LA NOVA CANÇO (The New Song) – A CATALAN SYMBOL

As many of you already know, Catalan is the primary language spoken here in Barcelona and throughout all of Catalonia. What you may not have known is it that the unique language and culture have not always been publically accepted. In the year 1936, daily life in Spain was forever changed. Francisco Franco and his regime came into power, exercising a strict dictatorship as the form of government. This meant that any language or culture that was not considered ‘traditional Spanish’ was banned from public practice and use. 

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In the late 1950’s, tired of the oppression caused by the harsh government, an artistic movement began in Catalonia. Singers, writers and artists began various projects in hopes of reviving the Catalan identity. It is said that around this time, Spain was admitted into the United Nations. Forced to improve its image, the Franco Regime loosened its control and changed its economic autarky, allowing the Nova Canço movement to begin!

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The first Nova Canços records were released in 1962 made of a compilation of famous Catalan singers and composers…and it was not long until these records gained immense popularity. Even though the Franco regime was still in place until the 1970’s, the movement spread through a variety of genres of music, even Catalan folk music! This love of art and music, despite harsh restrictions placed upon the entertainment industry, proves the strong connection the Catalan people feel to their identity and culture. 

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Some Catalan singers and songwriters that continued to be successful after the movement, and are still well known today, include Raimon, Salomé, Valencian, Maria del Mar Bonet, Lluís Llach and Joan Manuel Serrat. In fact, the movement was so successful that it inspired similar cultural movements in other provinces in Spain such as Galicia, Castille and the Basque Country.  

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