Congratulations, Núria Feliu!

Today, 21 September, singer Núria Feliu is celebrating her 80th birthday. During her career of over 55 years she became widely liked not only for her performance of Catalan popular songs, boleros and music hall songs, but also for the popularization of American successes of country and jazz compositions.

Her popularity is largely due to the fact that she always sang in Catalan: ‘I wanted to prove that in Catalan you have and can sing all kinds of musical genres.’ Núria has always been very committed to Catalonia: ‘Singing was an excuse, actually. An excuse to be able to support the people and get to know my country.’

In this video she renders the Jacques Brel’s chanson El clar país (Le Plat Pays) during the concert on the occasion of her 70th birthday and a career of 50 years.

For more of her music go to her comprehensive website.

Càndida Pérez and her music hall songs

CANDIDA+PEREZ.jpg

It is 1920 and Pilar Alonso, a singer of popular songs and very famous in those days, performs one cuplé after another and scores such a success that at the end of the show she has exhausted her repertoire of pieces in Spanish. The public demands more and then Pilar begins to sing Les caramelles, a cuplé in Catalan newly composed by Càndida Pérez and already very popular in Catalonia. The audience is wildly enthusiastic and from that moment on cuplés in Catalan become all the rage and are sung in every corner of the country.

Career
By then Càndida is 27 years old and boasts a wide experience in theatre style songs. She has not only starred in shows in her native town of Olot, but has also worked in Italy under contract of an Italian vaudeville company directed by Melquiadez Lucarelli Ferri.

After this tour she returns to Catalonia, to fulfill her dream and study music and composition in Barcelona. Together with Lucarelli she founds an academy of song and dance, specialising in music hall shows in the ‘Carrer de Valldonzella, 6’. In the same premises a musical production company is established enabling Càndida to make some records.

Continue reading “Càndida Pérez and her music hall songs”

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.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: