The Fira Mediterrània promotes 24 submissions for the 2022-2023 Roots Workshop.
This second Workshop includes proposals connected with Manresa 2022, the 25 years of the Fira, the Popular Songbook and the Plan to Promote Traditional Dance, among others.
The international Workshop was created to foster relationships and the exchange of knowledge among Catalan artists and foreign artists.
In their search for co-operation and audiences, the artistic proposals will receive support from 25 organisations, companies and institutions.
The Fira Mediterrània de Manresa includes 24 artistic proposals within the 2022-2023 Roots Workshop. The Workshop, which was created last year, is a programme of accompaniment and support for artists who work with popular and traditional culture from a contemporary perspective. The new Workshop includes proposals connected with Manresa 2022, the 25 years of the Fira, the Popular Songbook (which celebrates its centenary this year) and the Plan to Promote Traditional Dance, among others. In this second year, the international Workshop was created with the aim of fostering relationships and the exchange of knowledge among Catalan artists and foreign artists.
In this space for experimentation, the proposals are given expression in collaboration with other institutions and organisations, with the aim of generating synergy and understanding among the various actors in the cultural sector, thereby boosting their viability and mobility. These offerings, together with the other activities included in the programme of the Fira, the 25th occurrence of which will be between 6th and 9th October, will be accompanied by a poster designed once again by the Kocori studio. On this occasion the Fira will be concerned with the concepts of root, seed, popular culture and contemporaneity, and one of Manresa’s capgrossos (large carnival heads) will play an important part.
Three areas of work
The 2022-23 Workshop will follow on from the accompaniment programme created last year, and will continue to work in three areas:
- Accompanying the artists in the research, creation, production and exhibition phases of their projects.
- Creating a network incorporating other festivals, equipment, fairs and sites all over the country in order to set up venues for all of these projects.
- Encouraging partnerships and meetings between contemporary creators and popular culture associations.
The Workshop’s proposals for the opening and closing of the Fira
The commitment of the Fira to these experimental proposals is evidenced by the fact that both the opening show and the closure are included in the programme of accompaniment. In both cases the street will play a special part, in a year which celebrates 25 years of Fira and has a clear desire to proclaim the retrieval of the public space after two years of pandemic.
With regard to the opening, after six years the Fira has chosen to return to the street, with a large-scale show which combines circus, music and popular culture and connects with the holding of Manresa 2022, which commemorates 500 years since the sojourn of Ignacio de Loyola in Manresa. It is called El Pou de la gallina, by the Voël Dance Company, and it reviews the Manresan legend through the contemporary language of the circus together with the colla castellera (human tower) Tirallongues de Manresa.
The closure of the 2022 Fira will be a sonorous gift to celebrate the 25 years of the Mediterrània. The Fira is defined by its dialogue between tradition, contemporaneity and the city of Manresa. Narro offers us a sonorous encounter with that dialogue through Pau Benítez, a flabiol player who draws on tradition, and through Joan Cot, a composer of electronic music. They will both explore the Fira Mediterrània and Manresa through sound. This three-way dialogue in sound will be recorded during the four days of the Fira. It will be the gift of the 25th Fira Mediterrània and will be shared with the whole world.
The Popular Songbook at the Workshop
Taking advantage of this year’s celebration of the centenary of the Popular Songbook, the Workshop includes several proposals which base their repertoire on the compilation’s immense legacy of traditional songs. One of these proposals is Les eines, by the Cor Jove Amics de la Unió de Granollers, which recalls the melodies that could be heard during work in the countryside in the early twentieth century, with arrangements and live musical accompaniment by David Soler and Marcel Bagés. Another is Solc, by Esbart Ciutat Comtal and Arnau Obiols, which is centred on the missionaries who undertook the research work of the Obra.
Proposals from the Promotion Plan at the Workshop
Within the Workshop, the Fira Mediterrània accompanies four proposals from the Plan to promote traditional dance that was launched by the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and which is supported by the Fira itself, the Agrupament d'Esbarts Dansaires, the Ésdansa and Dansàneu festivals, the Federació d’Ateneus and the Mans de Catalunya Ràdio programme.
El Rӕpte, by the Esbart Manresà, seeks a parallel between the transformation of traditional dance and current society and the transformation of San Ignacio during his stay in Manresa 500 years ago. Artistic direction is by Jordi Aspa and Bet Miralta (Escarlata Circus), music is by Joana Gomila and Laia Vallès, and advice on movement is from the choreographer Anna Romaní.
The Workshop also accompanies the first professional projects of young people from the world of traditional dance. Flor de maig, with the dancers Xavier Gumà and Verònica Hernàndez, fuses ‘roots’ dance with urban and contemporary dance, reading the legend of La Dama de Can Fàbregues with a contemporary approach to gender. This exercise is also performed in L'Esbord of Pere Seda in L'Hereu Riera. Also included in this section is I potser sentiràs el campanar, the dialogue of the dancers Roger Cusidó and Lali Mateu with LA COMPAÑÍA MINIMíssimA.
The international Workshop
In this second workshop, the international Workshop has been created to foster relationships and the exchange of knowledge among Catalan artists and foreign artists. In the field of stage arts, the Taiwanese lady Lin I-Chin, the choreographer and director of the dance troupe Bare Feet Dance Theatre, will work with several Catalan artists to transmit knowledge about how to work with traditional dance in a contemporary manner. International dialogue also occurs in other proposals, such as ficus indica, with the Occitans Rodin Kaufmann and Loís Pezet, the Majorcan Maria Hein and the Catalan Azucena Moya. This is a performance of music and poetry which gives new meaning to the figure of the troubadour in the contemporary world, and which shows the cultural link between Occitan and Catalan. And in 4132314, with the Catalan duets Los Sara Fontán and Tarta Relena, and the Occitans Cocanha, who propose a musical show which approaches the world of textile from its work songs.
More stage arts in the Workshop
The Roots Workshop includes other stage arts proposals. Particularly noteworthy is the proposal of the dancer Israel Galván, who, accompanied by the choir of treble children’s voices of the Escolania de Montserrat, is inspired in Seises by the traditional dance of 10 children in Seville Cathedral, in one of the most eagerly awaited performances in Lent.
Bácum and Xàldiga, in Correllums, revert to the Devils’ Dances and Correfocs, replacing the devils’ pitchforks by forks of laser light. The Factoria Mascaró, the Marcel Casellas Trio and Garazi Goñi link the figures of the Cuban composer and pianist Manuel Saumell and the composer and promoter of cobla and tenora music Pep Ventura in the performance of music and dance called Saumell-Ventura.
In Solar, the theatre troupe Mos Maiorum will offer a cathartic ritual with real testimonies speaking about the problem of the deregulation of energy transition in the countryside. Assumpta Mercader and En Piacere Grup Vocal, in (La)Montserrat, will bring to the stage an oral narration based on the legends about the mountain of Montserrat, in order to speak to us about mental health. And finally, Zum-Zum Teatre invites us to go on a journey to re-visit the roots and memories of an entire life in Test... ament.
Music in the Workshop
The Workshop also has other musical offerings. The trio Marala is preparing a new record, with deep tones and not-so-clear sonority, to sing to death as godmothers do, allowing space for electronics and organic sounds. In Re·Romanç, Heura Gaya, Marçal Ramon, Ivó Jordà and Atzur will bring into the present day the research work of the musician Felip Pedrell in the Cancionero musical español. The centenary of his death is being commemorated this year. Adrià Grandia, together with Carlos Martorell and Anna Romaní, will reconstruct the traditional sonic imagination in RE-. And Jaume Aiats, in La balada de Solé Sugranyes, will present a pocket opera of polyphonies to trace the last years in the life of the anarchist Oriol Solé Sugranyes.
Under the label WorkshopLAB, the Roots Workshop includes three proposals which this year are in the process of creation, and will be brought out in 2023: Condens, a reflection of the dancer and choreographer Magí Serra which is based on the artistic transhumance performed at the Fira of two years ago with Arnau Obiols and Pere Camps in Brots Transhumants; Vocal Roots, in which Maria Coma goes in search of roots in order to reconnect with Nature, and Foradada, de Moll de l’os by Àfrica Llorens, a proposal which combines circus and crafts, and which starts with the legend of Montserrat in order to consider the subject of gender.
25 entities, companies and institutions co-producing the Roots Workshop
Apart from the participation of the Fira Mediterrània, in the search for co-operation and audiences, and apart from specific support from the Direcció General de Cultura Popular i Associacionisme of the Catalan Ministry of Culture, these artistic proposals will also have the support of other co-producing entities, companies and institutions. So far, confirmations have been received from: Mercat de les Flors, La Marfà – Centre de creació musical de Girona, l’Institut Ramon Llull, el Festival de Llegendes de Catalunya, (a)phònica (Festival de la Veu de Banyoles), el Festival Càntut (Cançons de tradició oral), el Teatre Auditori de Granollers, el Museu de la Vida Rural, el Grec Festival de Barcelona, la Fabra i Coats, el Festival Folk Internacional Tradicionàrius de Barcelona, el FIMPT de Vilanova i la Geltrú, +SilO+ Centre de Création Coopératif Dédié aux Musiques du Monde et Traditionelles en Occitanie, Mallorca Literària, el festival Ésdansa de Les Preses, Dansàneu – Festival de les cultures del Pirineu, Fem Dansa de la APdC, l’Ajuntament de Sant Pere de Riudebitlles, la Espona Centre de Dansa, el Hop Festival, el Théatre de la Ville de Paris, la Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, el Teatro de La Pergola – Fondazione Teatro della Toscana, el Centro de Cultura Contemporánea Conde Duque and MA scène Nationale del Pays de Montbéliard.
The poster for the 25th Fira Mediterrània
The Fira has again entrusted the design studio Kocori with the design of the poster for its 25th appearance. This year it proposes a dialogue between popular culture and contemporaneity, a binomial which defines the Fira Mediterrània. We can see this dialogue in the central figure, one of Manresa’s capgrossos dressed in modern clothes and with the body of Xavier Gumà, one of the young people who take part in the Promotion Plan, and who is also one of the artists in the Roots Workshop. On the poster we also find a root and a seed, represented by two large-scale fragments of the new logo of the Fira Mediterrània, which has updated its image for the 25th anniversary.
The design studio
The graphic designer and photojournalist Anna Bruguès is the founder and creative director of the Kocori photography and design studio in Manresa. In her career to date, Brugués has collaborated with media such as El Periódico de Catalunya and the www.surtdecasa.com portal, among others. She currently combines her creative managerial work at the studio with work as UX Manager at Nuclia, the Manresan start-up company specialising in the development of new technology for searching by computer.