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NewCat_ethnic: Illustrated ruralism

We present the second production by NewCat, a mixed ensemble that combines the sound of traditional Catalan instruments with other musical languages. While in its first production, The New Catalan Ensemble opted to create a link with jazz, this time NewCat has put together a markedly ethnic project aimed to highlight the talent and creativity of the musicians comprising this new group. All in all, NewCat is not only an artistic project, but is also a part of a social commitment to support the training of musicians dedicated to traditional music and increase awareness of the genre. In this regard, the NewCat grant which, in its first year has been awarded to multi-instrumentalist and composer Manu Sabaté, is the best example of this, as is the introduction of its own label —Seed Music Records— created to broaden access to the original music and works by young musicians.

NewCat_ethnic is a septet led by multi-instrumentalist Manu Sabaté who presents a repertoire based, on one hand, upon traditional anonymous pieces but which also includes the compositions by identified authors. At the core of this is the expressive performance by singer Anna Ferrer, participating for the first time in a production focused strictly on traditional music. Musicians such as Adrià Grandia (Tazzuff group) and percussionists Bernat Torras and Martí Hosta (Coetus group) join their talents and experience with that of guitarist Francesc Cardona (Riu group) and Magí Canyelles, tenora and saxophone player who trained at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (and Cobla Sabadell group).

Repertoire:

A la muntanya
Jota dels Gegants de Valls
El Marinero
El poder del cant
Contrapàs Cerdà de St. Pere de Torelló
Ballet de Muntanya
Margarideta
El testament d'Amèlia
La Galindaina, etc.

With:

Manu Sabaté, gralla/clarinets & conductor
Anna Ferrer, voice
Adrià Grandia, viola de roda/gralla/tarota
Magí Canyelles, tenora/sax
Bernat Torras, percussion
Martí Hosta, percussion
Francesc Cardona, guitar

The New Catalan Ensemble, a project with social values

Local and Universal

The New Catalan Ensemble aims to transform something local—Catalan folk music made using traditional instruments from this culture— into a universal experience. NewCat is an ensemble with Catalan roots and international aspirations, capable of seducing a broad public of diverse origin with the color and texture of its music.

Music and Musicians for all Formats

This new ensemble views music as an experrience that can be expressed through all sorts of formats; the idea is not just to aim to perform in large concert halls or at special venues, but also to find different points of contact with audiences. NewCat explores those possibilities in a number of ways: through workshops for people of all ages, designed to teach people about the features of traditional Catalan instruments and how they can naturally fuse their sound and language with a wide range of other traditional musical instruments; educational and family-oriented concerts for groups where the audience witnesses first-hand how the traditional instrument's vibration opens up an understanding that alters pre-conceived notions about it; open rehearsals for more advanced levels, etc. Music understood as a key tool for personal development, but also, and equally importantly, applying an understanding of one's own traditional music as a valid way of opening doors and integrating people from other parts of the world into the culture. Why not?

The Human Factor

All of the musicians that form part of NewCat, with their incentive, experience and professional approach, make up a unique and committed team with regard to this project, which is clearly reflected in the ensemble's concerts and events, where the audience plays a basic and active role in the event.

Repertoire

NewCat's repertoire was chosen with clear goals in mind: first, to encourage the creativity of the musicians in the group, offering a positive framework for premiering newly created music; and also to revisit and offer versions of key pieces (working with the respective ‘canons') of the repertoire which stylistically cover each of the projects (whether classics of modern jazz, pop or traditional music) with a fresh eye and, thus, free of limitations.

Finally, The New Catalan Ensemble aims to cross boundaries by bringing in artistic disciplines in support of a shared effort. Literature played a fundamental role in the group's first project, but following its first concert, NewCat has now added a scenic element to the equation; it is not just about sound —and recognizing the multi-instrument talent of many of the musicians in the group— but also movement, dance, art work and audio visual elements that are included in the projects developed by this established group.

The Mediterranean Feel

The New Catalan Ensemble feels, breathes and exudes its own Mediterranean roots. But it also willingly and consciously keeps a window open to the wider world, taking inspiration from highly acclaimed groups such as The Silk Road Ensemble, who work to maintain dialogue among cultures, drawing thousands of people from around the world into their beautiful and important project.

About The New Catalan Ensemble (NewCat)

The New Catalan Ensemble is an established ensemble shaped with the idea of incorporating the sounds of traditional Catalan musical instruments into other musical genres, using fusion as a vehicle for artistic expression.

One of this new ensemble's most distinguishing features is its flexibility: the group can be enlarged or scaled down to meet the needs of any given project. Musicians with different styles and of different origins bring their respective musical languages together in an exercise that, in this second production, examines ethnic musical roots through a group of young, though experienced musicians. Each brings to the project an individual musical language, offering variations on the harmony, rhythm and tone of each pieces. The ensemble is led by gralla player and composer Manu Sabat, recipient of the first NewCat grant.

In short, The New Catalan Ensemble offers a new sound and rhythmic perspective by bringing together the musicians' different experiences, in search of a new sound that is as experimental as it is close to home.

Mention must also be made of Barcelona-based illustrator Arnal Ballester's valuable contribution to the project, in creating the Catalan Ensemble's brand image and disk label.

Previous NewCat Productions

In its premiere project (2013), The New Catalan Ensemble featured the young singer and instrumentalist Andrea Motis as well as saxophone and bass player Joan Chamorro in the musical and poetic project developed by pianist and composer Joan Daz (five-time award winner as best pianist and keyboard player by the Associaci de Jazz i Msica Moderna de Catalunya and recipient of Ja magazine's Critics Award). An outcome of this first production was the album (Digipack Special Edition and double vinyl for collectors) Coses que es diuen però que no es fan (Discmedi, 2014).

In conjunction with that, NewCat did an 18-concert tour in Catalonia, performing in important venues such as the Temporada Alta festival (Auditori de Girona) and the 25th Mercat de Msica Viva in Vic. The tour also included smaller-format performances, including the closing ceremony of the celebration of Vinyoli Year held at the CCCB-Barcelona Center of Contemporary Culture's new theater.

More than 6,200 of the group's CDs were sold in response to two consecutive live performances held at the Auditori de Barcelona (February 2014), and the disk was also distributed through an exclusive promotion through the La Vanguardia newspaper.

Upcoming shows

Contact

NEWCAT* _ethnic_
Musical Director: Manu Sabat
Executive Producer: Rut Martnez

*Original Idea Joan Daz

Bookings and Management:
Rut Martnez / THE NEW CATALAN ENSEMBLE
Av. del Parc, 15 - 08370 - Calella (Barcelona)
Tel. +34/649 935 371
General information: info@thenewcatalanensemble.com
Booking: management@thenewcatalanensemble.com
Official website: www.thenewcatalanensemble.com

The project NewCat_ethnic has won Popular Culture award from Fundaci Jaume Casademont de Girona: