El Comunero or anti-fascism cultivated in songs

The song has this singular virtue of weaving a link between yesterday and today by making the memorable memorable. This is what the Toulousains of El Comunero have been doing for fifteen years, led by singer and guitarist Tomas Jimenez. A group ? More, a project. With for viaticum the history of the anti-fascist struggles through the most exemplary there is, that of the resistance of the Spanish people to Francoism. It’s that the source material is sublime. Rarely has struggle offered so many admirable songs, ritornellos of trenches that have become internationalist anthems or harmonic grids for jazzmen. After having invested this repertoire in two feverish albums, El Comunero, in 2008, and Sigue Luchando, in 2012, the group explored the register of Latin American wrestling brothers with Son de la Barricada, in 2017. They return today with Raices y Semillas (roots and seeds), the fourth opus in which the group tries its hand at composition. « It was time to take another step by writing our own songs », recognizes Tomas Jimenez, who however wanted to include in this album two songs by the Argentine communist poet and musician Atahualpa Yupanqui and the Spanish singer Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio.

Join the contemporary world

His roots, Tomas Jimenez maintains them with fervor. The El Comunero project germinates on the death of his grandfather. It was he, a communist activist and republican fighter, who gave the group the name given to it by his anarchist comrades, which could be translated as coco or communard. A sympathetic stigma that the grandson proudly wears. The project quickly finds militant extensions: the musician writes short stories, goes to schools from Lille to Marseilles, goes so far as to compose the music for a documentary, Operation Boléro-Paprika, about arrests coordinated by the French government of Communists in 1950, many of them Spaniards. “I started meeting witnesses, working with historians, authors, meeting guerrillas and guerrillas who taught me new songs, often unreleased and never recorded. An elder from the Durruti column even sent us three songs, sung a cappella, which had never been saved. There, it took on another dimension. »

Raices and Semillas rushes with the Walk of Cara Quemada, a subtle composition where the accordion intertwines with the bass of the bass clarinet. The song narrates in Spanish the fate of Ramon Vila Capdevila. This anarchist activist, imprisoned before being released by the Popular Front government, then engaged against Francoism and in the French Resistance, refused honors to return to haunt the Catalan mountains and end up assassinated there in 1963. “There had never been a song about this struggling life that sounded like a western. He’s the ultimate guerrilla, one of the last to fall. », recalls Tomas Jimenez. In Rosario Dinamiterathe group takes up the verses of the poet Miguel Hernandez dedicated to Rosario Sanchez Mora, a fighter in the Republican army, who will lose a hand at the front.

On the seed side, the song Welcome to Guernica recounts, the self-organization of a suburb of Buenos Aires in the face of speculators during the pandemic. “Since they had chosen Guernica as the name of the district, I said to myself that this new experience had to be told. » With Daloy Politseythe musicians are indignant in French at the universalization of police repression. “By calling on a Greek singer (Andreas Melas), Spanish singer (Vicente Pradal) and a Russian singer (Mitia Khramtsov), we wanted to point out that this question is significant everywhere. »

Doesn’t this album hide a desire to fit more into the contemporary world? “That has always been the goal of the process.corrects Tomas Jimenez. When you see the ultra-reactionary turn in Europe, or when you come across texts that talk about exile and refugees, it makes me think of what my grandparents went through. There was the desire to show that this story continues, that we find it in other countries, other times. » Cultivating one’s roots and planting seeds, a work of general interest sublimated by bewitching music.


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