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16/07/2018

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Raimon, "22 maig a la Villa"
The night of 22 May was unforgettable. We had the night of our lives at the concert in the Faculty of Medicine at the Universitat Complutense de Madrid.
1968 was a year of ferment in Madrid and one of the high points was the concert given by Raimon on 18 May, a concert that has gone down in history with the song titled “18 de maig a la villa”. Wanting to celebrate the anniversary, students in Madrid organized events throughout the week, including roundtables, exhibitions and a concert, featuring a performance by Raimon himself. On Thursday evening I visited the two exhibitions. There were stirring photographs of the concert and some fascinating documents relating to the event, such as the dean's statement to the police and the judge, press cuttings from the period, songs banned by the censor, posters, album covers, original paintings by Miró and Tàpies used to illustrate the covers of recordings by Raimon, audiovisuals, and so on. The concert hall was packed to the rafters. The organizers had set up giant screens in the entrance, so that as many people as possible could see the concert, which was also broadcast live online. It was wonderful to see eleven television channels covering the event, just as it was a joy to see how well Raimon was treated by the media in Madrid, with the usual exceptions. At the concert we met various Catalans who have taken up residence in Madrid, including Manuel Campo Vidal and Enric Sopena; Catalans who had come to Madrid specially for the concert, such as Jordi García-Soler, Ramon Muntaner and Rafel Ribó; and Madrid natives, such as Caco Senante, Rosa León, four government ministers, one former minister and the Valencian Jordi Sevilla. The audience included older people who may well have been at the original concert in 1968 and young people, probably students at the Complutense. To add to the fun, there was a large group at the entrance, waving placards and chanting, complaining that the generation of ’68 had betrayed them and demonstrating against the Bologna Process. When Raimon came on stage, he was greeted with a three-minute ovation. His set was serious and honest and made no concessions to nostalgia. It was the same concert he has given elsewhere this year, with a few of his old hits but mainly new material and four previously unreleased songs. To end the concert, he sang the inevitable “18 de maig a la villa”. First, Raimon explained the lyrics in Spanish and quite a few people followed the words in the program, using their mobile phone as a torch. As was to be expected, the audience demanded several encores, which included some of the old favorites, ending with “El Vent”, to which the Madrid audience sang along. Raimon is a vital part of our culture, the sort of artist we would have to invent if we did not already have him.
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