Ovidi Montllor is one of the big icons of the social rights defence movement in Catalonia. He belonged to the musical movement known as “Nova Cançó”, a trend born during the last decades of Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. The protest song composed and played, in most of cases by the same person, was symbolic, metaphorical and almost hidden. It created a style and a new concept in this tumultuous period of our history.
Montllor was born in Alcoi (Valencia) in 1942 and in 2015 we commemorated the twentieth anniversary of his death. He was a singer, a poet, an actor, and even a clown, and all these facets of him have been the base of the several tributes to him that have taken place across our geography.
In fact, we already talked about him in the Cultius some months ago, with the tender words by Rosa M. Torrademé. Today we bring you a brief chat with Albert Ventura, a philologist and writer from the city of Tarragona and one of the organizers of the tribute to the Valencian singer that took place in the same city some days ago.
Where did the idea for this tribute come from?
This tribute comes from the ingenuity of journalist Enrique Garcia Garden, who had already been working on the commemoration dedicated to Vicent Andrés Estellés (another Valencian Poet) in 2013.
Did Ovidi have any special relation with the city of Tarragona or the choice of the place was just to pay tribute to the songwriter in general terms?
Ovidi influenced a whole generation and even some generations later, and thus he has been linked with the city in an indirect way, although we certainly know that he acted there in some occasion.
How was the public reception this year? What things do you think might have been more successful?
We are pleased with the general reception of the cycle and with respect to the performance of the show Ovidi3 (a theatre-music group that plays the repertory of Ovidi Montllor), we are very happy because we managed to fill 90% of the capacity of the Metropol Theatre. We had planned to do some other different activities that would add to what we have done but for reasons of agenda and logistics they finally fell from schedule.
Do you have future plans for the project? To organize any other activity or maybe a second edition? Or even extend the activities and homages to other famous people …
The Tarragona Ovidi’s Year was born to this commemoration, but we do not close the door to any future small project in the line of tribute, either in formats such as the one we have already seen or something completely different … we will see. For the moment, we just want to digest and close the program that we have held.
Cinema, theater, singing, poetry … many were the arts that Ovidi Montllor cultivated, and all of them have been present in this tribute in the city of Tarragona. Not only with a film forum, but also through conferences and debates such as the one presented and moderated by journalist and musicologist Antoni Batista “Ovidi Montllor: the artist, the singer, the clown“ and a conversation between Jordi Martí Font, guitarist from the band Llunàtics, singer, doctor of Catalan philology and journalist; Carla Gonzalez, journalist, doctor and university professor, and Marta Llorens, actress and teacher. Three facets and three visions of the artist.
The last show of the tribute, as mentioned in the interview, was the performance of the theatre-music group Ovidi3 in the Metropol Theatre. The group formed by three singers -David Cano, David Fernàndez and Borja Penalba- play Montllor’s poems and songs from his three facets.
We leave you with one of the songs the group played, a Tribute to Teresa, in this case in the the desFolCa’t of the city of Calaf last June with Meritxell Gené.
Cover image: poster from the Tribute to Ovidi 2016.
Concert photos from: www.ambideraimon.cat
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