Kataru Català, 2015

Kataru Catala is a community project and performance event that derived from the project art, lo que sea, in El Bruc, Spain in 2015.  Through the project art, lo que sea, I had met and became friends with some of the locals of El Bruc.

One day, Carles Estrada, the owner of Carlets, which was the one and only supermarket in El Bruc,
told me that he went to the school at the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat and
performed during religious ceremonies and communal prayers in the basilica as a boys' choir.

He told me interesting story about his life at the school with his eyes shining. And suddenly he looked sad and told me that he had been working at the supermarket a lot and he had not sung for a long time.

And I thought,
"Wait, Ramon told me he plays saxophone, Montse is a music teacher who plays piano and harpsichord…"

I screamed at Carles
"Can we make a band? Banda El Bruc!!"
He laughed and said
"Of course!"

A few days later, Pere Subirana, a local guitarist and Miquel Duran, a music teacher and Montse's husband also joined the band.
This is when we had our first practice at Montse and Miquel's music studio at their home.

Banda El Bruc
Carles Estrada -Vocal
Ramon Jorba -Saxophone
Montse Giné -Keyboard
Miquel Duran -Flute
Pere Subirana -Guitar

We had discussed and decided that Banda El Bruc plays traditional Catalan music. And I wasn't going to join them since the Banda El Bruc was "local" band. But all of the band members insisted me to perform with them. Since I'm not a musician I decided to play *Kami-Shibai, in Japanese and Catalan along with the band sound.

*Kami-Shibai is a form of Japanese storytelling with a set of illustrated boards.

We decided to have a performance event at Can Serrat Artist Residency.
The event was titled as "Kataru Català" (the workd "Kataru" means to talk or to tell in Japanese) as we wanted to have traditional Catalan music and story with a mix of Japanese culture.

While the band members practiced for the event, I made a flyer of the event and put them on information boards around the town.

I made Kami-Shibai in Catalan and Japanese. I wanted to have one story only in Japanese because I was hoping this would be a great opportunity not only to share Catalan traditional music and story, but also to share my experience living in El Bruc and surrounded by the language I don't understand.

Because one thing I learnt from the project art, lo que sea was that we sometimes don't understand each other, we make an effort to ask questions and get to know more about each other. And in order to tell about yourself, you need to know about yourself and your background.
And I was hoping this event would show that either we came from the same place or different places, we could have a great time together.

Here are the set list.

1. ‪La dama d'Aragó‬
2. ‪El Canó de Palamós‬

Kami-Shibai with sound by Pere Subirana and Ramon Jorba
1. El Nen Gris -Catalan story by Tomoe in Japanese
2. Issun-Boshi -Japanese story by Tomoe in Japanese and Ramon in Catalan
3. En Patufet -Catalan story by Ramon in Catalan

3. ‪Mort de Gana‬ (prim prim prim)
4. ‪Les Rondes de Vi‬

A couple of days later, Pere told me that even though he knew everyone before this band happened, he would never thought he could get to play with them and make a great connection. He said he will continue playing music with them, even after I'd be gone. I felt like I did some sort of magic and a tiny piece of magic still remains in the town of El Bruc.

I appreciate everyone who made this project possible.

Thanks to
Banda El Bruc
Can Serrat Artist Residency
Sophie Blais
Georgina Teixidor
Rubén Blasco
Laura Perez
Roser Castellet
Enric Canela
Matilde Palau
Jennifer Down

Laura Perez let me borrow the book of "En Patufet".
Enric Canela let me borrow his vintage bicycle for Kami-Sibai.

*Video documentation coming soon