Cultural calendar

In the exhibition ‘Women, the Usual Suspects’ Sandra Olivé shows a naive and original portrait of women who share a history, a life and a journey.

In Barcelona, Cotxeres-Casinet, Carrer de Sants, 79. Till 29/02.


Photo exhibition of the collective ‘Dones de l’Entitat’ with images of the working woman. The artists are, among others, Isabel Acerete, Rosa Mª Andrés, Núria Bueno and Mª Antònia Campins.

In Terrassa, Sala Salvador Alavedra, C/ Teatre, 2. Till 5 March.


Singer Sabine Witt celebrates International Women’s Day performing her program ‘The Chrysalides’ honouring silenced and invisible women throughout history.

In Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Ateneu Santfeliuenc, Vidal i Ribas 23-25. On 6 March. For tickets and more information, click here.


Berta Garcia’s (aka Berta Lacht) Project Tits aims to breakdown the ideals of beauty and show different bodies, standard or nonstandard. Photos of the bodies of the 60 women who took part in the project, make visible their diversity and complexity.

In Barcelona, Centre Cívic Pati Llimona, C/ Regomir 3. Till 23 March.


Rapper Joina and her band perform Companyes offering her songs about the empowerment of women who speak out against sexual harassment and violence. Her melodies echo elements of jazz, flamenco, pop and classical music.

In Barcelona on 22 February, 6 – 13 – 20 – 27 March. For the venues and ticket information click here.


Carmen Valverde presents ‘Expressions’, a collection of 18 large figurative paintings of oil and acrylic on wood (180×122 cm) showing the faces of women of Terrassa who express all kinds of emotions. This project is based on photos taken by Jaume Olivet.

In Tarragona, Tinglado 1, Moll de Costa. Till 19 April.


In the name of the mother, in the name of the earth: an exhibition showing seven projects that celebrate the culture of life, the capacity of art to create symbolism to guide us in these confused times. Featuring works of Isabel Banal, Raquel Friera, Lucía Loren, Olga Olivera Tabeni, Irene Pérez, Carme Sanglas and Eulàlia Valldosera.

Vote now: Tribade!

Congratulations are in order for Tribade who have been nominated for the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards 2020, the ‘annual EU prize for popular and contemporary music celebrates emerging artists who represent the European sound of today and tomorrow.’

The nomination announces Tribade as ‘a young female rap act from Barcelona, lead by MCs Bittah, Masiva Lulla and Sombra Alor. The group is devoted to original rap culture and its mission of denunciation and empowerment through rhythm and poetry. Lyrically, Tribade brings the XXIst century universe of three young women fighting against precariousness in a male dominated society and amplifies through its poetry repressed realities such as LGBT, as well as local and neighbourhood struggles, and antifa activism. Musically, Barcelona is not only 90s mestizo, rumba and fiesta beats: Tribade blends a fresh and original mix of rap with flamenco, soul, Afrotrap and reggaeton.’

Each artist can win two prizes. First an international jury will select eight winners, each winner will receive a prize worth € 10.000,- to be spent towards promoting their international careers. But music fans across Europe can also vote for their favourite artist; the winner of the Public Choice Award will receive a prize of €5.000,-.

It is worthwhile to take part and vote, because you are competing for a trip including a stay and a festival entrance to Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in January 2020 in the Netherlands. So do not hesitate and go to the artist profile of Tribade and cast your vote for their music and its powerful message!

How women rocked the foundations of universities

Just as in most European countries, Catalan women had to fight their way into university. However, the possibilities in which women could shape their lives were clearly determined by the course of Spanish history.

The first students
In the beginning women entered univeristy by enrolling in medical studies; later on they chose exact sciences. The first woman ever to set foot in a Catalan university classroom was Elena Maseras who enrolled in the Medicine Faculty of the University of Barcelona in 1872 (see pictures below). Allegedly she was applauded when she made her appearance in the lecture room. Some six years later she finished her studies and requested to be examined in order to obtain her degree.

This seemingly simple petition threw the bureaucratic organs of the university into a state of great confusion. It took them three years to sort things out and in February 1889 she finally got permission to present herself at the exams where she obtained the qualification ‘excellent’. Nevertheless, these obstacles had disheartened her, and she decided not to continue her medical studies and gave up her aspirations of becoming a doctor. During the three years of bureaucratic silence she had followed a teacher training and worked in this capacity in secondary institutions till her death.

The fact that a woman was studying at university raised a whole range of issues, as this phenomena rocked moral principles of a society that was not prepared to let men and women share the same classsroom. Also ideologic and economic principles were at stake, or so it was believed, when reality sank in: studying women not only wanted to acquire knowledge, but they also intended to exercize a profession.

About insults and what followed

Exhibition chef Carme Ruscalleda

Carme R.jpg

Till September 29 the exhibition “Carme Ruscalleda. L’essència del gust” (Carme Ruscalleda. The essence of taste) dedicated to the Catalan chef with international recognition, is to be seen in Palau Robert, Barcelona.

Carme, who creates extraordinary dishes between tradition and avant-gard, has become the ambassador of Catalan cuisine.

The exhibition shows the most significant moments of her development as a chef illustrated by a detailed chronology that includes her work in her restaurants of ‘Sant Pau’ in Sant Pol (now closed) and Tokio, and ‘Moments‘ of the Hotel Mandarin in Barcelona. An audiovisual offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the Sant Pol restaurant.

In another part of the expo you can follow the creative process and its evolution of Carme’s cooking with a description of her dishes and theme menus.

Practical information:
Open: till 29/09/2019
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday: 09.00 – 20.00 hrs
Sundays and public holidays: 09.00 – 14.30 hrs
Venue: Palau Robert, Pg. de Gràcia, 107
Free entrance.

Càndida’s cuplés

The cuplé, a popular risqué Spanish theatre song style, was especially popular in the late years of the 19th century. From 1893–1911 the songs were a feature of the “género ínfimo” (lowest type) cabaret theatre traditionally sung by solo female singers, or men in drag, and attended mainly by men.

In the second decade of the 20th century the cuplé, in a more respectable form, became more family-friendly and was associated with the makings of stars of the Spanish theatre.

In Barcelona the theatres on the Paral·lel, in the 20th century the centre of Barcelona’s nightlife and the home of Càndida Pérez and Raquel Meller, hosted many shows featuring cuplés. Click here and listen to some original audios.

The 70s knew a revival of this genre through performances and recordings by Núria Feliu (El cuplet a BarcelonaCuplets tradicionals catalans) and Guillermina Motta (especially her LP Remena nena).

Two popular songs composed by Càndida
El noi de la mare originally was a cradlesong, probably written in the 18th or 19th century. Gradually it became part of the Christmas repertoire. Many adaptions have been made and one of the most moving versions is that of Càndida Pérez and Sants Albiesa recorded by Raquel Meller in Paris in 1926.

Outside Spain it was made famous by Andrés Segovia who used to perform Miguel Llobet‘s guitar transcription as an encore.

The lyric of Marieta de l’ull viu, written by Faust Casals, tells the legend of woman who had really lived in the Ribera district of Barcelona. It explains that she used to walk to the well called El Font del Gat on the hill of Mountjuïc escorted by a soldier who abandoned her when she got pregnant. This feat urged her to leave the area which motivated the creation of the song.

In the above video the theatre company “Els Jocs Florals de Canprosa” interprets La Marieta de l’ull viu, composed by Càndida Pérez. The company’s director is Jordi Prat i Coll; musical direction by Dani Espasa and choreography by Montse Colomé.

Both songs are still widely played and sung throughout Catalonia.

From victim to counsellor

When in 1997 Vicki Bernadet founded FADA, an organisation that provides support to adults that were sexually abused during their childhood, she knew what she was dealing with. From the age of about 9 she had been abused by a close member of her family till she was 17 when she got a boyfriend and left home; only then did the abuse stop. During all those years she had been wishing that a ‘fada’ (Catalan for ‘fairy’) would come and carry her away to a safe place.

It took her nearly twenty years before she could talk about it; at that time she lived separated from her husband and was raising a daughter herself. For some years she had been writing poems in which she was able to pour out her heart. One day her niece discovered them and was touched by the pain they conveyed. Little by little Vicki could relieve her mind telling her niece what had been done to her. From that moment on it was as if a burden had been lifted and she felt that she could act more freely. Continue reading “From victim to counsellor”

Who is she?

For quite some time the photo Falling Soldier, allegedly taken by Robert Capa in 1936, has been the emblematic picture of the Spanish Civil War. The authenticity debate around this picture is still going on.

But there is another iconic picture taken in the same year, in this case of a confident young girl looking defiantly into the camera. She is clearly standing on top of a roof. Who is she, where is she standing and what is the context of the photo?


All these questions will shortly be answered, so stay tuned!

Josefina Torrents, sports pioneer and swimmer

Josefina Torrents at the time of the 1932 race.

19 September 1932. On the quays of the port of Barcelona many people have assembled to watch the sixth edition of the crossing of the port organized by the swimming club Club Natació Barcelona. Some have been able to see the start of the race from the quay of Martell, others enjoy a terrific sight from boats that are anchored in the harbour or witness the arrival on the quay near the Barceloneta and the Palau del Mar (now Museum of the History of Catalonia).

Temperatures are beginning to get lower now that autumn is near, but that did not deter the nearly three hundred swimmers. One of them is Josefina Torrents i Illa, with her 30 years a veteran in perfect shape.

In an article covering the events newspaper La Vanguardia wrote that she had a ‘great mastery of style’, which enabled her to arrive in 50 minutes and 46 secons, the first of the four woman swimmers and sixth in the final rankings. President Macià and his wife Eugènia Lamarca who had witnessed the contest personally congratulated her with this feat. It was one of Torrents’ big successes, but certainly not her only one.

More about Josefina Torrents

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