Lluis Llach, the breath of the Catalan people

In 1968, at the age of 20, he composed The Stake (“The stake”), a song of struggle which denounces in covert words the Franco dictatorship. Since then, this song by Lluis Llach, translated into about fifty languages, has been one of the symbols of Catalonia’s independence, taken up in chorus at the end of the meetings.

→ READ. One last turn and then leaves, Lluis Llach leaves the stage

Forty years of international career later, the artist decides, in 2008, to stop, to leave his audience “In the fullness of physical form”. In 2015, he was elected member of the Parliament of Catalonia and supported the referendum on independence. In February 2020, he agreed to sing at the Perpignan meeting organized by Carles Puigdemont, the president in exile of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

In Barcelona everyone knows Lluis Llach. No one on the streets would venture to disturb his fluid solitude by asking him to pose for a selfie. This summer day when the heat crushes the few passers-by, all masked, he slips between the tables of a cool bar. He has plenty of time for visitors, speaks perfect French, he who lived in exile in Paris for a few years before Franco’s death.

Lluis Llach does not regret his life as a singer

“I had the privilege of knowing the generation that lived the Spanish Republic, he recounts. Those who ended up in the Rivesaltes camp in 1939, then organized resistance in France. In Paris, I lived at Porte des Lilas with an old couple, one anarchist, the other a communist. What energy! “

He does not lack either. He left the song to write and will release his fourth novel. “A song is only four minutes long. Whereas in a book, we can bring someone to life. ” His first novel, Make-up eyes (1), tells with love and light the epic of two boys and two girls from the popular district of Barceloneta, at the dawn of the 1930s. They will experience the bloody fall of the Catalan Republic. Success and prizes have greeted this first novel.

“Writing is a pleasure, that of creating a world where you come in like an apprentice and not like a master. Spend half an hour describing a chair; look at each paragraph like a table, and focus on retouching it ”… Lluis Llach does not regret his life as a singer. “It was an ordeal to write songs. Music imprisons words. Music is irrationality. It can cause uncontrollable emotion. She can also manipulate. While the text calls for reason. “

“I want Catalonia to be free”

On October 27, 2017, Lluis Llach was one of the deputies to vote for independence, before Madrid responded to this vote by putting Catalonia under trusteeship. “I want Catalonia to be free, to be able to decide what it wants to do. Independence is not a goal, it is a means. We are not behind a flag, but for a fairer, more democratic world ”, he pleads.

The artist and writer is not for the rupture but for the negotiation with Madrid. For him, the Spanish state will never be able to generate democracy. “The French people built the Republic. We left a dictator to die in his bed. We Catalans stand up against a Madrid administration that serves the interests of only a few privileged Spanish people. Independence is based on respect for democracy. “

His determination is total, but expressed gently. Lluis Llach is convinced to be in the sense of the story. “The exit of Great Britain from the European Union is an opportunity. It can allow us to put the economy at the service of society and not the other way around. Europe is the only democratic alternative for us Catalans, facing Madrid. “

The discovery of Senegal

In the meantime, Lluis Llach tastes the pleasure of writing stories. He does this most of the time from Senegal. “I write very well there. I’m out of context, and that’s fine with me. ” A Senegalese friend introduced him to his country twelve years ago.

“We stayed for a fortnight, and I thought I could help. “ He then created the Lluis-Llach Foundation and settled down for a year and a half to assess what he could do and with whom.

He decides to create a library in Palmarin, a coastal town, to equip rooms for tutoring, with about forty computers. “What I love is seeing these seats and tables all occupied by studious and focused children and teenagers. There are never enough places. “

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His inspiration. Three singers, three masters

“Three performers have deeply marked me in my singing career, confides Lluis Llach. Dfirst, Ray Charles, for his music and his voice. It unites all of the United States on its own. He has inspired so many artists, from Bruce Springsteen to Aretha Franklin. Then, Jacques Brel, undoubtedly the most complete artist. His words and melodies are magnificent. It brings together the talents of composition, lyricist and performer. Finally, Léo Ferré can also reach new heights. And at that moment, Ray Charles and Jacques Brel can only bow. Simply, Léo Ferré was irregular in his talent. “

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