His transgressions will start on the 5th of November with a tenora (Catalan shawm) concert and on the 7th he will lead a choral performance
Multifaceted Valencian artist Carles Santos will be the guest artist at the 12th edition of the Fira Mediterrània of Manresa, which will be held from the 5th to the 8th of November of this year. Inspired by concepts of tradition and contemporaneity, Santos will inaugurate the Fira with a Catalan tenora shawm show and, on Saturday the 7th of November, will present another performance based on the choral tradition of the choirs of Clavé.
Carles Santos is well-known and lauded as a well-rounded artist with a long career as a pianist, as well as embracing many other musical disciplines, including stints as a conductor and as a composer. The sum of these abilities, along with experience and contemplation in other artistic spheres, like cinema and theatre, feed his innumerous scenic, musical and fine arts works, which have earned him international renown for his originality and exactitude. Standing out among recent displays of recognition of his work are the National Prize for Culture and two Max prizes of Scenic Arts for the best musical composition and best musical orchestration for the staging of Tirant lo Blanc.
Tradition and contemporaneity
Tere Almar, artistic director of the Fira Mediterrània since last year, added the ‘guest artist’ as part of the scheduling last year. The objective is to sketch a theoretical and artistic dialogue starting from a concrete theme by using the proposals of the guest artist. In 2008 Manel Vilanova and Leandre Escamilla, directors of the Xarxa Teatre, developed the concepts for the festival and the street shows acting as guest artists. Besides the importance of the tasks of researching and revival of tradition in all their street shows, their proposals also stand out due to their contribution of the concepts of tradition and contemporaneity. And it is here, starting with these two elements –tradition and contemporaneity- that the Fira Mediterrània artistic management felt that it was essential this year to have the contribution that artist Carles Santos could add in this direction and in the world of popular culture.
In the same way that Manel Vilanova and Leandre Escamilla drink from the fountains of popular culture and transfer it to their shows, Carles Santos transfigures it and transforms it. Santos has always been an activist, with an artistic path with great coherence. Born in Vinaròs and studying at the infamous Barcelona Liceu Conservatory, he started out in a conventional career. It wasn’t until he was commissioned to write a composition by the poet Joan Brossa and the resulting joint creative work, that he initiated a new way of understanding music and created proposals that, using popular roots, used all the means within his reach to deck out and create innovative performances and, what not say it, incredibly transgressive.
This year, the Fira Mediterrània wants to speak of that, about how a mature artist with a long and renowned career sees the popular culture of the 21st century. Carles Santos knows about the Mediterranean tradition extremely well and, for this reason, he has the luxury of transgressing it, shaking it up, making us rethink how we have to live this culture in the present day.
Inauguration of the Fair
In the setting of this year’s Fira, Santos proposes an inaugural performance on the 5th of November at the Kursaal Theatre in Manresa starring a tenora shawm sextet. This brass band is deeply rooted in Catalan tradition and the tenora shawm is one of the most popular Catalan instruments in this area. Santos’ objective is to seek new formulas that enrich the incredibly peculiar sound of this instrument, to open up new roads of rediscovery for it. The new tenora project by Jordi Molina (a stable group with the best and most prestigious instrumentalists with a predilection for the tenora) fits in perfectly with this idea. He and Santos have already started brainstorming and will start working on the project during the month of July.
This show is a co-production with the company Amunt Produccions, along the new line of the Fira Mediterrània of Manresa of encouraging and strengthening new complicities with cultural industries in order to reform their role in the artistic market.
The main event of Saturday
In parallel, Santos is also preparing a show based on the choral singing tradition in Catalonia using the work of composer and writer Anselm Clavé (1824-1874) with the so-called ‘Cors de Clavé’. Santos will offer a contemporary look at the ‘Cors de Clavé’ to show how popular culture over time has continued contaminating and enriching with the contributions of outside cultures arriving due to the large migratory movements. Carles Santos will be the composer and conductor of the show, with text by the Catalan poet and artist, also greatly influenced by Brossa and Perejaume.
This performance is co-produced by the Fira Mediterrània of Manresa and the International Music Festival of Torroella de Montgrí, one of the events with the longest and largest history in the country. The absolute first performance will take place as part of the Fira, at the Plaça Major of Manresa on the 7th of November. It will be part of the programme for the 30th Festival of Torroella, in July 2010. This is the first of the co-productions with other festivals that the Manresa market has announced this year, totally fulfilling the new objectives given it by the government in order to strengthen agreements between institutions and events of great prestige.