Music en catala
February 18, 2010 6:51 AM   Subscribe

As music taste becomes increasingly homogeneous (previously) where can you turn for real independent music? The Rock Catala movement of the late 80s/early 90s was a reaction against the supression and banning of the Catalan language by Franco, but government sponsored culture can sound a bit, er, dodgy. Now a growing movement of bands spearheaded by La Brigada, Manel and Mishima are making music "En Catala" a cool place to hang out

Alongside the vanguard of bands (and you can listen to a whole album by La Brigada and some great singles from Manel), there's also...
El Petit de Cal Eril
Pitjor Estàs Tu
El Amics de les Arts

.......and a whole bunch more.... facebook link to a fan page for new Catalan music
posted by RegMcF (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
very neat stuff but i could have done without your first sentence of the FPP. it distracts from what this should be about, which is how hilarious that Manel video is.

lol 'veritas' hat
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:25 AM on February 18, 2010

ok this is my new favorite: manel's cover of pulp's "Common People"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:31 AM on February 18, 2010

It's only 9.30 am for me and already it's an awesome day on mefi
posted by Think_Long at 7:33 AM on February 18, 2010

Nice post, but I also have a problem with the first sentence. If it's done nothing else not porn-related, the internet has opened doors leading to every dark recess of the music world. The homogenous part is music radio/tv, and that's only because they can't compete for the attention of consumers with any breadth of taste at all.

As an example, check out $50.00 and your album is posted to iTunes and 18 or so other music stores. You keep all rights and royalties. There's no promotion, of course, but just about anyone can afford to make and distribute an album.
posted by Huck500 at 7:55 AM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

These are fabulous. Thanks!
posted by Forktine at 7:55 AM on February 18, 2010

(Though I also agree that the first sentence is both wrong and unnecessary. Still, that's a minor quibble compared to the fun music.)
posted by Forktine at 7:56 AM on February 18, 2010

I think my point was meant to be what Huck500 posted - that actually there are entire swathes of unheard, unreported music out there which are now readily accessible - in contrast to Pitchfork's distorted view of the universe.

I shall attempt to edit myself better in future, and have given myself a stiff talking to in the meantime.
posted by RegMcF at 8:08 AM on February 18, 2010

La Trinca (1969) doing a cover of Lily The Pink.
posted by elmono at 9:20 AM on February 18, 2010

As for the "suppression and banning" of Catalan, Basque or Galician under Franco: where these languages marginalised and their use discouraged by all sorts of chicanery and unpleasantness? Yes, certainly. Where they banned? Nope. Franco was nasty, but he didn't hold power for forty years by being stupid. Spanish may have been the only language for education, official communications, and public signage (just like French in neighbouring France, where both Catalan and Basque are spoken by significant minorities), but the public (never mind private) use of other languages was never banned, because such a ban would have been unenforceable and counterproductive (Franco was Galician himself, so he knew that well enough).

The "ban" is actually an enduring chestnut that Catalan nationalists regularly trot out when confronted when their own current repressive policies against the use of Spanish, in particular in public schools. It must be noted that the population of Catalonia is divided about 50/50 between native Catalan speakers and native Spanish speakers. The "Catalan language promotion" policies, which oscillate between the nasty (making public education in Spanish virtually impossible), the expensive (paying Microsoft for the development of a Catalan version of Windows) and the downright silly (forcing cinema owners to screen a quota of movies dubbed into Catalan), are otherwise indefensible. Especially if you consider that Catalan is just as healthy in the neighbouring regions of Valencia and the Balearics, which are also Catalan-Spanish bilingual, but don't impose these policies on their populations. (Although Valencian politicians show a particular silliness of their own by insisting, against all evidence, and really just for the purpose of annoying their Catalan neighbours, that "Valencian" is a distinct language from Catalan).

And BTW, the late 80s/early 90s was fifteen years after Franco's death, the Spanish transition to democracy and the start of the co-official status of Catalan in those regions.
posted by Skeptic at 10:22 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

the public (never mind private) use of other languages was never banned

Sorry, Skeptic, but that's just wrong. All public use of Catalan was banned until the early 60s. In the 40s and 50s, publishing in Catalan was punished by prison terms, and I know someone who was arrested for speaking Catalan in the street in Barcelona. After a few hours of detention and interrogation, he got off with a fine. Outside of Barcelona, there was a lot less enforcement, and people in small rural towns, many of whom didn't speak much Spanish, continued to speak Catalan.

By the early 60s, things had started to progressively relax. In 1964, my father-in-law made the first radio broadcast in Catalan, after Franco allowed him to come back from exile in France on the condition that he never speak about politics. A couple of years later he started publishing some of the first articles in Catalan, as well as some Catalan translations of American rock songs. In the 70s, it's true that people in Barcelona could speak Catalan with relative impunity, which may account for your mistaken impression.
posted by fuzz at 11:11 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thanks for joining in Skeptic, but I haven't "trotted out" any argument, as any quick perusal of Wikipedia ("Under the Franco dictatorship Catalan was, until the 1970s, excluded from the state education system and all other official and public use. During the 1940s the use of Catalan was restricted to private conversations, and the publication of books in Catalan was forbidden") would have told you. Stopping the publishing of books sounds like a ban to me?

I think you're making some sort of point about Franco being great, but I'm assuming you're joking and are actually just patronising me about not knowing the difference between 1975 and 1989? This post is about music. The late 80s is when Rock Catala was supported by the Generalitat. As it wasn't supported until then, what's your point exactly?
posted by RegMcF at 11:22 AM on February 18, 2010

what fuzz said, he put it much more eloquently than me and from first hand experience. Thanks fuzz!
posted by RegMcF at 11:26 AM on February 18, 2010

I think you're making some sort of point about Franco being great

WTF? Go read my previous post, and see what I said about him: NASTY, BUT NOT STUPID. The man seized power and ruled the country for forty years until he died of old age. Obviously he wasn't stupid. But admitting that isn't the same as admiring him.

Now, as for the ban. Please point me to a specific law, statute or even proclamation banning the use of Catalan. Sure it was discriminated against and repressed, but it wasn't banned. In the 40s to 60s you could get arrested in the street anywhere in Spain for no better reason than that the policeman didn't like your face, never mind your language. My point was exclusively that I don't like historic fallacies, especially when they are perpetuated with the purpose of justifying dubious current policies.
posted by Skeptic at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2010

Not sure I agree with your logic - Kim Il Sung is a genius? IMHO being a dictator doesn't equate with an IQ level, it equates with being ruthless.

The point you are making seems (again IMO) to be somewhat pedantic - no books could be published in Catalan (unless they were religious or supported the regieme), you could be arrested for speaking Catalan, you couldn't record songs in Catalan, but you are arguing that this is not technically the same as a ban, as it was just enforced by the state by force without support of formal legislation? To be honest, that actually sounds even worse to me...

Nobody in this post or in any of the new bands listed has been stating anything "with the purpose of justifying dubious current policies" - you are talking about an extremely complicated issue of national identity which, unless you live in Catalunya, you have little potential to understand let alone empathise with (see your comment "Catalonia is divided about 50/50 between native Catalan speakers and native Spanish speakers" which is a hugely complex issue). You seem to have missed the point that the bands being discussed aren't singing about Catalan nationalism, they are just singing in Catalan, which, in case I wasn't making it clear, was the point of the post.
posted by RegMcF at 12:38 AM on February 19, 2010

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