Joint Creativity: Leitmotif of the 19th Fira Mediterrània

The Manresa-based performing arts fair is scheduled to take place this year from 6 to 9 October, with more than 100 companies,38 world premières and 12 co-productions Fira unveils the unique project Cadàver Exquisit, a collaborative artwork by David Carabén, Mercè Sampietro, Cabo San Roque and Toni Mira

The Manresa-based performing arts fair is scheduled to take place this year from 6 to 9 October, with more than 100 companies,38 world premières and 12 co-productions

Fira unveils the unique project Cadàver Exquisit, a collaborative artwork by David Carabén, Mercè Sampietro, Cabo San Roque and Toni Mira

Three world premières will open Fira: Cadàver Exquisit, a Norwegian production based on vertical dance and the latest initiative by the accordion players Kepa Junkera and Chango Spasiuk

Dance plays a pivotal role in Fira with productions by the Norwegian dance company FRIKAR, the company Mariantònia Oliver, Tata Malaby Enric Montefusco, and a flamenco performance designed for outdoor public places with Leonor Leal and Daniel Doña

Original types of theatre will be showcased in new projects by Toni Gomila, Guillem Albà& Clara Peya and Roland Olbeter

Fira highlights the prolific output of the Catalan music scene with music from Mayte Martín, Sanjosex & Carles Belda, Chicuelo & Mezquida, ASPENCAT and Coetus with Carles Dénia

The performing arts fair will showcase both national and international music: Rozalén; the Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia; the Congolese group Baloji; the Lebanese ensemble Bachar Mar-Khalifé; and the Algerian band Djmawi Africa

Activities geared towards industry professionalsare structured across four main areas: knowledge, new performing arts projects, international scope and innovation

Tickets go on sale from 5 July


Barcelona, 5 July 2016 · From 6 to 9 October, Manresa is once again set to becomethe country's nerve centre, with more than 100 performing arts companies, around1000 industry professionals and some 300 activities, including 38 world premières and 12 co-productions.  Joint creativity is this year's leitmotif, promising an event in which communities, public organisations, artists and industry professionals play a part in creative projects promoted by Fira that use collaborative working methods. What Bertolt Brecht described as 'knowledge sharing' –giving rise to 20th century avant-garde theatre– is highly relevant to the current milieu.

This year’s leitmotif is directly relevant to one of Fira's main driving forces: popular culture -that is within the reach of everyone, with a contemporary vision, representing a convergence of tradition, innovation and participation. The initiative that best reflects this philosophy is Fira's latest remarkable project, Cadàver Exquisit, a collaborative work by David Carabén (lead singer of Mishima), the actress Mercè Sampietro, the sound creation group Cabo San Roque and the artist Toni Mira.


At the start of the 20th century, the Surrealists invented a range of games based on joint creativity, known as Exquisite Corpse. The game consisted of creating a piece of art by different people in sequence, who did not know what the person before them had done. The end result was a mix of drawings by several people in a single artwork. Taking the idea of Exquisite Corpse as its premise, Fira Mediterrània invited four artists to take part in creating a show, as part of an entertaining and collective process.

Accordingly, David Carabén wrote a poem inspired by images based on the concept of the town festival. Mercè Sampietro recited it and Cabo San Roque composed a piece of music to go with the recital. Toni Mira is using this material to design a choreography and a series of audio-visuals for a community project with the Manresa giants’ troop and a senior citizens group. The artists have based their creations on the artwork given to them by the previous artist, without knowing what it was about, who had done it or what the work had been motivated by, either emotionally or creatively. The result will be showcased three times throughout Fira in Plaça Major on the 6, 7 and 8 October.

Another example of joint creativity is the mosaic of flowers by the Federació de Catifaires de Catalunya, based on the work of the Italian graffiti artist Agostino Lacurci, who designed this year’s Firaposter. It can be seen in Plana de l’Om on the last day of Fira (9 October). In a similar vein, throughout Fira, other processes of collaborative inventivenesswill be on display, ranging from striking artworks based on joint contributions by different artists to a diverse spectrum of community-based creativity.


Cadàver Exquisit is not the onlyopening show. To kick off Fira's four-day programme, a threefold opening event has been planned, featuring three shows that highlight the fair's foundations oftradition, innovation and participation.

On the first day, 6 October at 19.45, innovation is the main focus with a performance by FRIKAR, a Norwegian dance company, specialising in the crossover between contemporary dance and traditional culture. This act consists of vertical dance by the artists on the front wall of the Manresa City Council building, at a height of 30 metres, with live music by the French-Catalan trumpet player Raynald Colom. Following this, at 20.00 in the Plaça Major, participation comes to the fore with the outcome of the Cadàver Exquisit project, which combines video-mapping, joint creativity and community-based dance. Finally, at 21.00 in the Kursaal Theatre's main auditorium, traditionis the focus with Mar de Fuelles, a project that unites the two best accordion players on the planet, Kepa Junkera, with Basque trikitixa, and Chango Spasiuk, with chamamé from Northern Argentina. The three shows are world premieres and co-productions by Fira Mediterrània.


At the end of its programme, Firabrings arevival of Tempesta esvaïda, an exponent of Catalan music heritage, to the stage. It is a lyrical comedy in three acts by Joaquim Serra, a leading Catalan composer from the first half of the twentieth century. The work includes text by Carme Montoriol and orchestral arrangements, performed by the Orquestra Camera Musicae, choir arrangements, performed by the Lieder Càmera, and outstanding solos, sung by Helena Copons, Anna Alàs and Toni Marsol, among others.


While dance has always played an important role in Fira's programme, this year sees dance take on a greater significance than ever before, to demonstrate how movement connects contemporary and traditional creativity. Thus Fira unveils: Leahkit, another dance-based work by the company FRIKAR that has received international acclaim by leading critics; Tata Mala, a musical co-production by Fira and Festival Grec, designed by Enric Montefusco with Sonia Gómez and Los Corderos; and Esvorell, the Fira Mediterrània 2015 creation lab that returns as a show in its own right, based on the lab’s work conducted over the course of the year, with guidance from Sònia Gómez (choreography) and Roberto Oliván (movement).

As far as dance is concerned, Fira also pays tribute to the work of a new generation of choreographers who bring flamenco dance to public areas.In Manresa, spectators can watch two leading exponents of this trend: the flamenco dancer Leonor Leal and the choreographer and Spanish dance expertDaniel Doña, with outdoor performances in the Kursaal courtyard.


By definition, popular culture is within everyone’s reach. Accordingly, Fira features a range of projects that break away from more conventional formats to reach public audiences through innovative channels. Pluja sees two young and renowned artists, the actor Guillem Albà and the pianist and composer Clara Peya, come together in a unique and heartfelt show at L’Anònima, a former power plant in Manresa. The performance offers audiences one of the first opportunities to see this promising initiative.

Also presented in an unconventional way is El Somni de Gulliver, a mechanical opera for automated puppets and vanguard production by the German designer Roland Olbeter, who brings his work to Manresa in a street performance format. Another highlyunconventional act is La Corde Et On by the French group Hydragon, with their entertaining circus show based on aerial rope performance accompanied by music from the traditional diatonic accordion. Finally, another highlight of Fira is Toni Gomila's latest creation and debut performance in Catalonia of Peccatum, based on popular Majorcan tales, in the wake of the artist's acclaimed work Acorar.


The music line-up this year features initiatives promoted by Fira that reflect the current proliferation of music linked to traditional folk music. Performances include: the project by the young pianist Marco Mezquida, with the leading Flamenco guitarist Juan Gómez Chicuelo, in a production by Fira and Taller de Músics; Càntut, the winner of the Teresa Rebull Award for Music Production related to Popular Culture, a work by Carles Sanjosé (lead singer of Sanjosex) and the accordion player Carles Belda, based on the revival of songs from their grandparents' generation; and the performance by Aspencat with the Bages-based orchestra Camerata Bacasis.

Also of noteworthy mention are: the début performances of pieces from the shortly-to-be-released album of the Iberian percussion group Coetus, which embarks upon a new stage of its musical career with the Valencian singer Carles Dénia;and the première in Catalonia of Mayte Martín's recital that pays tribute to ancient Flamenco music.

Fira also showcases the latest projects by: RaüliRosalía (with contributions by Raül Fernández Refree); the Majorcan artist Joana Gomila; the tenor singer Jordi Molina; and Cobla Catalana dels Sons Essencials, with a new dance-based project.


Fira's line-up features an assortment of national and international bands, combining forerunning, trending and emerging artists. Noteworthy gigs include: the concert by Rozalén, a tireless artist on the current Spanish music scene; the 20th anniversary tour of Fanfare Ciocarlia, one of the best and boldest Balkan bands in the world; the Congolese band Baloji with its Afro-European fusion and newly recorded studio album; the young Lebanese star Bachar Mar-Khalifé, who combines electronic and experimental music with Arab poetry; the Belgian duet Belem, featuring cello and accordion, in which complicity and musicality surprise listeners; Fetén Fetén, the Spanish duo that brings their intensive dance session to Manresa; and Uxía i Narf with their repertoire of ballads.

The line-up is rounded off with artists already established and acclaimed in their respective countries,who are currently embarking on their international careers, such as: Djmawi Africa (Algeria); Mazagan (Morocco); Kalàscima (Italy); and the joint project by the avant-garde, Brittany-based folk group Spontus, with the Catalan gralla player Manu Sabaté, in a co-production with Fira Mediterrània.


Fira explores the potential of popular and traditional culture as a means of promoting participation, community based work and connection with the surrounding environment. The programme includes representatives of associated groups that endeavour to make contributions tothe intangible heritage of Catalonia, such as the Xicots de Vilafranca, Banda d’Esparraguera, mosaic making groups from across Catalonia and Esbart Marboleny de Les Preses, among others.The declaration of falles as world heritage is represented with the exhibition Festes de Focals Pirineus. In the same direction, and consolidating the initiative started last year with Focus Vilafranca, Focus Cervera is featured in Fira’s programme, paying tribute to elements of popular culture from the Segarra capital.


An assortment of games, as a means of inspiring people to get involved with culture and of making it accessible to the community in general, will be on show in a central location this year: Manresa's main town square, Plaça Major. Here, people can sample the Xics del Xurrac, a game developed by the specialist company that produces games for use in the street, Tombs Creatius, and a co-production with Fira Mediterrània, which recreates figures based on the human towers tradition. In Plaça Major, little children can also play with the Cucanya de la Plaça Nova from Barcelona, dated 1884, the oldest horizontal greasy pole in existence in Catalonia.


As is customary, Fira addresses the connection between the arts and social transformation with artwork that includes: Toni Mira's contribution to the Cadàver Exquisit, with the participation of different groups from Manresa; the Dance Generation project by the Valencian group Taiat Dansa; the dance initiative by the Basque-Catalan group Colectivo El Brote; and the large scale project Orquestra Integrada, a production for symphonic orchestra, with more than seventy people, including music industry professionals, students, and people with disabilities. On Saturday, 8 October, Fira will present showcases for industry professionals based on applied and community-based arts.


Going beyond just an artistic showcase, Fira is a performing arts fair with an industry focus. For another year running, the Fira business area will be located in the Manresa Technical Museum. Based on the outcome of previous years, this year Fira will boost activities geared towards industry professionals by restructuring them on a temporary basis across four main areas: knowledge, new performing arts projects, international reach and innovation.

In this way, knowledge will be the main topic onThursday, 6 October, at the Professional Conferencein the morning and afternoon. On the morning of Friday, 7 October, a second and more extensiveNew Performing Arts Marketplace will be hosted at different points throughout the business area, consisting of a programme of 20-minute showcases for artists to present productions that are still in their creation phase, or which have been recently gone to stage for the first time. International scope and innovation will be addressed on Saturday, 8 October at the III WINE & FEST FORUM and the International Congress of World and Folk Music, which last year brought together representatives from more than 50 festivals across 3 continents. This year, Wine & Fest will centre on the issue of funding to promote artists performing in other countries (with representatives from Exportation bodies) and the connection between music festivals and humanitarian problems.

At the same time, showcases, speed dating sessionsand project presentations will take place alongside the array of stands to promote contact between event booking agents and companies selling productions.


Fira Mediterrània has a parallel, complementary programme, comprising cultural projects within the fair’s framework to increase the event's overall impact. The 19th Fira features five different initiativeswithin the OFF line up. Three of these are the same as previous years: Estepa Mediterrània, a programme of events run by Casa de la Música, Manresa; Concurs Sons, the live final of a music competition for traditional and folk musicians from the Mediterranean; and Humus Mediterrani, a line-up of emerging traditional and folk bands, organised by the Manresa-based organisation Arrel.

This year, Off Mediterrània will also include: la Xarxa Alcover, the staging of four productions at Els Carlins from the group’s theatre programme, which tours the Balearic Islands, the Valencia region and Catalonia; and the Federació de Grups Amateurs de Teatre de la Catalunya Central that will showcase members' work, also at Els Carlins.