CULTURE

Catalan, Mediterranean tunes at new Benaki wing and on Naxos

A multifaceted artist is expected for two live performances in Greece this week. Maria del Mar Bonet – a musician, poet and one of the greatest voices of Catalonia – will go on stage in Athens and Naxos. The singer, who is also a painter and a friend of the late Spanish artist Joan Miro, is set to appear at the New Wing of the Benaki Museum tomorrow. Two days later, on Saturday, she is scheduled to appear as a guest of the Naxos Festival at the Bazaios tower. Born in Majorca, the artist was brought up with the region’s traditional sounds. Demonstrating a particular interest for traditional Catalan tunes, her first public appearance came in Barcelona in 1967, followed by her first recording that same year. In the 1970s, Bonet began venturing outside Spain’s borders in an attempt to break away from the Franco dictatorship, a regime which censored her songs. It was during this period that she started mixing traditional music with new sounds, creating a Mediterranean blend. During her extensive travels, the singer has collaborated with numerous artists, including Mikis Theodorakis; the celebrated Greek composer’s music features in one of Bonet’s albums while the singer has also appeared on stage with Maria Farantouri. Over the years, Bonet has immersed herself in North African music as well, at times blending South American tunes with those of the Mediterranean, while all along continuing to work on Catalan sounds. In 1992, the artist was awarded the National Prize by the Catalan government for her efforts in making Catalan music more popular and accessible in her country and the world. For further information call the Benaki Museum on 210.367.1000 and the Naxos Festival on 22850.31402.