Archive for 23/02/08

Joan Manuel Serrat: I’m going on foot


Joan Manuel Serrat is the most popular Catalan songwriter, singing as in Catalan as in Castilian. Also is the most known Spanish songwriter abroad. In 1965 he came to take part of the Catalan songwriters collective Els Setze Jutges (The Sixteen Judges), being one of the firsts and younger members of the group, singing only in Catalan. In 1968 decides to sing also in Castilian, which makes that most companions criticize him for consider that a kind of treason. Serrat’s case is very curious, because get a position in the middle of being a compromised songwriter and a successful star singer; but that complex situation don’t let him to get lost by success, so he always has known which was his place in the music. Serrat’s music is very gentle and sweet; his words use to be very romantics, but also compromised with his time and reality, making pictures of workers, peasants, lonely people. etc. He also has made songs with poems of Catalan poets as Salvat-Papasseit, and Castilian poets’ as Antonio Machado and Miguel Hernández (all of them, as Catalans as Castilians, forbidden by Franco’s regime). Although he never has made songs which could be considerated as anthems, his personal and political positions made of him a non-grata person for regime, to the point of not to let him back to his country by his critics to the last Franco’s executions. Joan Manuel Serrat keeps recording LPs and making tours, being one of the Spanish songwriters most admired on Latin-America.

Me’n vaig a peu


Cal oblidar la teulada vermella
i la finestra amb flors.
L’escala fosca i la imatge vella
que s’amagava en un racó.
I el llit de fusta negra i foradada
i els teus llençols tan nets
i l’arribar suau d’una matinada
que et desperta més vell.

Però no vull que els teus ulls plorin:
digue’m adéu.
El camí fa pujada
i me’n vaig a peu.

Cal dir adéu a la porta que es tanca
i no hem volgut tancar.
Cal omplir el pit i cantar una tonada
si el fred de fora et fa tremolar.
Cal no escoltar aquest gos que ara borda
lligat en un pal sec,
i oblidar tot d’una la teva imatge
i aquest petit indret.

Cal carregar la guitarra a l’esquena
i tornar a fer el camí
que un vespre gris remuntant la carena
em va dur fins ací.
Les ones han de d’esborrar les petjades
que deixo en el teu port.
Me’n vaig a peu, el camí fa pujada
i a les vores hi ha flors.

I’m going on foot


It’s necessary to forget the red roof/ and the window with flowers./ The dark upstairs and the old image/ that was hidden in a corner./ And the black and pierced wooden bed/ and you sheets so clean/ and the gentle arriving of a morning/ that awakes you older.// But I don’t want your eyes crying,/ tell me good bye./ The road goes up/ and I’m going on foot.// It’s necessary to say good bye to the door that is closing/ and we haven’t want to close./ It’s necessary to full the breast and to sing a song/ if the outside cold makes you to shiver./ It’s necessary not to hear that dog which is now barking/ tied in a dry stick,/ and forget once and for all your image/ and this little place.// It’s necessary to carry the guitar on the back/ and turn to make the road/ that in a gray afternoon, going up the hill/ brought me here./ The waves must erase the footsteps / that I leave on your harbor.// I’m  moving away walking,/ the road goes up/ and at the borders there are flowers.

Joan Manuel Serrat

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. 

Els Setze Jutges (Sixteen Judges) was a Catalan songwriters collective, founded by Delfí Abella, Miquel Porter and Josep Mª Espinàs, among others, for vindicate language and
poetry of the so called Països Catalans (Catalan Countries): the lands,
in Spain, Andorra and France, where Catalan is talked, with an antifrancoist
spirit. They decided to use French songwriters’ music, specially
Georges Brassens, and no Catalan folklore, because the regime was using
it for demonstrate his power over all the Spanish lands. Between them,
were future important artists as Joan Manuel Serrat, María del Mar Bonet and her brother Joan Ramón, Rafael Subirachs, Guillermina Motta, Francesc Pi de la Serra, and the last in come in, Lluís Llach, and others until complete 16. Songwriter Raimon, in despite the generally believing, was not a part of the collective, but he collaborated with them.

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