The 24th Fira Mediterrània: resumption of activity
There will be a new area for professional activity, the ÀreaPRO, in the centre of Manresa.
The official artistic programme includes 65 offerings, of which 41 are premières.
Popular associative cultural activity returns to the Fira.
The Fira Mediterrània, after responding to COVID-19 by offering an exceptional virtual and on-site festival, returns this year to make its 24th appearance, from 14th to 17th October, when it will retrieve some of the activity that was not possible last time because of the pandemic. It will do this without losing sight of the concept of flexibility, without which it would not have been possible to hold the event last time. The organisers therefore plan: to hold the whole festival on the site (with the option of following much of the professional activity on line); to consolidate the centre of Manresa as an area for professional meetings by creating a new professional area (the ÀreaPRO); to revive popular associative cultural activity by means of several offerings in the artistic programme and the creation of the Plaza de la Fira, which will have different stands specialising in popular culture; and to revive Firaescoles (the programme of artistic activities intended for educational centres in the Bages district).
The new ÀreaPRO in the city centre
Professional activity at the Fira will take place in a new area in the centre of Manresa, in which the Pati del Casino will be the epicentre. The ÀreaPRO will be the main place for meetings and exchanges, and thus a point for contacting and dealing, both for the performing arts and for music. The professional hub will include the Taberna de la Fira, the headquarters of Fira Mediterrània (the Casa Lluvià), the Kursaal and Conservatori theatres and the Auditorio de la Plana de l’Om.
65 artistic offerings
The artistic programming leaves behind the 46 performances programmed for last year, and recovers enough to reach the figures of 2019, with 65 offerings, of which 41 will be premières (not including those in the ‘Off’ section which will also be physically present this year).
Jordi Fosas, the artistic director, takes up his artistic project and again orientates his offering along three main strands: young people (with emerging artists who start from the cultural roots as their raw material, and who this year will have outstanding prominence), perspectives (of artists from the contemporary world who usually incorporate a view of the roots into their proposals) and the present (centred this year on the pairing of education and culture). Not forgetting the Fira’s work with the 360 degrees of the roots (starting from the cultural heritage, continuing through the task of associative activity which connects it with society, and arriving in the professional sector).
The prominence of young people
An important part of this year’s programme involves young artists who use cultural roots as their driving force. The focus on emerging talent is very evident when the 24th Fira begins with the première of Trencadís, the first artistic offering of the Orquestra de Músiques d’Arrel de Catalunya (OMAC), composed of 31 young people who have come together in a spirit of innovation and experiment in order to interpret new works inspired by traditional Catalan cultural roots. The first piece performed by the OMAC was composed by Dani López, and here the orchestra accompanies the voice of the Minorcan singer and guest soloist Anna Ferrer, establishing links between the traditional repertoire compiled by Artur Blasco and the contemporary poetry of Juana Dolores, Enric Casasses, Josep Pedrals and Clara Fiol, among others. This offering forms part of the first Obrador d’Arrel de Fira Mediterrània, a programme of accompaniment and support for artists exploring new paths starting from popular cultural roots, and in which other entities and institutions collaborate.
Perspectives on roots
The visual identity of the 24th Fira Mediterrània plays with the polyhedral perspective on roots that defines the Fira Mediterrània. Created by the Kocori design studio, it is related to the concept of visions of roots, folk culture and intangible heritage that characterise the Fira's programme and define its specialisation in relation to other fairs in the cultural sector.
This year, Fira Mediterrània will be screening the documentary ARREL by Zeba Produccions, co-directed by Ester Plana and Quim Rutllant, which analyses this very perspective and how it is created from roots and folk and traditional culture.
Present: culture and education
Fira Mediterrània emphasises a creative root that is not detached from the reality that surrounds us and that, based on folk and traditional culture, can speak politically about the present day. Since 2019, Fira Mediterrània has been putting one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda on the table. In 2019 we reflected on gender issues, in 2020 on cultural sustainability, and in 2021, the binomial culture and education will be the backbone of the Fira's Professional Events and a whole series of artistic proposals grouped in a package of meaning.
Revitalisation of folk culture and associations
Fira Mediterrània, together with the Direcció General de Cultura Popular i Associacionisme Cultural, is preparing a special edition related to folk culture associations, without a doubt, one of the sectors that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. During Fira Mediterrània, a series of conferences will be organised to reflect on the new challenges facing folk culture associations; the most emblematic audiovisual works created by associations during the pandemic will be shown; and performances by folk culture collectives will return to the Fira, all while maintaining compliance with the measures established by the Procicat (The Catalonia Civil Protection Plan). In addition, the Plaça de la Fira is scheduled to be created with various stalls set up by organisations from the world of folk culture and a stage where presentations and small-format musical performances will take place.
Mediterranean world music scene
From beyond our borders, we will have the modern and urban style of young Greek-Sudanese singer and composer Marina Satti, who is heavily influenced by Greek, Balkan and Middle Eastern music; French-Moroccan artist Walead Ben Selim, who will give a poetic musical performance based on the work of Palestinian Mahmoud Darwich; and the five voices of the Occitan group Belugueta, with accompaniment by percussion only, who will find a balance between traditional song and classical harmony in Espigòts.
Andalusians RomeroMartín will display their groundbreaking repertoire of traditional flamenco with an electronic foundation and lyrics by homosexual poets. Manel Fortià, accompanied by Pere Martínez and Antonio Lizana, will present Libérica, a project that seeks to find common ground between traditional Catalan song and flamenco jazz. Which is also the aim of Jordi Fornells and Mario Mas, who will combine flamenco and Catalan folk lyrics.
Xavi Sarrià, former frontman of Valencian band Obrint Pas, will present an emotional tribute to the perseverance, resilience and solidarity of humble people in the form of a documentary concert. We will also have a performance from the winners of the most recent Sons de la Mediterrània competition, Laura Esparza and Carlos Esteban, who will be showcasing their album Espais, an evolution into experimentation without losing that Mediterranean essence. Sandra Monfort will be presenting her latest work, a collection of her own songs with a sound that is simultaneously traditional and avant-garde, Niño Reptil Ángel. Meanwhile, Clara Fiol will champion simplicity on her new work Petiteses.
The selection of world music is rounded off with the pieces that have already been showcased in the Roots Workshop by Guinean singer Nakany Kanté, who will fuse Afropop with the sound of the copla, as well as those of Senegalese singer Momi Maiga, who will present a dialogue of cultures with NIO. We will also have performances by singer Celeste Alías, who will pay tribute to Mexican singer Chavela Vargas and her repertoire of folk music; and not forgetting Pep Camps and DJ Mussol, with Relat de la Mediterrània, a journey around the shores of the Mediterranean based on the conflicts caused by waves of migration.
New productions from the Catalan roots scene
In addition to the debut of the Orquestra de Músiques d'Arrel de Catalunya, at the 24th Fira Mediterrània we will get to see the latest work by duo Tarta Relena, who continue to mix electronics with music of oral tradition and a cappella songs of the Mediterranean. Elvira Prado will also be exploring oral tradition, relating it to the mythical universe of Víctor Català in Més lloc per a la fosca, a collaborative production with Carles Viarnés.
In a more traditional context, there will be two productions by the Obrador d'arrel: the school and family show UllsClucs, based on the music of the Obra del Cançoner Popular, with musical direction from Arnau Obiols and stage direction by Sònia Gómez; along with Almanac 40, a reworking of the debut album by La Murga.
The 24th Fira will also feature the latest offerings from La gravetat de Coulomb, who will be honouring the genre of dance associated with squares and marquees, blending traditional instruments with 21st century harmonies; virtuoso cornamuse player Francesc Sans, who will be showcasing his debut solo project, L'infinit; accordionist Marc del Pino, who will be joined by violinist Coloma Bertran; Niu, who will perform some of the songs compiled by maestro Joan Tomàs for the Obra del Cançoner; Jaume Arnella and Corrandes són corrandes, who will come together to sing about the profession of the musician, and the concert by the Banda de la Federació Catalana de Societats Musicals and the Banda Vila de Falset, who will perform a selection of material from unpublished pieces found in the mines of Priorat, accompanied by dancers from the Associació La Clavellinera.
On a more festive note, we will be able to see performances from El Pony Pisador and their mixture of folk and traditional music from around the world with a strong sense of humour; Biflats, the most rowdy and wild copla collective will showcase their new work, Fanfarrona!; and La Coixinera, who will unveil their new album, more focused on activism than ever but just as festive as always.
Fira Mediterrània's WorkshopLAB'
This year, two work-in-progress projects will be performed. Heura Gaya, Marçal Ramon, Ivó Jordà and Atzur will present pieces collected by musicologist Felip Pedrell for the Cancionero musical español; Adrià Grandia will seek to rework the sonic imaginary of the hurdy-gurdy in RE-.
A perspective beyond the Mediterranean
Fira Mediterrània provides a perspective that goes beyond the main area of its programme, the Mediterranean, to find artists who can offer us an interesting insight into roots music. This year, Tanxugueiras will show us how they have revolutionised Galician folk with their festive and powerful show; Caamaño&Ameixeires are two young Galicians with a folk dance offering that explores the traditions of the Balkans, Brazil and Argentina, they were part of the Off Fira programme last year and, along with Momi Maiga, have made the transition to the official programme, thereby consolidating their arrival on the professional circuit; and not forgetting Amorante, who will take us closer to Basque roots heritage through his most recent solo work, as well as experimenting with the duo Los Sara Fontán.
Bridging the gap between music and the performing arts, we will also have the chance to see Austrian Simon Mayer and his work SunBengSitting, which sees him experiment with song, music and traditional dance.
PERFORMING ARTS AND FOLK CULTURE
Dance and circus
At the 24th Fira, the circus will be represented by creator Vivian Friedrich, who is revisiting the family tradition of artisanal glassmaking in Kristall Bohème [excavación anónima].
The dance programme will open with Simon Mayer and his piece SunBengSitting, which we were unable to watch last year due to the international travel restrictions arising from the pandemic. This approach to contemporary dance that references tradition and roots can also be found in the work of dancer and choreographer Cesc Gelabert, who, alongside Andrés Marín and Jon Maya, will offer interpretations of aurresku, a traditional Basque dance; Beatriu Daniel and Toni Jódar of Explidansa will complete the trilogy on the evolution of dance by examining the way in which contemporary and traditional dance influence each other; Laia Santanach will take a closer look at the traditions that expose the body in Tradere; Lara Brown, will examine the impact of traditional dance on a contemporary body in El movimiento involuntario; Kernel Dance Theatre will work with the traditional figure of the dragon as a conceptual and movement axis in LÒNG; and Miquel Barcelona, through the contemporary dance piece Roges, is conducting a work of research into the cultural legacy of the post-war period.
Two projects will propose a reflection on patrimonialisation. Guillem Mont de Palol and Jorge Dutor will work with students from INS Lluís de Peguera to create a new folklore in El movimient; and Matías Daporta and Begoña Cuquejo will put the bureaucratic system to the test with regard to intangible culture in #spanishwashing – Assaig discursiu, with the aim of considering and making proposals for the declaration of intangible heritage in the processes of collecting movements.
The 24th Fira Mediterrània is also bringing us the opportunity to discover the visions of young Spanish dance and flamenco artists, such as dancer Pol Jiménez, who continues to test the limits of flamenco with Lo faunal; Jose Manuel Álvarez who champions rumba as a social and festive dance for community building with El Rumbòdrom; and Sara Cano and Vanesa Aibar with Todas las noches, which sees them align their journeys of seeking and researching choreography based on the particularities of their personal languages, within the frameworks of flamenco and contemporary dance.
The perspective of the world of associations can be found in the premiere of the new production from the Esbart Sant Martí de Barcelona, which takes us on a vital journey of learning with Fora N9U; the Cercle de Cultura Tradicional i Popular Marboleny will pay tribute to ethno-choreographer Manuel Cubeles on the occasion of the centenary of his birth with La difícil senzillesa, directed by Montse Colomé and Iban Beltran; and the Esbart Dansaire de Rubí, which alongside Manel Camp has adapted Canigó, the work of Catalan writer Jacint Verdaguer, into a ballet.
Theatre and installations
The theatre line-up at the 24th Fira will include newer companies that work with roots and their materials, such as Com un llum, which will present a performing arts piece with traditional songs and dance about laundry room gossip; the multidisciplinary theatre collective Mambo Project, which will offer a participatory experience with Yaya; the two members of the Cía. La Reforma will play 45 characters from Antoni Maria Alcover's stories in Una flor no fa estiu – Versió lliure de La flor romanial; and Martí Sancliment will present Khaled: camí de refugi, a multidisciplinary art installation that centres around the concept of refuge and is based on the experience and stories of seven migrant and refugee artists. Meanwhile, Glòria Ribera, also with a distinctly musical offering, will perform a range of groundbreaking cuplés.
Zum-Zum Teatre, a theatre company for family audiences, will take us on a voyage into memory with Test...amen, a monologue by Ramon Molins for adult audiences; Alberto Cortés and Col-lectiu Loopa! will employ humour and irony to free the audience in a participatory game in La Tontería; Cosinsart will play at humanising the hieratic traits of the giants with the amusing Agigantados, accompanied by the group Geganters de Manresa; and Produccions de Ferro, through the stories of the Manacor neighbourhood of Sa Torre, will be x-raying daily life in the 20th century in Aquell carrer, under the umbrella of Xarxa Alcover.
Family and school proposals
Looking to the present, linking culture and education, are the giant puppet Tomasa, by the Companyia Matito Titelles, and the five shows in the Firaescoles programme, aimed at the region's educational centres: Ganbara Doinuak, by the Basque company Markeliñe, which deals with the importance of preserving our heritage; the true story of Jan Petit, the protagonist of the folk song, as told by the Cia. del Teatre de l'Aurora; the concert UllsClucs, from the Roots Workshop, about the music of the Obra del Cançoner Popular, with musical direction by Arnau Obiols and stage direction by Sònia Gómez; and two productions by Xarxa Alcover: No sé com gloses! a theatrical piece about improvised singing; and the puppet show Sopa de pedres by Engruna Teatre, starring a girl who is forced to flee her country and ends up in a village where nobody wants to share anything with her.
This year, the Fira is also bringing back the Off programme:
The final of the Sons de la Mediterrània competition – run by the Enderrock Group and the Centre Artesà Tradicionàrius, aimed at emerging groups and soloists with Mediterranean folk and roots music proposals – will be held as part of the Fira.
The Humus Mediterrani, organised by D'Arrel with emerging proposals closely linked to roots, will schedule three live concerts.
Casas de la Música will present concerts by three groups selected within the Programa de Apoyo a la Creación, which will be included in the most underground part of the Off programme, the Estepa Mediterrània.
Finally, the Mostra de Grups Amateurs de Teatre de la Catalunya Central, organised by the Federació de Grups Amateurs de Teatre de Catalunya, will include a total of four productions.
The Off selection of Xarxa Alcover, the theatrical circuit that connects the Catalan-speaking territories, is now part of the official programme with three productions inspired by roots from Produccions de Ferro, No sé com glosses! and Engruna Teatre.
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES, IN-PERSON AND WITH A NEW LOCATION
This year these activities are being held in an in-person format and will take place in the new ÀreaPRO, a hub located in the heart of Manresa, which will be centred around the Pati del Casino and will extend to the headquarters of the Fira Mediterrània de Manresa (in the Casa Lluvià) and the Teatre Kursaal, among others.
The focal point on the present, with the relationship between education and culture as the main theme, is the core of the activities aimed exclusively at accredited professionals on the first day of the programme: the professional conferences (organised in collaboration with the Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals, the Direcció General de Promoció Cultural y Biblioteques, which will be held in an intensive session during the morning on 14 October). Among other activities, there will also be a workshop from the COFAE Conversations series, El valor de la cultura en la educación (The value of culture in education), organised by the Coordinadora de Ferias de Artes Escénicas del Estado Español (COFAE).
These activities will be complemented by the Itineraris de Nous Projectes Artístics, which will be both stage and musical and will combine the performance of shows or concerts in a showcase format with presentations of new productions and works in progress, the training session organised by the TTP (Associació Professional de Teatre per a Tots els Públics) #TTPFORMA. L'espai sonor en les arts en viu in the afternoon and quick meetings (arranged between organisers and artists). The professional activities will take place on 14, 15 and 16 October.
The programme will be held in person, but a large part of it can also be viewed via online streaming. This applies to the professional conferences, the COFAE and TTP workshops, a conference on the future challenges facing folk culture on Saturday morning organised in collaboration with the Direcció General de Cultura Popular i Associacionisme Cultural, and some of the quick meetings before the Fira. Furthermore, the Fira will also host an online meeting of the members of the newly created European Folk Network (EFN) to discuss how to access the Creative Europe grant programme for the cultural industries.
The accreditation period for professionals opens today and will remain so during the Fira.
The Rhizomes of the Fira Mediterrània dedicated to Manuel Cubeles, Palmira Jaquetti and Joan Tomàs
Alongside the artistic and professional activities, a number of parallel activities have been planned, organised by various itineraries of packages of meaning, Els Rizomes de la Fira.
The rhizome is an underground stem that grows horizontally in relation to the surface of the soil and has the capacity to produce new shoots and roots from its nodes. Thus, from a node, an artistic project in the Fira's programme, the public will be able to discover individuals from folk culture through shoots and roots in the form of parallel activities such as exhibitions, conferences and/or symposia.
The Rhizomes of the 24th Fira Mediterrània will introduce us to ethno-choreographer Manuel Cubeles, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth; musician and folklorist Joan Tomàs, whose 125th birthday falls on this year; and poet, folklorist, composer and pedagogue Palmira Jaquetti, whose 125th birthday will also be celebrated.
In addition, Fira Mediterrània and the Fundació Convent de Santa Clara de Manresa have organised a food collection. This charitable event will take place on Sunday 17 October at the Teatre Kursaal. To attend the performances of Pol Jiménez at 17:00 and Manel Camp with the Esbart Dansaire de Rubí at 18.30, you must bring your ticket and donate food at the food collection point at the entrance to the theatre between 16.30 and 18.30. The donations will be open to everyone.
Tickets for the 24th Fira Mediterrània will be on sale from 4th September.
THE 24th FIRA MEDITERRÀNIA IN FIGURES
65 artistic offerings on the official programme:
- 34 of music
- 31 of performing arts and popular culture & associative activity
13 dance and circus
5 of associative popular culture
- 42 from Catalonia
- 5 international
- 18 from the rest of the country.