Cantada d’Havaneres de Calella de Palafrugell
The first Saturday in July is marked in the diary of all lovers of Habaneras. For the last 50 years, a recital has been held on this date in Calella de Palafrugell and since its beginnings it has been one of the top events of the Costa Brava summer.
The first performance was in 1966, with a get-together of singers in the Can Batlle tavern. Due to its popularity, the following year it was organised more formally on En Calau beach and as the event grew in scale, two years later it was transferred to the square and beach of Port-Bo, where it has been held until the present day. This area was formerly the centre of the town’s commercial and fishing activity, and even today it preserves the traditional layout of the streets and the white porched buildings on the seafront.
The combination of the fishing setting and the sound of habaneras have made this the leading event of the genre on the Costa Brava and in Catalonia. Its popular success and fame have grown over the years, attracting over 300,000 people to this beautiful fishing village. Apart from the grandstand, which is set up especially for the occasion and is sold-out in seconds, many of those attending watch the recital from the sand of the beach or from their own vessels, as the stage is built into the sea. The imprint of the singers floating on a platform on the water, surrounded by dozens of small boats, all the coves of Calella packed with people and the white fishermen’s houses in the background is one of the images of the summer on the Girona coastline.
This year the Calella Habaneras concert is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and a host of activities have been prepared to commemorate the event.
One of the songs which is an ever-present is the mythical El meu avi. The lyrics of this song, possibly the best known in the area, tell of the seafarers of the town. While the melody of the song rings out, the audience keep time with a handkerchief in their hands.
Cantada d’Havaneres de Calella de Palafrugell. Eric Bruguera.