After an interval following Paul Preston’s talk at St. Michael Without, came Songs of Spanish Exile sung by Clara Sanabras.
Clara was born in France to Catalan parents, grew up in Barcelona and has lived in England for over a decade.
Beautiful and multi-talented, playing guitar, piano and indian harmonium she was accompanied by Harvey Brough and occasionally, very distantly by their small son, Jimmy Jo, waiting in the wings.
The songs were sung mainly in Spanish and Catalan and included songs by Catalan composers, Joan Manuel Serrat and Lluís Llach, both born after the Civil War, as well as the traditional El Cant dels Ocells, made famous by the cellist Pau Casals who was exiled to France in 1938 and died in Puerto Rico in 1973, before the end of the Franco regime.
Amongst her own compositions Clara had set to music a poem by her great-grandfather, Joan Llongueras, El Recer del Vol Dispers, describing the sentiments of those exiled from Spain.
The name Clara means ‘clear, bright’, and her beautiful voice was both of those as it filled the Church of St.Michael Without.
Clara’s haunting interpretation of the songs conveyed loss and longing, making me wonder whether ‘enyorança‘ can be inherited; her exquisite voice conveyed that state of longing, and I often feel it for a Catalunya that is only partly mine.