Some Barcelona traditions can’t be described in words because their essence is based on sensations, rhythms, sounds and small, intangible details that raise the spirits every time the sun goes down. With almost 20 years of history and thousands of concerts held, the Mas i Mas Festival fits this description perfectly. To speak of its magic, we might make reference to Shakespeare’s famous play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate, as this year’s festival, taking place between 28 July and 10 September, will offer us many, many nights to dream and dance in a hot summer that promises thrills on and off stage.
With an eclectic, risk-taking mentality not shying away from the true party spirit, Mas i Mas Festival’22 will bring jazz, flamenco, electronica, techno, hip-hop and Latin music to venues as iconic as the Palau de la Música Catalana (opening night), the Jamboree, the Tarantos, the Moog and Paral·lel 62 (closing night) featuring big stars, creative forces from Barcelona and emerging talents. Mixing a global vision and a local spirit, this year’s event will have bands that integrate artists from our city with top international figures. It will also highlight Afro-American cultural roots thanks to projects with a strong musical and social commitment.
The opening concert of Mas i Mas’22 will be held on 28 July at the Palau de la Música Catalana, featuring the influential British band Soul II Soul. The modernista venue full of history will host a unique performance by this double-Grammy-award-winning group who redefined Black roots music at the end of the eighties with hits like “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” and “Keep on Movin’”. An approach with the rhythms of R & B, neo-soul, hip-hop, dance and reggae that began linked to the London sound system culture and remains current in the digital age.
After this seminal opening, the musical temperature will carry on rising night after night at all the festival venues. Highlights at the Jamboree include the campaigning project against the death penalty in the USA by Albert Marquès & Keith Lamar called Freedom First (29/7); the piano of Georges Cables with its legendary echoes (4/8), Wayne Escoffery’s heroic sax (5/8), the MIGRA project led by the Marta Garrett and Irene Reig Quintet (12/8), the Caribbean rhythms of Julito Padrón’s Cuban Feeling (19/8), the multifaceted sax of the Seamus Blake Quartet (30/8), the saxophone explosion of Tenorism feat. Rick Margitza (2/9) and the heavy soul of Raphael Wressnig & The Gift Soul Band feat. Gisele Jackson (4/9).
The Moog will host a special programme that will follow the regular patterns of the iconic Raval club. The highlights include producer Wará accompanying the Greek disc jockey living in Berlin Unhuman (5/8); the showcase of Barcelona label M.U.S.A. with the debut of young m.o.d.u.l.machine (10/8); the Hard First session devoted to neo-rave, with the always effective Kristy Vicious and the Barcelona disc jockey Vendex (12/8); and the presence of two undisputed leaders of Spanish techno: Ángel Molina and Svreca (27/8).
Once again the Tarantos will host the most groundbreaking flamenco acts of the time in weekly residences, such as the Barcelona company Flamenco Dorao (from 1/8 to 7/8); the environmentally committed art of Carmen Doorá (from 15/8 to 21/8); and Marina Paje journey marked by dance (from 29/8 to 4/9).
The closure of Mas i Mas’22 will take place at Paral·lel 62 (formerly Barts) on 4/9, with a huge party devoted to urban music featuring the collectives responsible for the programme of the Jamboree Sala 2, as well as a freestyle show and exhibition battle between four MCs and on 7 September with a big jazz festival starring the British Soweto Kinch Trio with their jazz and hip-hop fusion based on sung creations talking about racial conflict, and the French Ethio-jazz sextet Arat Kilo in cooperation with the American rapper Mike Ladd and the Malian singer Mamani Keita. The memorable closure party will also feature the drummer Gergo Borlaï with sax player Llibert Fortuny, and the flamenco-tinged jazz band Oleándole.