Rome City Council and Fira Mediterrània of Manresa join forces for a European project

With the support of the Culture programme of the European Union

With the support of the Culture programme
of the European Union


  • Catalonia will work with Greece, Italy, Estonia and Portugal
  • For the first time, Fira will be getting funding directly from the European Union

The internationalisation plan currently being pursued by Fira Mediterrània of Manresa Foundation now has a first-rate strategic ally, Rome City Council, a partnership that will result in funding for overhead costs incurred by the event. The project ‘FolkMus – Young musicians and old stories, folk music in musEUms and more’ led by Rome City Council is co-funded by the European Union under the Culture Programme with a contribution of 162,140 euros. Five countries are taking part in the project: Greece, Italy, Estonia, Portugal and Catalonia. The basic project aims are to set up all kinds of exchanges between the partners to produce a repertoire built on the cultural and musical roots of the various countries involved, with new adaptations of traditional tunes creating sounds played by young musicians on old instruments. The main themes running through the project are traditional forms of narration. Work is focusing on researching traditions in each of the partner countries to find similarities and differences in the instruments and music played in northern and southern Europe.

The musicians involved are aged between 20 and 30, and they have to show that they can handle new technology as well as speak English, which is the working language for the project. The outcomes will be disseminated at various events in Estonia, Italy, Portugal and Catalonia, as well as on a CD recorded at a studio in Greece. The project is expected to last for two years, to November 2014, when the final outcomes will be presented in Manresa at Fira Mediterrània by the musicians and by representatives from the partner organisations involved in the project. The project’s artistic director is Italian Erasmo Treglia. The first meeting is due to take place in July at a well-established event, the 21st Viljandi Folk Music Festival in Estonia. The five-day programme includes two concerts and a network meeting. This is one of the biggest and most influential festivals in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The second and third meetings are planned for autumn 2013 in Portugal and Rome. The Rome concert will be held as part of an event centred on music in the city's great heritage attractions, with around 30,000 people expected to visit on that day alone. After this, the next date on the project agenda will be during the winter, at the Zampogna Festival, also in Italy, a music and cultural event focusing on the cornamuse. In June 2014, the CD will be recorded on the Greek island of Santorini, after which it will be launched at Manresa in front of more than a thousand professionals who register for Fira Mediterrània every year.

The project will provide funding for overhead costs in each of the partner organisations involved, all of whom are providing their own human and technical resources to make the venture a success. Project funds will also pay the fees, travel, accommodation and meals for the ten musicians and the partner representatives, plus production and publicity costs for each performance. Institutions, organisations and companies taking part are Rome City Council (project leader and coordinator) and Zètema Progetto Cultura i Archivio Aurunco in Italy; the Estonian Traditional Music Centre in Estonia; the Cyclades Region in Greece; Orfeu Associação Cultural in Portugal; and Fira Mediterrània of Manresa in Catalonia. The link with Rome City Council is particularly important, not only for its symbolic value, but also because Zètema is the City Council company in charge of museums, libraries, cultural and tourism services plus all kinds of public entertainment events and several European projects. This partnership will foster working relationships with top-notch international culture professionals.

Catalans taking part

Catalonia has put forward two musicians for the project, selected by Fira's artistic management and approved by the project’s musical director in Rome. They are Pau Figueres and Manu Sabaté. Pau Figueres is a multidisciplinary creative guitarist. He composes his own music and works both live and in the recording studio with various solo artists and groups. He plays Spanish guitar, electric guitar, classical guitar and acoustic guitar, with a highly-refined technique that blends various styles and shows off his incredibly versatile musical skills. Born in 1989, he studied classical guitar from the age of eight and throughout his studies at the Catalonia Higher School of Music (ESMUC) where he was taught by Zoran Dukic, one of the greatest guitarists of our time. His degree in classic guitar has enabled him to approach music from a range of different angles and performing styles, understanding and studying the guitar as an instrument that has no boundaries. His original music is a reflection and result of his various perspectives on the guitar. He started working as a live and recording studio musician when he was sixteen. Since then he has played at a number of recording sessions and has worked alongside many artists from all kinds of musical backgrounds and styles. He has performed as a classical soloist, as orchestra soloist, as soloist with a string quartet, in chamber music groups, rock bands, as backing musician for singers (in groups and solo), in world music groups and with flamenco jazz, pop and folk groups as well as with all kinds of other groups. He has played alongside famous musicians from Barcelona, Catalonia and Valencia, and he has performed and recorded tracks in various other countries, including  the UK, the Spanish State, Germany, France, the USA, Finland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. In 2007 he won the Premi d’Honor top award at the Badalona Professional Music Conservatoire; in 2005 he won First Prize in the Sant Anastasi competition held in Lleida; and in 2009 he was awarded Second Prize and the Audience Prize at the Certamen Llobet classic guitar competition in Barcelona. As far as modern music is concerned, he studied jazz guitar with the great guitarist Dani Pérez, jazz piano with Joan Aymerich, flamenco technique with Rafael Cañizares and Juan Manuel Cañizares, and he learned jazz concepts with Horario Fumero, Carme Canela, Gorka Benítez, Andreu Zaragoza, Bob Reynolds, Ben Monder, Jaume Llombart and Wayne Krantz, and many others. His multi-style technique is a mix of classic and flamenco techniques, but he also uses the American fingerpicking style as well as the plectrum and the slide. 

In Pau he worked with: Green House Studio, Adri González Band, Aleix Tobias, Alfonso Vilallonga, Borja Penalba, Brian Dunning, Carles Belda, Carles Dénia, Carme Cuesta, Collectif-Pops, Dagoll Dagom, Dani Espasa, Domini Màgic, Eduard Iniesta, electro@fro, Eliseo Parra, Feliu Gasull, Feliu Ventura, Gemma Abrié, Gemma Humet, Isa Mirallas, Joan Amèric, Jimmy Malla, Judit Neddermann, La Carrau, La Crem, La Mort du Cygne, Lídia Pujol, Manel Valdivieso, María José Montiel, Mayte Martín, Miquel Àngel Cordero, Miquel Gil, Mirna, Mone, Murtra Ensemble, Òscar Alabau, Pechrima, Quartet Brossa, Ramon Figueras, Ravi Ram, Re-set, Robert Nesta Songs, Roman Gottwald, Sangre de Loro, Sergi Alpiste, Temps Record, The Perfect Fool, The Spotifais, Tiziana, Toti Soler, Trio Berna, Trio Silvestre, Txell Sust, Txo Titelles and Xavi Lozano.


Pau Figueres

Manu Sabaté plays several different kinds of gralla, tarota and clarinet, and his working schedule is split between Catalonia and Finland. He studied for his final year project at ESMUC, as part of his specialist degree on the gralla with tuition from Dani Carbonell and Marcel Caselles. He also had clarinet tuition from Marcel·lí Bayer and Xavier Figuerola. In January 2011 he went to Finland on an Erasmus study period at the renowned “Sibelius Akademy”, where he studied with Kristiina Ilmonen (wind instruments), Petri Prauda (instrumental groups) and Timo Alakotila (arrangements and composition). He plays with the group Borinots TQT (electrofolk), with duo Et Farem un Bombo (Blai Casals on accordion), with Els Quatrevents gralla group and with gralla and brass line-up “Metralla”. He has also played in various traditional music groups and teaches the gralla in schools.


Manu Sabaté

For more information:

About the project:

Video from an earlier project:

Catalan musicians taking part:

The first festival they’ll be taking part in: