Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia

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Coordinates: 41°24′14.86″N 2°9′11.06″E / 41.4041278°N 2.1530722°E / 41.4041278; 2.1530722

2 de 7 of Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia in Granollers (November 2007)
4 de 8 of Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia in Lleida (24-10-2009)
5 de 7 in the Diada de La Mercè (24/09/2009)
Vano de cinc of Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia at Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia in the Festa Major de Gràcia (22/08/2009)
3 de 7 aixecat per sota about to be loaded. Festa Major de Gràcia (22/08/2009)
4 de 8 in Gràcia (9/5/2010)

The Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia (Catalan pronunciation: [kəstəˈʎez ðə ɫə ˈβiɫə ðə ˈɣɾasiə]), created in 1996, are a colla castellera, based in Vila de Gràcia that makes human castles. The colour of their shirts is navy blue.

The first 4 de 8 ( a human castle 8 stories high with 4 people in each level) was unloaded by the Castellers de Gràcia (to unload a castle means to start and finish the castle without falling ) was achieved on August 17, 2003 in the Plaça de la Vila de Gracia.

Their best performance was: 4 de 8, 3 de 8 and 7 de 8.

Up to the year 2012, the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia participated five times in the Castle-making contest, which is celebrated every two years in Tarragona: in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

They are commonly known as "The Blue Gang", because of the colour of their shirts or "The Student Gang" because of the young age of most of their members.

Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia appear briefly in the movie L'auberge espagnole by Cédric Klapisch.

History[edit]

Castle making is nothing new in Gràcia, and there are historical references which date this tradition back to the last quarter of the 19th century until the first thirty years of the 20th century. Around 1890, a "colla" was created by immigrant peasants who had left Tarragona because of the phylloxera, and was called Xiquets de Gràcia. Possibly, these new Gracia neighbors found in the Vila de Gràcia, which by then was still a small town, the ideal atmosphere to make human castles and become a local "colla". It is known and documented that this "colla" began its activities at least since the 1880s until the year 1900, 1910 and in the second decade of the 20th century. Most performances were executed during the Festa Major de Gràcia.

The beginnings[edit]

The story of the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia begins in the early 1990s, when a group of youngsters related to the network of neighborhood associations in Gràcia began to talk about the possibility of founding a Castle making colla in the neighbourhood. This idea began to take shape when they decided to celebrate their first meeting on October 1996, and news began to spread that there was a "colla castellera" in the making. The first rehearsal was on November 23 of that same year at the Plaça del Sol, and it gathered around thirty people.

The firs public performance of the new colla was on February 1997, on occasion of the Diada Castellera de Santa Eulalia on Placa de Sant Jaume de Barcelona, where they constructed two pillars of 4 ( One person per story, 4 stories; this is considered as the most simple construction of the whole repertoire) The first performance in Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, which is considered as the colla's square, was delivered on March 4, 1997. This actuation gathered around sixty castellers, who unloaded several basic constructions.

The first castles[edit]

The official introduction of the new colla into the casteller world was on May 4, 1997, sponsored by the Castellers de Terrasa, the Castellers de Sants and the Castellers de Sant Andreu de la Barca, the Catellers de la Vila de Gràcia unloaded their first six story high castles. This first season had its ups and downs, although the efforts made throughout the year finally bore fruit with the achievement of a seven stories high castle, the 4 de 7, unloaded in order to celebrate their anniversary on November 23.

The transitiion from castles of 7 to castles of 8[edit]

Throughout the following years, the Colla de Gràcia evolved and became a colla de 7 until October 6, 2002, when during the XIX Tarragona castle making contest, they achieved their first 4 de 8 after unloading their first 2 de 7 on the previous round. Ever since that year, the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia have unloaded a 4 de 8 every year, and have started to gain their place as a colla de 8 and as one of the best 15-20 "colles" of the current casteller world.

Since their first months of existence, the Colla of Gràcia has had its own team of grallers, which has evolved into a learning center for all of those interested in learning how to play the gralla (a traditional Catalan oboe) in the different activities held by the castellers.

On 1999, the Castellers de la Vida de Gràcia received the Medalla d´Honor de Barcelona, and they are also members of the Colles de Cultura Popular de Gràcia.

Rehearsals[edit]

The Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia have rehearsed in different spots in the neighborhood, among which we can mention l´Escola Josep Maria Jujol, L´Artesá de Gràcia and the Antiga Escola OSI. Since the year 2002, the rehearsals are held in the Escola Reina Escola Reina Violeat ( Trilla street, number 18 in the neighbourhood of Gràcia.) The rehearsals are on Tuesdays and Fridays from 20:00 to 23:00

Other activities[edit]

Since the year 1998, the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia broadcast the casteller radio program "Tercos amunt!" on Ràdio Gràcia. This radio program is still being broadcast currently. On 2010 "Tercos amunt!" received the Premi Vila de Gràcia to the best communication initiative.

Until the year 2004, they published a magazine called "L´espadat" which came out every three months.

But the most important extracurricular activity taken on by the castellers de la Vila de Gràcia, is the ornamentation of the Plaça de la Vila for the festivities of la Festa Major de Gràcia since the year 2001.

Participation in the tarragona casteller contest[edit]

The Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia have participated on five occasions in the Tarragona Casteller Contest. Below are all the contests where the Colla has participated, the castles unloaded and, between parenthesis and in bold lettering, the final position.

  • XIX Tarragona castell contest (2002): 2 de 7, 4 de 8c, 5 de 7 (13)
  • XX Tarragona castell contest (2004): 4 de 8i, 4 d 8c, 5 de 7, 4 de 7a (14)
  • XXI Tarragona castell contest (2006): 2 de 7c, 4 de 8c (16)
  • XXII Tarragona castell contest (2008): 5 de 7, 4 de 8c, 4 de 7a (15)
  • XXIII Tarragona castell contest (2010): 4 de 8, 2 de 7, 5 de 7 (11)

The Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia in the world[edit]

Performances held outside the Països Catalans

Performances held within the Països Catalans (outside Catalonia)

The cap de colla[edit]

The Cap de Colla is the highest technical responsible of the colles castelleres.

Name: Period:
Joaquim Besaran i Alberich November1996-June 1997
Guillem Ortega i Tous 1997 (starting on June)
Jordi Ràfols i Brasó 1998-2000-2001
Carles Capellades i Sesé 1999-2004-2005
Joan Font i Basté 2002–2003
Oriol Constantí i González 2006–2007
Carles Gallardo i Prades 2008–2009
Aleix Vila i Fuertes 2010

Presidents[edit]

Name Period
Ramon Josep Serra i Ruiz "R.J." November 1996-June 1997
David Palau i Garcia 1997 (from June on…)
Josep Maria Porta i Palau 1998
Roger Gispert i Masó 1999-2000-2001-2004-2005
Miquel Moret i Parera 2002–2003
Martí Urgell i Vidal 2006–2007
Miquel Sendra i Pons 2008–2009
Arnau Dòria i Cerezo 2010

First castles unloaded[edit]

Castle Date Occasion
4 de 6 May 4, 1997 Official presentation.
3 de 6 May 4, 1997 Official presentation.
4 de 6 amb agulla May 4, 1997 Official presentation.
5 de 6 September 21, 1997 La Mercè
3 de 6 per sota August 16, 1998 Festa Major de Gràcia
Pilar de 5 car. August 16, 1998 Festa Major de Gràcia
Pilar de 5 October 18, 1998 Diada de les colles del 97
Pilar de 5 per sota November 24, 2002 Diada dels Castellers de Badalona
2 de 6 car. November 9, 1997 Diada dels Castellers de Sant Andreu de la Barca
2 de 6 March 29, 1998 Solidaritat Nens del Brasil
6 de 6 August 19, 2000 Vigílies de Festa Major de Gràcia
4 de 7 November 23, 1997 I Diada de la Colla
3 de 7 car. November 29, 1998 Diada dels Castellers de Badalona
3 de 7 September 26, 1999 La Mercè
3 de 7 amb agulla April 25, 1998 Diada de Sant Jordi (Sitges)
4 de 7 amb agulla car. November 22, 1998 II Diada de la Colla
4 de 7 amb agulla car. November 22, 1998 II Diada de la Colla
4 de 7 amb l'agulla May 16, 1999 II Aniversari de la Colla
5 de 7 September 25, 2000 La Mercè
3 de 7 aixecat per sota August 19, 2001 Festa Major de Gràcia
2 de 7 car. September 24, 2002 La Mercè
2 de 7 October 6, 2002 XIX Tarragona Casteller Contest
4 de 8 car. October 6, 2002 XIX Tarragona Casteller Contest.
4 de 8 August 17, 2003 Festa Major de Gràcia
3 de 8 car. September 24, 2010 La Mercè

Specified bibliography[edit]

  • Albert Musons, Quim Perelló, Jordi Ràfols i Miquel Sendra: Xiquets ahir, castellers per sempre: Vila de Gràcia (1876–2002), Col·lecció "La Font de l'atzavara" del Taller d'Història de Gràcia, 111 pages., Barcelona.
  • Carles Gallardo: Blau, fraternitat i castells: Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia (1997–2001), 126 pages, Published by the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia.

External links[edit]