September 13, 2016

Summer Music 2016.

Every summer here in Spain is marked by some signature song, usually Pop. Over the recent years, from my perspective, there has been less and less charisma in the Pop music world. The summer music track seems to have dried out.(*an exculpatory note below the fold) Whether this is a broader cultural problem, I'll leave for another blog post.

What I did notice, was a reverberation of music from Spain's past. Here's a short list:

Lluis Llach

Many of my friends here in Catalunya know Lluis Llach down to the lyric. All are patriotic Catalans and others at varying distances to Spain. At the farthest distance are the Independistas, the oldest of whom are quick to recount the Franco years when their education was regimented and Catalan culture was prohibited to the extreme. LLach's poetry is anchored in a resistance to tyranny and therefore his art is anchored in the hearts of a many Catalan. Most everyone I've met here knows the lyrics to his signature song "L'Estaca" by heart, a call to pull together to achieve freedom.

Lluis Llach Foundation
Lluis Llach in Wikipedia
Lyrics in English to the "The Stake" (L'Estaca) here.

Joan Manuel Serrat

Another politically outspoken artist, albeit perhaps a bit softer in tone compared to LLach, Serrat was once a political exile for three years in Latin America for being so outspoken about Franco Spain. Here is a broad summary from Wikipedia:
His work is influenced by other poets like Mario Benedetti , Antonio Machado , Miguel Hernandez , Rafael Alberti , Federico García Lorca , Pablo Neruda , Joan Salvat-Papasseit and Leon Felipe among others; as well as various genres such as folklore Catalan, the Spanish couplet , the tango , the bolero and the popular music of Latin America...
Alan Lomax

A Yanqui, yes. Friends from Asturias told me about him, an effort I believe to demonstrate with an appreciation of the "España profunda". Lomax was a travelling American who would produce a huge recording device to capture music during his travels. Better, here is a Wikipedia summary:
Alan Lomax (January 31, 1915 - July 19, 2002) was an American field collector of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker. Lomax produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows in the US and in England, which played an important role in both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.

*The exculpatory note: My wife might disagree with me...

Posted by Dennis at September 13, 2016 2:34 PM

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