19 artistic proposals are due to participate in the Fira Mediterrània’s first Roots Workshop

This artistic support and accompaniment programme seeks to explore new ways of exploring our roots and popular culture



This artistic support and accompaniment programme seeks to find new ways of exploring our roots and popular culture

In the search for complicities and market opportunities, the artistic proposals will also receive support from twenty-three organisations, companies and institutions during the co-production

Manresa, 19 May 2021 - The Fira Mediterrània de Manresa is due to present 19 artistic co-productions in its first ever Roots Workshop, conceived as an experimentation and support space for all artists who, in their work, seek to explore their roots from a contemporary perspective. These root-based proposals, which are created from a modern perspective and utilise contemporary language, seek to question modern audiences on current issues. All of these proposals shall be developed in collaboration with other institutions and companies, with a view to creating synergies and complicities between the different actors. Accompanying these proposals and the other activities comprising the schedule of the 24th Fira Mediterrània (due to be held from 14 to 17 October) will be a set of posters created by the Kocori design studio. Together with the Fira Mediterrània, they decided to continue with the same concept as last year’s fair, with three posters reflecting the concept of exploring our roots.

The new Roots Workshop

The Roots Workshop is the Fira Mediterrània’s artistic accompaniment programme for proposals which, based on an exploration of our roots and popular and traditional culture, seek to challenge and encourage us to explore new ways of working.

The Roots Workshop serves three main purposes:

  • To accompany artists in the research, creation, production and exhibition phases of the artistic project. This will ensure a Fira Mediterrània that is creative, provocative, stimulating and supportive of artistic talents and their initiatives.
  • To create a network with other festivals, installations, fairs and spaces around the country with a view to establishing and articulating a circuit and opening up market opportunities for projects that seek to explore their roots and popular culture.
  • To encourage partnerships and encounters between contemporary creators and popular culture associations that facilitate experimentation and the discovery of new perspectives.

14 artistic proposals for 2021

One of the proposals being developed in the Roots Workshop will mark the inauguration of the 24th Fira Mediterrània. This is Trencadís, which is due to be performed by the Orquestra de Músiques d’Arrel de Catalunya (OMAC): a new formation comprising thirty-one young musicians who strive to play Catalan root music with an innovative and experimental spirit. The OMAC’s first performance in Manresa, due to be directed by young composer Daniel López, will be based on post-contemporary Catalan poetry.

UllsClucs, the family-friendly root music proposal by the Obra del Cançoner Popular, under the musical direction of Arnau Obiols and the stage direction of Sònia Gómez, which was performed for the first time last week by the educational service of the Auditori de Barcelona, will also form part of the Fira’s Roots Workshop. Also related to oral traditions, the Obra del Cançoner Popular (set to celebrate its centenary in 2022) and the mythical universe constructed by Víctor Català, the Roots Workshop will also include Més lloc per a la fosca by Elvora Prado-Fabregat, Carles Viarnès, Míriam Encinas-Laffite, Pau Encinas-Lafitte and Laia Fortià.

In the musical field, the Roots Workshop also includes the proposals of the Sabadell-based Guinean singer Nakany Kanté with cobla musicians; Suona meets gralla, which blends the sounds of the Catalan gralla and the Taiwanese suona, with Manu Sabaté, Carles Marigó, Ya-Yuan and Chien-Yun; Almanac, 40 anys, revisiting La Murga’s first album created by the recently deceased Jordi Fàbregas; the transgressive and irreverent version of the cuplé by young performer Glòria Ribera; and the proposal by Senegalese kora player Momi Maiga, accompanied by percussionist Aleix Tobias and violinist Martín Meléndez, which will pay homage to the Mandé people and their encounter with the flamenco culture.

The performing arts will also be represented in the first Roots Workshop through TRA TRA TRA, tradició, transmissió i traïció by Explicadansa, in which Beatriu Daniel and Toni Jodar present the last instalment of the dance trilogy that take us on a journey through the history and evolution of this art form; Tradere, the latest proposal by Àer's choreographer and creative dancer Laia Santanach, who continues to focus her contemporary creative work on her roots and the concept of tradition; Faunus, in which young dancer and choreographer Pol Jiménez combines the faun from Nijnsky’s classical dance with a contemporary language, framed within the boundaries of flamenco; El movimiento involuntario by Lara Brown, which studies the impact of folklore on a contemporary body, using the jota as a choreographic starting point; Lóng, by the Kernel Dance Theatre, which seeks to identify similarities between eastern and western cultures and delves into the themes of identity and tradition, which was being developed during last year’s edition; and (la)Montserrat by Assumpta Mercader and A Piacere Grup Vocal, bringing oral storytelling to the stage in the form of legends about the Montserrat mountain.

Five proposals being worked on for the 2022 edition

The Roots Workshop also includes five proposals in the field of popular culture associations that are currently being developed, which will be performed for the first time in the 2022 edition. These are Reditus – El Pou de la Gallina, a contemporary take on the legend of the La Gallina well using circus language, which is currently being produced on a large-scale format by the Voël Dance Company and the Tirallongues de Manresa human tower group; Correllums, in which Bacum and the devils of Xàldiga will replace traditional devil forks with laser beams in a reversal of the traditional Catalan ‘correfoc’; and Les eines by the Cor Jove Amics de la Unió, which is based on songs for working in the field by the Obra del Cançoner Popular. Also linked to the centenary of the Obra del Cançoner Popular, the Esbart Ciutat Comtal proposes a re-reading of the dances that form part of it; while El rapte, by the Esbart Manresà, offers a journey through the life of Sant Ignasi de Loiola, which will be performed to mark the 500th anniversary of his stay arrival in Manresa.

23 co-producing organisations, companies and institutions in the Roots Workshop

Besides participating in the Fira Mediterrània, these artistic proposals will also be accompanied by other co-producing organisations, companies and institutions in their search for complicities and market opportunities. To date, we have received confirmation from the Sant Cugat del Vallès City Hall, the Tarragona City Hall, the Vilafranca del Penedès City Hall, La Marfà – Centre de Creació Musical, Olot Cultura, the Tradicionàrius, Transversal – Xarxa d’activities culturals, the Auditori de Barcelona, Amb so de Cobla, the Festival de Llegendes, the Girona City Hall – Girona Kreas scholarships, SEED Music, the FiraTàrrega, the Festival TNT (Terrassa Noves Tendències), the Antic Teatre, José y sus Hermanas, the Mercat de les Flors, Esdansa, the National Ballet of Marseille, Dansàneu, El Graner, the Centre de Creació de Dansa i Arts Vives, (a)phònica and Cantùt.

The poster

The Root Workshop proposals and the other productions due to be performed in the 24th edition of the Fira Mediterrània will be accompanied by the image developed by the Kocori design studio, which continues with the concept of intertwined perspectives from last year’s edition. The creative concept of the image, as with last year’s poster, lies in the interaction between artists, audiences and professionals, with an intertwining of perspectives that connects with the polyhedral explorations of our roots that define the Fira Mediterrània. This is linked to the same concept of exploring our roots, popular culture and intangible heritage that is found within the Fira’s schedule, which is what makes it stand out from other cultural fairs.

There are also three versions of the poster for this year’s edition, one for each of the main artistic disciplines in the schedule: roots music and world music; the performing arts; and popular culture and heritage. In the music poster, Adrià Grandia holds a hurdy-gurdy in his right hand. In the other, he holds a strip bearing the laughing eyes of an elderly man, which he uses to cover his own eyes. In the performing arts poster, Sònia Serra of the Esbart Manresà dances as she holds a strip bearing the eyes of a woman of a different ethnicity over her own eyes. Finally, in the popular culture and heritage poster, two ‘castelleres’ of the Tirallongues de Manresa human towers group create a pillar, with the girl at the base holding a strip depicting the surprised eyes of an older girl over her own eyes.

The design studio

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 and worked alongside media outlets such as El Periódico de Catalunya and the www.surtdecasa.com portal, amongst others. She has also worked at the TAANDEM design studio in Manresa and at the Maripili Comunicació advertising agency in Barcelona. As well as being creative director of the design study, she also works as an associate lecturer at the Escola Superior de Disseny (ESDI) in Sabadell and forms part of the new Manresa-based start-up company, Flaps.