A l’Olympia

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A l'Olympia
Ariola, 1975

On the 16th of April 1975 she sang in the Palau de la Música Catalana, which she hadn’t done since 1971, where she premiered the song Abril in Catalonia, dedicated to the Portuguese singer-songwriter and friend José Afonso, in a clear reference to the political changes that had taken place in the neighbouring country. The public interpreted this song as one of hope at a time in which one sensed the approaching end of the Francoist regime.

One week later, on the 27th of April, she performed in the Olympia in Paris in a matinee concert shared with Ovidi Montllor and Toti Soler. This concert was recorded live and led to the next LP that came out on sale in November of that year, Maria del Mar Bonet a l’Olympia. This concert was attended by the Valencia poet Vicent Andrés Estellés, who at the end approached to greet the two singers and give Maria del Mar Bonet a book of short poems by him that would lead to the song Les Illes on her next album.

Five of the songs on the album were written by her, Cançó de bressol, Abril, No sé com acabarà, Aigo and Me n’aniré de casa; four traditional Mallorca songs; two about poems by Bartomeu Rosselló-Pòrcel and one, Romanço, by Miquel Martí i Pol, which at one time had been censored. The musicians accompanying her were the Moraleda brothers, Albert on the double bass and flute and Jordi Moraleda on the piano and bassoon, Josep M. Bardagí on the guitar, Josep Mª Brotons on the flute and Nilton on percussion.

On the 3rd of July 1975 Maria del Mar Bonet gave her first recital in the Plaça del Rei in Barcelona, a spot that she herself suggested to Barcelona City Council because she thought it ideal for both the acoustics and atmosphere it offered, and which until then had only used occasionally, in summer, by the Municipal Band of the City of Barcelona. She performed accompanied by Josep Mª Bardagí on the guitar and Albert Moraleda on the double bass, flute and percussion. This was the first year that the Plaça del Rei was included in what was known as “Serenates al Barri Gòtic”. It represented the beginning of a series of recitals that she would give in summer in Barcelona and which the local public saw as an annual reunion with the singer, who throughout her career, came to occupy the summer square, intermittently, for more than twenty years.

The Six hours of Canet where she took part in July was particularly relevant because more than 30,000 people attended. It represented a renewal of the world of the Catalan song, at a time when it was being questioned, and resulted in a clear demonstration that music in Catalan was still of great interest. This time Maria del Mar Bonet took part giving her voice to the Orquestra Mirasol in a memorable collaboration.

In November she travelled to Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela, in the latter country with Lluís Llach, guests of the Jocs Florals (poetry and cultural event) in exile that was organised in Caracas.

Photographs in París by Toni Catany, 1975

1975 - 1976

Graphic Documentation


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