Miquel Porter’s “Lletania”, a lost song sung by J. M. Serrat

The Els Setze Jutges' 1st poster: Remei Marguerit, Miquel Porter, Delfí Abella, Josep Maria Espinàs & Pi de la SerraProbably it was at the beginnings of 60s when three members of the Setze Jutges (Cat. “Sixteen Judges”), Miquel Porter (singer and songwriter), Lluís Serrahima and Jaume Armengol (musician) wrote this curious and risky song: it’s a song that tells the recent Spanish history as it was a travel in train. However, the lyric was too clear, and therefore, too risky to even try record it (censorship never would allow it)… And the song stayed forgoten til 1996, when Joan Manuel Serrat recorded the soundtrack of D’un temps, d’un país (“Of a time, of a country”, title of a Raimon’s song, included on the LP): a record where the great Catalan songwriter makes covers of some of the most emblematic songs of the Nova Cançó Catalana (Cat. Catalan New Song): from the sobriety of Setze Jutges to the experiments of the movement Música Laietana, passing through the folksingers and folk groups. This is a lesson of History:


Tot canvia, res canvia,
mira el tren, mira la via.
Si t’ho penses i bé observes,
ja sabràs filosofia.

Mil discursos, pocs recursos,
és el pa de cada dia.
Sols Espanya, qui ho diria,
vol ser sola i no canvia.

Monarquia, oligarquia,
dictadura, cara dura.
Barret frigi sens prestigi
i després vingué el prodigi.

Una guerra que ho esguerra
i un cabdill que adoptà un fill:
un jove de molta empenta
a qui li faltava un grill.

Hi ha feixistes i papistes,
i un grapat de llargues llistes,
rabassaires, mercenaris
i gents que resa rosaris.

Hi ha carlistes i marxistes,
i també alguns optimistes,
policies i espies,
i gent que no té manies.

I "la no intervención"
i "los del Real Perdón".

I segueix la llarga cursa,
que s’allarga i que s’escurça,
de corsaris i falsaris,
i visites a altres barris.

Els que passen la frontera
fent el salt de la pantera,
ben folrada la cartera,
foten "tiros" pel darrera.

Les rates de sagristia,
considerada gent pia,
i, ¡ai vés qui ho diria!,
fins i tots la meva tia.

I segueix la lletania
de l’amor, la mort i els dies.


D'un tempsEverything changes, nothing changes,/ look at the train, look at the railway./ If you think about it and you watch well,/ you shall know philosophy.// A thousand of speeches, little resources,/ that’s our daily bread./ Only Spain, who would have thought,/ wants to be alone and is not changing (1).// Monarchy, oligarchy,/ dictatorship, cheeky,/ Phrygian cap (2) without prestige/ and later came the prodigy (3).// A war that spoil it,/ a chieftain (4) that adopted a child:/ a young man with a lot of spirit/ who had a crew loose.// There are Fascists and Papists,/ and a bunch of large lists,/ landlords (5), mercenaries/ and folks who say the rosary.// There are Carlists and Marxists,/ and also some optimistists,/ policemen and spies,/ and people that has no shame.// And the “Non Intervention”/ and those of the “Royal Pardon”.// And continues the large curve,/ lenghtening and shortening,/ of corsairs and forgers,/ and visits to other neighbourhoods.// Those that cross the border/ do the panther’s jump,/ the wallet well covered,/ *fuck the shooting behind*.// The sacristy rats,/ considered as pious folks,/ and, you see who would have thought!,/ even my aunt.// And continues the litany/ of the love, the death and the days.

Miquel Porter – Lluís Serrahima – Jaume Armengol

(1) After the defeated of the Axis countries in the II World War, Franco’s was the only standing “allie” of Germany (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spain_in_World_War_II). During a time, Franco wished to be in peace with the winners, but in front of the threats of some democratic and socialist countries, and, in the other side, the demanding of a change into a more democratic regime, the dictator summoned to great shows of patriotism against foreigner intereferences, although at the same time, he made a little changes… Later, with the US president Eisenhower’s visit to Spain, the Francoist regime was, finally, recognized by the Nations Society.

(2) As in other countries, the Phrygian cap was the symbol of Republican and, also, Catalanists.

(3) These lines describes the last days of Alphons XIII’s reign, that, due to the national troubles, took place to the General Miguel Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship (1923-1930), and finally the advent of the II Spanish Republic.

(4) It’s not casual that the word used is cabdill, “caudillo” in Spanish: that was Franco’s sobriquet, equivalent to German Führer and Italian Duce.

(5) The Catalan landlords, cat. rabassaires, were opnely conservatives.

And here’s Joan Manuel, alive with buddy Francesc “Quico” Pi de la Serra, in the 2009 concert Luchando contra la desmemoria (Fighting against forgetfulness):

Translation to Spanish:


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