Amparanoia i Motivés! lead Estepa Mediterrània line-up with their own 20th anniversary projects
The line-up of the 8th Estepa Mediterrània, also known as “Off”, includes 14 performances and 4 international artists
The programme brings together emerging international talent, such as Sutari (Poland) and Aqueles (Occitania), and premières by Sherpah and Achilifunk Sound System with El Gordo del Puro
The 'Off' programme also includes a wide range of talented and, as yet, undiscovered acts from Catalonia
The 8th Estepa Mediterrània establishes the Cases de la Música stage as a consolidated performance venue in Plaça Europa in the afternoon and evening of Saturday 7 October
Manresa, 11 July. In 2010, Estepa Mediterrània was launched as an alternative offshoot of Fira Mediterrània, co-produced with Casa de la Música de Manresa. The line-up aims to reflect the underground scene and broaden artistic horizons based on the concept of the Mediterranean. It also aims to strengthen Fira's connections with the city of Manresa by booking new performance venues in Manresa and promoting stage areas in the city that host live music throughout the whole year. After seven years and more than 75 performances, the 2017 Estepa Mediterrània, now in its eighth year, has a line-up of 14 diverse acts.
Nights at l'Stroika
As part of Fira Mediterrània's 20th anniversary, the 8th Estepa Mediterrània offers a line-up dominated by two big nights at l'Stroika, with shows that also mark the anniversary of two famous album releases. Firstly, on Friday 6 October, the socially inspired music collective Motivés!, which is closely connected to the successful Toulouse-based band Zebda, will give a one-off performance in Spain. The gig is part of the group's extensive tour to mark the 20th anniversary of their album Chants de lutte. Established in 1997 in the racial and cultural melting pot of large northern neighbourhoods in Occitan Toulouse, the band revived legendary songs sung by workers in resistance to 20th century fascism and added their own festive feel. These songs include "Chant des Partisans", "El Paso del Ebro", "L’Estaca" and "Bella Ciao", among others, all of which convey a spirit of protest and call for unity of the people in response to a politically threatening climate at the turn of the century. Twenty years after their initial success, the collective is still going strong. Now, in the context of the current European political climate, they raise awareness of the need to continue singing their repertoire of protest, with new classics such as "A luta continua" and "Sabra ou Chatila". Their tour performances are a sell-out at the biggest festivals in France, and they come south of the Pyrenees for the first time for this year's Estepa.
Friday night will start with the Salento-based band Mascarimirì with Pizzica in Dance Hall Party, a show that brings the traditions, rhythms and folk instruments of Southern Italy, such as pizzica and tambureddhu, to the dance floor, with a Jamaican sound system and electronic beats.
The second event to coincide with Fira Mediterrània's 20th anniversary is Amparanoia's celebratory tour, which marks twenty years since the release of their successful album El poder de Machín. With the legendary Granada-based vocalist Ámparo Sánchez as lead singer, the band's hit album from the late 1990s is guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing in l'Stroika on 7 October. The band will play hits from their extensive repertoire mixed with Latin, Mexican, Arabic and Flamenco music; and the highlight of the night is the track list of El poder de Machín with hits such as “Hacer dinero”, “En la noche”, “Buen rollito” and “Que te den”. As a warm-up before Sánchez takes the stage, the renowned band Hora de Joglar, with their fast swing and upbeat Balkan music, will present their latest album Present, as part of their #GiraGramola tour.
More international names
Estepa Mediterrània continues to showcase first rate and, as yet, undiscovered international artists. Two groups take the spotlight this year. First, the Polish trio Sutari, featuring three female vocalists who deconstruct traditional European folk music by reconverting everyday objects into musical instruments. Second, the Languedoc trio Aqueles, a sensational project based on a revival of music from the inter-war period in the former Languedoc region of Occitan France. In it, they invite audiences to travel back in time, putting on their Sunday best and giving voice to life's woes and joys a cappella.
In no way does the inclusion of international artists in the line-up detract from the contemporary local music scene. This year, Estepa Mediterrània reveals two of the best-kept secrets of contemporary Catalan folk. First, the Catalan artist Sílvia Tomàs performs in a trio and presents her new album Següent Pas. Secondly, the 21st century Catalan rumba group Achilifunk Sound System, headed by Txarly Brown, with the new incorporation of the Suria-based rapper MC El Gordo del Puru, will première their new album X Peteneras. Finally, on the evening of Saturday 7 October, the Cases de la Música stage will host an extensive array of Catalan music. It includes: Bages-based band Sherpah with the début of their latest album H; up-tempo 'wide boy' cobla with the Biflats from Girona; Red Rombo’s rock, rhythm and blues from Barcelona; the Flamenco fusion and Cuban music of Entre Orillas; and Salsa by Maní Picao.
David Ibáñez, artistic director Fira Mediterrània, and Dani Castellano, director of Casa de la Música de Manresa