This year the Fira Mediterrània will support 23 projects in the Roots Workshop

This year the Fira Mediterrània will support 23 projects in the Roots Workshop

The third edition of the Roots Workshop, the Fira's support programme for creators.

The third edition of the Roots Workshop, the Fira's support programme for creators.
The Community Workshop has been created to promote work between folk culture associations and contemporary professional creators.
In search of collaborations and a market, the artistic projects will have co-production support from around 30 entities, companies and institutions.

The Fira Mediterrània de Manresa is including 23 artistic projects in the 2023 Roots Workshop programme, aimed at guiding and supporting creators who are presenting new artistic works based on folk and traditional culture. This time around, the projects that are part of this programme, which is celebrating its third year, are organised in three different blocks: the International Workshop, live arts and the community projects.

The projects within this experimental space are undertaken in collaboration with other institutions and entities to foster synergies and collaborations between different players in the cultural sector, and to boost their viability and reach. This collaborative work is one of the main focuses of the Workshop's efforts, and is essential to building the circuit and opening up a market for all these projects. The other two areas of focus are guiding artists during the research, creation, production and performance phases, and the promotion of pairings and exchanges between contemporary creators and folk culture associations.

The International Workshop

One of the projects from the International Workshop will open the 26th Fira. Titled Evoé!, it takes the audience on a journey through the collective catharsis rituals of southern Italy, with the tarantella dance at the heart of the ritual. The project is fronted by Catalan musician Raül Refree, Italian singer Maria Mazzotta and the Cor Plèiade, with staging by Jordi Oriol. This performance will open the Fira on Thursday 5 October in the Grand Hall of the Teatre Kursaal.

The International Workshop also includes the project from the Mediterranean Bagpipes Company, which musically unites three Mediterranean regions (Catalonia, Italy and Turkey) through instruments of the bagpipe family from each area: the Catalan sac de gemecs (with Francesc Sans), the Italian zampogna (with Christian di Fiore) and the Turkish tulum (with Filiz Ilkay). This project forms part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the revival of the sac de gemecs in Catalonia.

Live arts and music in the Roots Workshop

The musical section of the Roots Workshop includes the new project from the Orquestra de Músiques d'Arrel Tradicional (OMAC), which was formed two years ago under the patronage of the Fira. Trans, the new production by this group of 34 young performers from the Catalan Countries, will explore the anthropological, ecological and artistic richness of the transhumance of the Pyrenees based on the traditional songbook.

Also showcasing projects within the Workshop will be Carola Ortiz with Cantareras, in which she brings her contemporary perspective to a compilation of songs from the female oral tradition of the Iberian Peninsula; Joana Dark, who in Lo secà will look to the Terres de Ponent, reinventing traditional female songs with a significant contribution from electronic music; Núria Andorrà, who will employ Artificial Intelligence in Ni.U to apply the filter of contemporaneity to her repertoire of folk songs; Valencian rapper JazzWoman, who will explore the sound of the cobles; and young jazz singer and trumpet player Alba Careta, who will embark on a dreamlike tour of the lullabies of the Càntut. Finally, the musical section will be rounded off by the winning project from the 2022 Concurs Sons de la Mediterrània, Bum Ditty, a band led by Joana Gumí and Ned Somerville and focused on the North American old-time style.

Live arts and dance in the Roots Workshop

The dance section of the Roots Workshop will feature various projects linked to the Plan to Promote Roots Dance, promoted by the Directorate General for Folk Culture and Cultural Associations of the Catalan Government's Department of Culture and the Fira Mediterrània, with collaboration from the Agrupament d'Esbarts Dansaires, the Federació d'Ateneus de Catalunya, the Ésdansa and Dansàneu festivals, and the Mans programme on Catalunya Ràdio.

The following two projects received a special mention from the jury of the Delfí Colomé Prize for the best creation and production project in traditional dance: Folk as queer, by L'esbord de Pere Seda, a piece that reflects on the construction of identity (collective and individual) and the influence of cultural legacy; and Rel i Grapa, by Víctor Pérez Armero, a personal investigation that falls somewhere between tradition and contemporaneity, based on constant transformation.

In addition to the projects from the Plan to Promote Roots Dance, the Roots Workshop will also include Lara Brown's Lo imposible es desaparecer, a performative reflection on how bodies act as vessels for the dances of the past so that they can be brought into the present; Quien baila su mal espanta, by Joaquín Collado and Pol Jiménez, who explore the relationship that exists in a dance between two people (from traditional and folkloric dances to competitive ballroom dances); Ramat simfònic, by Moon Ribas and Quim Girón, an open-air show that invites the audience to literally be out to pasture and will feature musician Joan Cot manipulating the resulting sonic universe; and Condens, by dancer and choreographer Magí Serra, who will present a finished reflection on how we inhabit spaces, stemming from Brots trashumants, an artistic transhumance that he began during the 23rd Fira.

Live arts and memory, legacy and oral storytelling

In the memory, legacy and oral storytelling section, Moll de l'ós (Àfrica Llorens) will also be showcasing the fully finished piece FORADADA, which we were able to see as a work in progress at the last Fira. This is a project that, with circus as the main artistic discipline and based on the legend of Montserrat’s Foradada, questions the issue of gender.

Also linked to memory, legacy and oral storytelling are the works of Pau Gómez, who in Relleus. Aperitiu i Primer Plat, presents an artistic piece on traditional cuisine (with a social media workshop for young people and an intergenerational encounter among pots and pans); Berenguera, by Gerard Franch and Maria Jover, a presentation of research on the Catalan poet Berenguera de Vilamur, which engages with the current explosion of Artificial Intelligence; El valor de res, by the Cia. Pagans, an immersive and multidisciplinary stage experience that combines performing arts, literature, technology and natural space; and the installation L'alegria d'aquesta nit, by Guillem Sánchez, which revisits the dance that was performed at wakes until the beginning of the 20th century in some parts of Valencia, after the death of a child under the age of 8.

Community projects of the Workshop

The community participation from folk culture associations plays an important role in some of the Roots Workshop projects, which can be seen in three projects that involve an esbart, a devil group and a choir.

The first of these projects won the Delfí Colomé Prize, and is therefore included in the Plan to Promote Roots Dance. From Esbart Rocasagna de Gelida and under the direction of Quim Bigas, Era rethinks how the dances of the Penedès would be performed today if they had not remained unchanged.

This year we will get the opportunity to see a project that was announced in previous years of the Workshop, Correllums, by Bácum / Arts Escèniques i Visuals and Xàldiga Taller de Festes de Manresa, a new take on the Devil Dances and Correfocs (fire runs), replacing the devils' pitchforks with ones made of laser light.

Finally, the Coral Sant Jordi is paying tribute to Josep Anselm Clavé, founder of the choral movement in Catalonia, to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of his death.

Nearly 30 entities, companies and institutions are co-producing the Roots Workshop

In addition to the participation of Fira Mediterrània, in pursuit of collaborations and a market, and specific support from the Directorate General for Folk Culture and Cultural Associations of the Department of Culture, these artistic projects will also be assisted by other co-producing organisations, companies and institutions. Confirmed thus far are Festival Grec de Barcelona, Festival Clàssics, Institut Ramon Llull, Puglia Sounds, Festival de Llegendes de Catalunya, L'Embarral, Festival Z de Girona, Teatre Municipal de Girona, Girona City Council, L'Estruch, FiraTàrrega, Plataforma Arts de Carrer, Sismògraf d'Olot, Mercat de les Flors, Dansàneu, Figueres Es Mou, Festival Ésdansa de les Preses, Dansa Metropolitana, Fabra i Coats, La Marfà de Girona, Olot City Council, Centre Artesà Tradicionàrius, Grup Enderrock, FIMPT, Festival Cornamusam d'Olot, Festival Amb Sonido de Cobla de Palamós, Càntut. Cançons de Tradició Oral, Festival Escena Patrimoni and the family of Delfí Colomé.