Els nens tampoc ho sabíem.
Els corredors eren llargs.
Els que corrien fugien.
El rellotge era bonic.
Les hores eren llargues.
L’ensenyança era com era.
Els ensenyats el què som.
Els mestres.
El Crist.
El capellà.
El pupitre.
Els companys.
El llibre.
La pissarra.
La infància.
La tendresa.
La fe.
La por.
Tot perdut per sempre.

El resultat era un,
la jugada era perfecta.

Ribera School

The sum was two plus two./ The result was four./ The question was Who is it?/ The answer was God./ The chant was Fatherland./ The answer was raise the arm.(1)/ Class was at nine o’colck./ Teacher was coming at ten o’clock./ Water closset was at the bottom./ Shit was at the entrance./ The friends were all of us./ The diploma was grey./ The diplomated were green./ The Christ was made of wood. (2)/ The Christians were made of carton./ The desks were rough./ We, that sit down on them, were poor./ The ruler was for the hand./ The hand was for close itself. (3)/ The punishment was severe./ The punishment was fear./ The mass was very serious./ Those present didn’t know. (4)/ The chaplain was old. (5)/ We, the kids, neither knew it./ The corridors were long./ Those that were running, ran away./ The clock was nice./ The hours were long./ The teaching was as it was./ The taught ones what we are./ The teachers./ The Christ./ The chaplain./ The desk./ The partners./ The book./ The blackboard./ The infancy./ The tenderness./ The faith./ The fear./ The love./ All lost for ever.// The result was one, (6)/ the play was perfect.

Ovidi Montllor

(1) In the regimes’s time, the chant was "¡Arriba España!", meanwhile the arm was rosen: the so known fascists salute, also called roman salute.
(2) In those years, in all the dispatches, offices and classroom, military and civil, must be a crucifix, because religion was one of the things that, according to         regime, preserved the unity of the nation.
(3) Francoists teachers and priests’ favourite corporal punishment was to beat the student’s hand with a wooden ruler.
(4) Mass was in Latin.
(5) Maybe Ovidi means with it that the chaplain was contrary to II Vatican Council, which renewed the Catholich church.
(6) Probably here Ovidi makes a double reference to dictatorship: of course, the dictator, one man that rules over the rest. But there something else: one of the      regime’s favourite chant was "España, ¡una! España, ¡grande! España, ¡libre!" (Spain: one, great and free), which means: free from Marxism, great as great        was the old and over-valoured Spanish Empire (Charles I, Phillip II), and one means that was only a real nation, not as Basque, Catalans and others                  nationalists pretended, and neither was posible the Federal state.

for read the Spanish translation, click here

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.

Ovidi’s site: http://www.arxiuovidi.info/principal2.htm

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by evin on 19 noviembre, 2007 at 12:48

    I translated this for the Teachers’ day 24 novembre in Turkey…
    no to irrational and repressive education!

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