Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés: “Jo no canto per la vue”
“I don’t sing for the voice,” Maria Arnal croons in her native language of Catalan in “Jo no canto per la veu.” “I sing for the next person. I sing for a friend.”
With the decision to sing in a historically marginalized language, Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés have established themselves as a voice of the people of Catalonia. “For me, it’s about creating this counter-movement, speaking about all these topics, you know. It’s our thing,” Arnal told Michelle Martin in an interview with NPR.
As the intern in charge of coordinating the Catalan musicians at the Folklife Festival, I got the opportunity to accompany Arnal and Bagés to that interview. Though I experienced Bagés’ rousing guitar and Arnal’s soaring vocals in the intimate space of a radio studio, what I remember most was the humanity and integrity that the duo bring to their songs. With this video, experience the human electricity of Arnal and Bagés’ music for yourself.
Aidan Keys is a senior at Howard University double majoring in English and Spanish. She is currently interning with the Catalonia program of the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.