Lluís Serrahima dies, pioneer of Nova Cançó and author of ‘What do these people want’

The writer and composer Lluís Serrahima (Barcelona, ​​1931 – 2020) died this Sunday at the age of 89. Serrahima, who was the son of politician and writer Maurice Serrahima, was one of the undisputed pioneers of the New Song. He wrote the article We need songs now, which the 1959 is going to publish to Germinàbit and that it is considered the founding text of the movement. In that article Serrahima highlighted the need to create songs in Catalan, interesting and different about literary topics in Spanish. Poet, writer and law graduate, Serrahima created lyrics that later became anthems such as What do these people want, popularized by Maria del Mar Bonet, I am a bourgeois by Miquel Porter i Moix i Cla i Cat of The Four Cats.

Serrahima sometimes performed in public with his own songs. In 1961 he performed I am withered like the moon at the CIFC headquarters, where the first concerts of the Nova Cançó took place. In that act, simple but very successful, he coincided with Josep Maria Espinàs and Remei Margarit. Although he never recorded an album and soon retired from the stage, he continued to write lyrics for other performers such as Bonet and Porter. In 1963 he published the book of poems Like the sea, which was awarded at the Cantonigròs Festival, and in 2004 released I set sail again. In 2018, 1984 Editions published a collection of his poems under the title What do these people want? Poetic legacy. The book includes the unpublished Figures in essay, with literary edition and prologue by Glòria Soler Giménez.

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In the mid-1980s, Serrahima headed the Music Service, a department of the Generalitat created to promote song in all its manifestations. At that time he also directed the organization of the summer concerts of Camprodon accompanied by Jordi Serra. In 2007 he received the Medal of Honor of the Parliament of Catalonia together with the members of Els Setze Jutges.

The President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, has lamented Serrahima’s death via Twitter. Torra has said he was “a great person” and has expressed his condolences to the writer’s family and friends. The musician Lluís Llach also recalled Serrahima, whom he said was “a great reference” for the Nova Cançó movement. “He often took me to his house when I was a sixteen clueless judge,” Llach added. Singer-songwriter Cesk Freixas also lamented the death of Serrahima, whom he defined as “the ideological and conceptual founder of the New Song movement.”