Gerona Xevi Planas (Vic, 1964), one of the leading scholars of the New Song, spoke yesterday at the Museum of History of Girona of the bond that the artist and thinker Damià Escuder had. The New Song and other subversions of the years & # 60;is the title of the conference, within the cycle of activities parallel to the exhibition Damià Escuder, all lives. "The New Song was a state structure in the field of the song that has educated with the republican values", explains this song reporter and journalist, who in 2010 was the curator of the exhibition The new song. The voice of a people at the Museum of History of Catalonia.
What link did Damià Escuder have with the new song?
Pau Riba i Sisa, two of the most heterodox singers of the New Song, recognizes Damià Escuder as her spiritual guide. Damià Escuder was a visionary and universalist thinker of Girona who introduced them in the spirit of counterculture at a time when the subversive currents active in Europe and the United States came very late and with great difficulty to the Catalan countries.
Was the New Song a counter-cultural movement?
The New Song was a cultural and artistic initiative with a very strong political component that aimed not only at fighting the dictatorship of Franco in the 60s, but also at creating a state structure on a song that would educate the population with republican values. The main singers of the New Song have become reference artists for ex-officio colleagues all over the world. Pete Seeger admired Raimon and Xesco Boix a lot. Paolo Conte feels indebted to Lluís Llach because he helped him to project internationally. Caetano Veloso believes that Pau Riba is the most tropicalist singer there is. Pablo Milanés dedicated a song to Quico Pi de la Serra. And we would still find other examples such as those of singers of universal prestige who have taken the influence of Catalan singers, of whom they have learned many things.
How has the New Song been articulated as a state structure?
One of the great conspirators of the New Song was Ermengol Passola, father of director Isona Passola and owner of Mobles Maldà. Not only was he an exceptionally generous patron, but he also became a key ideologist to give the New Song some platforms of expression with a vision of the future. Shortly after having founded with other patrons, the first record in Catalan, Edigsa, saw that it was necessary to found another to publish the album in Catalan even more often. Thus was born Concèntric and, in turn, the Cave of the Dragon, where they debuted Lluís Llach and some other exponents of the Nova Cançó. Concèntric published so many records in Catalan that the great international record companies with a delegation in Barcelona also ended up publishing Catalan records thinking they would do business. There were also Italian singers and other states that published albums in Catalan. Subsequently, publishers with an international system have seen that the albums of La Trinca, Joan Manuel Serrat, Lluís Llach, Raimon and a few other Catalan singers were economically viable only in Catalonia.
And the Dragon Cave, what is the role that played in that context?
It was a Pharmacy that Ermengol Passola opened in the middle of the 60s on the road to Tuset, the epicenter of Barcelona night at that time. He opened for acting in a small format, singers, actors and artists mimere (there was where the company was released Els Joglars) to prepare for when it was possible to have a TV in Catalan.
¿Josep Maria Espinàs and other cultural figures of the country were connected?
Josep Maria Espinàs went out every evening to present the show that had been planned. And at the end of the show he went out again to greet the audience and say this: "If you liked it, please recommend it to all your friends, and if you do not like them, please let your enemies know. however, they recommend performances in Catalan to everyone ". In Franco's full dictatorship, what was involved was promoting initiatives aimed at making the Catalan voices heard through the song. The most popular New Song artists were actually the ambassadors of the Catalan countries in the world, especially in the 60s and 70s.
The Catalan public administrations were sufficiently sensitive to the contribution of the new song?
In general, no. Paradoxically, Jordi Pujol was one of Edigsa's patrons and, on the other hand, when he was president of the Generalitat, he did not develop a consistent policy in terms of song. Carles Puigdemont, on the other hand, was the first person he found essential to establish the Center de la Cançó, a space around the song that is an international reference and, in the first place, transmit the song in Catalan of all time. He had this idea in October 2002, when he was not yet involved in politics and was appointed director of the Casa de Cultura de Girona. Due to various circumstances, this old project can not be specified either when he was mayor of Girona or when he was elected president of the Generalitat. I know, however, that he trusts that the Song Center is a reality not too distant a day. Both the current president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, and the mayor of Girona, Marta Madrenas, mean that the Center of the Song opens its doors to Girona as a state-level structure in terms of songs like the New Song at the moment. It will be right that the artists and drivers of the New Song who are alive can see this center soon.