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“Molles”, the first great album of 2009 soon

No, it’s not “Merriweather Post Pavillion”. And it won’t appear on any list, it’s a self-edited album (well, it will be released in CD format in a few weeks) and moreover sung in Catalan, a minority language. I’m talking about “Molles” (“Scraps” , the second album by Gent del Desert (People From the Desert), a band from Ontinyent (Valencia, Spain) lead by Jesús Barranco, my beloved brother. He’s the truly genius of the family, the creative one (I’m the blah-blah-blah one). And, yes, his name is Jesus, a common name in my home country for the kids born just before Christmas. Oddly enough within the family we call him Jesse…
Gent del Desert is the music wing of a group of people, mainly poets, that gather every Thursday to sing some songs, read some poetry and chat about music and literature. They call themselves El Desert de la Paraula (The Desert of the Word). None of them except Jesús and Marc had previous music experience (some of the other members, Sergi, Vicent and Pep however have published poetry books), but they were able to put together a fine album called “El Pèndol i la Terra” (“The Pendulum and the Earth”, 2007) a spoken-word album about texts of David Mira, a poet from Ontinyent, with music backing of traditional folk-songs and Jesús and Marc own compositions.
The approach to the second work, recorded during 2008 at my brother’s house, has been quite different and more ambitious. They again added music to poems but the majority of the songs were sung, although they not abandoned completely the spoken-word. Moreover some poems were penned by members of the band. And the music approach abandoned the almost pure folk sound of the first album adding many colours and textures coming from diverse styles including rock. As Henrik perfectly pointed on a personal mail, “Gent del Desert both look back and ahead, being both rootsy and experimental”.
I got my brother’s approval about premiering an exclusive song from the new album only for Acclaimed Music, but before this please take a look to the MySpace page of the band by clicking here. Some comments about the 4 songs on MySpace:
- “Endavant els argonautes” (“Onward the Argonauts” is a fine song with a nice Mediterranean flavour. The arrangements include steel guitar, jew-harp, fiddle and accordion. The lead vocal here is carried by Marc and Sergi and there are rhythm acoustic guitars played by yours truly Honorio Barranco (and our younger brother Miguel too).
- “Education for Citizenship” is a joke about some actual political facts in Valencia. I’ll try to explain it: the Spanish central government (“left” with strong emphasis on the quotation marks) planned to introduce a new educational subject about citizenship as the one they have in France. But the Valencia government (conservative, this time without any quotation mark), maybe afraid of having a new “brainwashed” generation self-aware of dangerous concepts like democracy or solidarity, forced the teachers to explain that subject in English hoping that the students couldn’t understand a word. That absurd situation gave birth to this sarcastic song, with Jesús singing a literal English translation of local set phrases while a neutral female voice enunciates the Catalan original. Only a pearl: “la figa ’ta tía” is a vulgar expression that means something like “nah, I don’t believe you, you’re kidding”. But in English sounds undoubtedly nasty: “the cunt of your aunt”. And please pay attention to those fantastic backwards guitars!
- “Gat” (“Cat” serves as a double homage: to David Mira i Gramage, the poet that writes and lives in freedom and independence (just like a stray cat), and to ‘Gato’ Pérez, the singer-songwriter from Argentina that immersed himself in Catalonian rumba leaving a fascinating legacy. Probably Jesús will kill me for revealing this, but this tune is a reworking of one of the very first ones he wrote when he was 13 years-old (the original lyrics were “La culpa la tiene el profesor” / “Blame It on the Teacher”, we were still at school).
- “Nostàlgia de la pedra” (“Nostalgia of the Stone” comes from the first album, but I strongly recommend it because it showcases the abilities of Jesús as a guitar player (just listen to the excellent first minute) and as a singer (listen to his telluric voice on the last two minutes). Believe me, it’s not (only) brother love…

Re: “Molles”, the first great album of 2009 soon

My favourite song from “Molles” is (funnily) the only completely spoken one in the style of the previous album. The lyrics comes from a poem from Lluís Roda about childhood memories (and whorehouses). You can read the translated lyrics next. The first verses are recited by Vicent as an intro without background music but the main body of the poem is recited by Sergi, who does an excellent work here, giving the exact tone to the story, detached and mocking but evocative and emotional enough. And the background music is awesome (in my humble and non-objective opinion), based in another original tune with country and border flavours that Jesús and me used to play many years ago (once it was called “Vals del callejón”, “Backstreet Waltz”). The protagonists here are the guest musicians, the song is held up by an excellent tuba and accordion part played by Miquel Payà and the superb pedal steel part played by Pablo Gisbert (pupil of British blues guitar-player Graham Foster). The rest of the instruments are played by my brother himself, including guitars, percussion, banjo and piano (I love this fabulous honky-tonk piano figure at 2’14”!).
Seeing the many country music fans here in this forum I’m sure you will enjoy the song.

EL RECORD (Lluís Roda / Jesús Barranco)

És cert que fores, però a qui li interessa?
És teu només, el record.
Mira-ho bé i tira-ho, a ningú li fa cap falta...
Ni tu mateix te’n recordaves.

La via del tren separava la ciutat asfaltada. A l’altra banda, no hi havia res.
Un descampat, un solar, escombraries. Enderrocs, una séquia una claveguera.
Fang i pols i pedres. Herba i camps esparsos. Entre naus i fusteries i tallers.
I bars, alguns de putes.
I un enorme pal o bastida elèctrica, enmig de tot allò.
Un home havia sigut trobat mort penjat dels cables d’alta tensió.

La propietària del bar de putes, i l’única cambrera que recorde,
era una dona gran, o m’ho semblava,
amb faldilla curta i botes, cabell ros o platí,
amb uns pits punxeguts. Literalment, acabats en punta.

A les tres de la vesprada, el bar ja era obert.
L’obríem nosaltres cada vegada que passàvem, puntualment, en anar a escola.
Déiem puta i pegàvem a fugir.
Després ens aturàvem per veure si eixia, sempre eixia. I la véiem.

A vegades hi havia algú dins.
Sempre pensàvem que estava fent-ho.
A vegades deixava, o restava, la porta entreoberta.
I passàvem a poc a poc, una i altra vegada. Fins que la tancaven.
Era de vidre opac de colors diversos: roig, blau...

Un dia tancaren el bar, i en posaren un altre, amb vidres transparents pintats.
Recorde el dia que els pintaven: Bocadillos – Tapas variadas,
amb una clòtxina i una gamba dibuixades. No tenia cap interés.
Uns mesos després asfaltaren el carrer.

TEXT: Lluís Roda, Elogi de la llibertat, poemari datat a València entre 1990 i 1994 (Edicions Bromera, 2001, pàg. 7 i

THE MEMORY (Lluís Roda / Jesús Barranco)

You were there, that’s true. But, who cares?
The memory is only yours
Look at it and throw it, nobody needs it...
Not even you remembered it

The railroad track divided the asphalted city. On the other side there was nothing.
An open ground, a piece of land, rubbish. Rubbles, a ditch, a sewer.
Mud, dust and stones. Grass and scattered fields.
Between warehouses, carpenters workshops and repair shops.
And bars, some of them whorehouses.
And a big stick or electric pylon in the middle of that.
A man was found dead hanged on the high voltage wires.

The owner of the whorehouse, and the only waitress I remember,
was an elder woman, or so it seemed to me,
wearing a miniskirt and boots, platinum blonde hair,
with pointed breast. Literally, pointed at the end.

At three o’clock on the afternoon, the bar was open yet.
We opened it every time we passed, punctually, on our way to school.
We shouted whore! and ran away.
And then we stopped to see if she came out. She always came out. And we saw her.

Sometimes there was someone inside.
We always thought that he was doing it.
Sometimes the door was left, or remained, half open.
And we passed slowly, again and again. Until someone closed it.
It was made of opaque glass with different colors: red, blue...

One day they closed the bar, and they opened another one, with painted transparent glass.
I remember the day they painted it: Sandwiches – Assorted Snacks
with a draw of a mussel and a shrimp. It lacked any interest.
Some months later they asphalted the street.

LYRICS: Lluís Roda, Elogi de la llibertat (“Praise for Freedom” , poems dated in València between 1990 and 1994 (Edicions Bromera, 2001, pages. 7 and

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“El Record”, première in exclusive for Acclaimed Music Forum

Well, I’m afraid I’m having some problems with box.net. Hope that it works now. Click here to play or download the song.

Re: “Molles”, the first great album of 2009 soon

I'm listening to the songs now and I really like what I hear !
I love "regional" music, I mean people who sing and play their own traditional heritage mixing it with elements of modern music.
The Pogues did that. In France, Fabulous Trobadors do that too, in Occitan.
I like the songs, the exuberance of it all, the profusion of instruments, sounds, moods, past and future, local and foreign. i really have a good time, and the ethnomusicologist in me wants to analyse every bit of sound to see where (and when) it comes from.
It is much more ambitious that the first album, isn't it ?
i'd love to have a musician brother... You must have had great times playing together ! He's a great singer and guitarist. I love this almost African inflexions in the traditional singing...
And the last one, El record, is really great
The words are very moving. I love this language, nor Spanish, nor French, but a little of both
I really had a good time and I'm gonna come back to it.
Thanks Honorio for your great contributions to this forum
tell me how to buy the record when it is out

Re: “Molles”, the first great album of 2009 soon

Merci, Nicolas, for your kind words. I’m glad you liked it. Your opinion as the roots music expert on the forum is highly valuable for me. I would definitely check Fabulous Trobadors (just listened to a couple of song on You Tube and I liked a lot, especially “Ma ville es le plus beau park”) and I will recommend it to my brother.
And, yes, we have great times playing together, although only occasionally during the last years. We played together in different bands for many years, and now he has invited me to join Gent del Desert playing guitar and banjo for the première of the album next spring. I just can't wait.