Archive for 15/02/08

Raimon: “Let’s say no”


Photo taken by Ramón Rodríguez durin the Recital of Madrid 

 

For many people, Raimon is the best songwriter in Spain, as of Catalan as the of the others Spanish songwriters. Anyway, one thing that is true, it’s that Raimon was and is a symbol of many dimensions of the anti-francoist resistance. With Paco Ibáñez and Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio, and with the precedent of Teresa Rebull, Raimon was the first in singing author’s songs in Catalan and in whole Spain, and also the first in making songs over the great Catalan poets’ poems. Raimon came from Jativa (Cat. Xátiva; Sp. Játiva), province of Valencia, to Barcelona for singing. His first songs, as “Al vent” (To the wind) or “Diguem no” (Let’s say no) maybe are still, with 18 years old, a very simple songs, but really vehement, with his peculiar powerful tone of voice. After some performances in tv, recitals and festivals, and also some great adventures, as to give an illegal recital in the Complutense University’s Economic Science
faculty, regime’s censure machinery look down on him, at the same time that people from all Spain take his songs as battle anthems, and he became a symbol, while also get international fame, specially in France, but also in USA, Japan, Italy… Although he was not a former, he collaborated with the songwriters Catalan collective Setze Jutges (Sixteen Judges). Despite all this, Raimon is more than a political singer: he sang songs about fear, about man, about peace, love, friendship, and return to Catalan people (and to the rest of Spain) the great Catalan poetry: from XVI’s, as Joan Timoneda or Ausiàs March, to contemporary as Pere Quart or, his favourite, Salvador Espriu.
This song is one of his first songs. Although very simple, it was, since the beginning, an entire revolution, and became a symbol of the anti-francoism fight.

 

Diguem no


Ara que som junts
diré el que tu i jo sabem
i que sovint oblidem:

Hem vist la por
ser llei per a tots.
Hem vist la sang
-que sols fa sang-
ser llei del món.

No,
jo dic no,
diguem no.
Nosaltres no som d’eixe món.

Hem vist la fam
ser pa
per a tots*.

Hem vist qu’han fet
callar a molts
homes plens de raó**.


No,
jo dic no,
diguem no.
Nosaltres no som d’eixe món.

Now that we’re together/ I’ll say what you and I know/ and often forget:// We’ve seen fear/ be the law for everybody./ We’ve seen blood/ -which begets only blood-/ be the law of the world.// No,/ I say no,/ let’s say no./ We don’t belong to that world.// We’ve seen hunger/ be the bread/ for everybody./ We’ve seen they do/ shut up many/ men of reason.// No,…

Raimon


NOTE:
Francoist censorship made Raimon change some verses, those that are marked with an asterisk. The verses originals were:


Hem vist la fam
ser pa
dels treballadors.

Hem vist tancats
a la presó
homes plens de raó.


We’ve seen hunger/ be the bread/ of the workers.// We’ve seen/ locked in prison/ men full of wisdom.//

So, when Raimon says We’ve seen they do/ shut up many/ men of reason.//, he’s making a denounce to censorship.

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 moreworried about Catalan poetry and refused to use Catalonia’s folklore due to the populist use that the dictatorship was making with everySpanish folklore; but Grup de Folk like to combine old Catalans songswith 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.

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