Joan Garriga & the Galàctic Mariatxis: “Volant”
On the final Saturday of the Festival, Joan Garriga & the Galàctic Mariatxis added Latin dance rhythms to the evening concert, melding Catalan music, reggae beats, and Romany accordion melodies into one absorbing set. Although the sun was beginning to set, the audience wasn’t going anywhere.
As the Galáctic Mariatxis played through the night, the audience’s energy intensified. A small group of Catalans in the crowd built a truncated human tower, to the delight of both the audience and the band, while others brought Festival participants and visitors together to dance in a wide circle, their speed increasing with each musical phrase.
The climax of the concert was the finale “Volant” (“Flying”), a song in the Catalan language about letting go of anxiety and fear and being free. Both the band and the audience let their emotions flow freely through the music as they danced and sang along uninhibited.
“Fly, fly away! Without shame!” Joan Garriga called out, a command heeded by the audience.
People who had never even spoken before were holding hands and jumping in a circle or spinning each other like ballroom dancers. The music and the energy brought us all together.
“You have to feel life flowing through your body,” Garriga sang. And that night, it seemed everyone could feel that flow, whether they were performing, dancing, or standing as I was behind a camera.
Abigail Hendrix is a video production intern at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. in medical anthropology and global health.