Dancing for Catalan, the ‘lip dub’ for the language

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Almost 2,000 participants from all sections of Barcelona’s cosmopolitan and multilingual inhabitants have taken part in a mass dance-in, lip synching to a song by the Catalan rock band Gossos.  Known as a lip-dub, the event was organised by la Plataforma per la llengua ‘the Platform for the language’, a body which promotes the use of the Catalan language, in conjunction with 23 organisations representing various immigrant communities in the city.  The idea of the mass lip-dub was to provide a fun and participatory way of popularising the Catalan language amongst the city’s large population of young people from migrant families.

Held in the centre of Barcelona yesterday and today, the video will be broadcast on Catalan television on 26th April, Sant Jordi’s day, which is known in Catalunya as el Diada del Llibre ‘the day of the book’.  According to Catalan tradition, the day was celebrated by loved ones giving one another a book and a rose, as a rose is for love and a book is forever.  The lip-dub is being popularised as a modern love token between Catalunya and its diverse citizenry.

Speaking to Europa Press, Daniel Mundet, head of Plataforma per la Llengua, spoke of his pleasure that the event had attracted so much support, and that it would encourage people to use Catalan as their normal everyday language and the common language of Catalunya.  Organisations representing the city’s Senegalese, Morrocan, Pakistani and Latin American communities are all taking part.  

“[The language] is the entrance gate to Catalan society,” said Mr Mundet, “and it is key for social cohesion.”  

Gossos (‘dogs’ in Catalan) are one of the most popular Catalan language bands on the thriving Catalan music scene.  They first came to public attention with their hit single, the anti-war anthem No és nou (It’s not new).  The lip dub per la llengua ‘lip dub for the language’ has attracted the support and participation of many well known figures in the Catalan arts and music scene.

Lip dubs are a popular means of making political statements in Catalunya, as well as having a bit of fun.  The world’s largest lip-dub event was held in the Catalan city of Vic on the 24th October last year.  Lip Dub per independència ‘lip dub for independence’ attracted 6,000 participants who lip-synched and danced their way through the streets of the city to the tune of La flama ‘The Flame’ in a joyous call for Catalan independence.

Lip Dub per Independència, Vic 24 Oct 2010

Below is an English translation of the lyrics to the Catalan song.

Amb l’espurna de l’historia With the spark of history
i avançant amb pas valent and advancing with a brave step
em ences dins la memoria was lit within my memory
la flama d’uns sentiments the flame of certain sentiments
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Viure sempre corrent To live always running
avançant amb la gent advancing with the people
rellevant contra el vent moving against the wind
transportant sentiments transporting sentiments
viurem mantenint viva we will live keeping the flame
la flama a traves del temps alive throughout all time
la flama de tot un poble en moviment the flame of a whole people in movement
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Amb colomnes de paraules With columns of words
i avançant la llarga nit advancing through the long night
entre els cels, mars i muntanyes amongst the skies, seas and mountains
del escenari d’un sol crit of the landscape’s single cry
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Viure sempre corrent To live always running
avançant amb la gent advancing with the people
rellevant contra el vent moving against the wind
viurem mantenint viva we will live keeping the flame
la flama a traves del temps alive throughout all time
la flama de tot un poble en moviment the flame of a whole people in movement