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The havanera in Catalonia

The arrival of soldiers, indianos and traders from Cuba after the Cuban Independence War, favoured at the beginning of the last century, that the havanera became very popular. The great success that the zarzuela had among the the Catalan and Spanish audience, and the performance that some choirs and choral societies made of them, made it easy that the americanas, as they were called at that time, enjoyed a wide and varied audience. However, after this culminating moment, the havaneres suffered a severe decline during the the 1950s and they only survived in very small popular environment, especially on the Ampurdan coast. They did not survive as  a clearly identified genre in taverns and huts by the sea, but mixed up with several songs of the time: boleros, polkas, sardanes, jotas..... sung by no professional performers of an enviable musicality.

In 1948, Xavier Montsalvatge, Josep Maria Prim and Néstor Luján published Álbum de Habaneras, considered the first attempt to safeguard a genre in danger of extinction. Some years later, in 1966, in Calella de Palafrugell, it was presented the book Calella de Palafrugell i les havaneres by Joan Pericot, Frederic Sirés and Ernest Morató. The organizers in order to present the book held a Cantada d'Havaneres in the tavern called Can Batlle: That was the origin of the Cantada d'Havaneres of Calella de Palafrugell, the first edition of which was in 1947.

The Cantada d´Havaneres of Calella  acted as a real turning point in the promotion of the creation of the first singing groups, just formed to to take part in the Cantada. Turism and the disappearance of the old fishermen's world made  the havanera disappeared from popular environments. The havanera had moved from the tavern to the stage.