A Catalonian Feast-ival from Michal Shapiro on Vimeo.

Located about 50 kilometers from Barcelona, Manresa is a small, laid back Catalonian city. It has its picturesque Old Section as well as an impressive, well-appointed cathedral, and the famous monastery of Montserrat is perched on a nearby rocky mountaintop. But the Fira Mediterránia de Manresa, a four-day celebration and Trade Fair going into its 16th year, stirs the place up and brings the population into the concert halls and out onto the streets to enjoy a meticulously programmed whirlwind of music, cinema, dance, theater and more. The joint gets jumpin’. If you’ve got a trip to Spain planned in November, make sure you include this festival in your itinerary.

Because the event takes place all over town, it was necessary to pick and choose my coverage and up front I’ll tell you that what I have captured in my video is only a small slice of it. In particular, I did not cover the imported acts, because I was curious about the local Catalan culture specifically, and fine as these other artists were, I felt they would divert me from my focus. I’ll always regret not catching Hermanos Cuberos, who according to the festival book combine music from the Alcarra region of Spain with bluegrass! And there were many fine Catalan acts that I did not even get around to seeing.

And I also have to say a word about the food. It was everywhere, and if you knew where to go, (and could deal with the siesta closings) it was excellent. I brought back 2 bags of little dried local mushrooms which I am still using slowly, when the dish calls for their distinctive taste and texture. They are tiny treasures.

I was fortunate to be staying at the same hotel as Dave Ellwand who has researched and written about Catalan food, music and mores. Our conversations over breakfast were informative and tantalizing, so I simply had to include him at some point in the video; credit where credit is due. He has provided some links to further information and events below. And because this video is a quick survey, here are links to full songs.

To see the full song by Evo, go to: http://inter-muse.new.muse-eek.com/blog/2013/04/16/evo-performs-at-fira-mediterrania-de-manresa/

To see a (different) full song by Els Berros de la Cort go to: http://inter-muse.new.muse-eek.com/blog/2013/01/11/medieval-songs-of-sex-from-catalonia-els-berros-de-la-cort/

For full performance of “Waka Waka” by Els Laietans go to: http://inter-muse.new.muse-eek.com/blog/2013/03/16/els-laietans-at-the-fira-mediterrania-de-manresa/

For more information about the festival visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fira_Mediterrania_in_Manresa

For an archived radio programme about the previous year’s festival: http://www.prx.org/pieces/85507-mediterrania-taste-of-the-music-of-people-of-ca

CAT centre has an annual festival of Catalan/Valencian/Balearic/Basque performances from January to April as well as year-round music teaching and summer schools.* Information about all festivals is easiest to get on http://www.catalanarts.cat/web/?q=en

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