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Lluís Llach performing at the Olympia in Paris
|Born||7 May 1948|
|Instruments||Singing, Piano, Guitar|
He is one of the main representatives of Nova cançó (New Song), a movement of musicians, and singers who defied Francisco Franco's dictatorship by singing political songs in Catalan during a time where the language, and all other cultural manifestations of Catalan identity were prohibited. His famous song L'Estaca about a rotten stick about to fall was clear enough as an image of the regime. As many other singers, writers and politically involved artists, Llach left Spain and lived in voluntary exile in Paris until the death of the dictator.
Though partially dependent on arrangers, like Manel Camp or Carles Cases in his early works, Llach's songwriting has largely evolved from the more basic early compositions to a vastly more complex harmonic and melodic writing. Self-taught as a guitarist, Llach only strums simple chords on guitar. As a pianist, he shows a good knowledge of the European song tradition from Schubert to Hahn with touches of Satie (Nounou) and his local epygons like Mompou and Manuel Blancafort (A la taverna del mar). Llach has used salsa piano patterns (Terra) and jazzy whole-step block modulations (El jorn dels miserables) and progressions (Cançó d'amor a la llibertat). Some early songs depicted some inspiration from Baroque dances (Laura, Jo sé, Vinyes verdes vora el mar) and ostinato chord patterns (Non, Somniem). Among his influences as singer, Llach has recognized Mahalia Jackson and Jacques Brel.
His lyrics can range from the most traditionally romantic songs, to more complex, philosophical song-cycles and also to some more ironic, politically based compositions, with a more upbeat tempo. Sea and vitalistic attitude in face of death are two of his cherished topics. When he doesn't write the lyrics of his songs he puts music to a variety of poets, including Constantine P. Cavafy, Màrius Torres, Josep Maria de Segarra, Pere Quart and, perhaps more often than with any of the others, Miquel Martí i Pol.
Llach has occasionally performed as a classical baritone, including a series of performances of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, and has also been a wine producer. He marked his retirement as front man in music with a farewell concert in Verges (March 2007), in Baix Empordà on the Costa Brava, the village in which he grew up. Afterwards, he has performed incidental music for theatre pieces.
His 1968 song L'Estaca has become an anthem of the Catalan independence movement, regularly sung by crowds at demonstrations.
Some popular albums include:
- Com un arbre nu (1972)
- Viatge a Itaca (1975)
- Somniem (1979)
- Verges 50 (1980)
- I amb el somriure, la revolta (1982)
- T'estimo (1984)
- Maremar (1985)
- Geografia (1988)
- Un pont de mar blava (1993)
- Nu (1997)
- 9 (1998)
- Temps de revoltes (2000)
- Jocs (2002)
- Junts (2003)
- Poetes (2004)
- i... (2006)
- Verges 2007 (2007)
Literature about Lluís Llach
Pep Blay's Lluís Llach (Col·lecció "Los Autores", SGAE, Barcelona, 1995) is a biography about the Catalan musician and songwriter Llach, which contains an interesting chronology, a collection of pictures, an anthology of songs and a discography.