Category Archives: Season 2014

Human Towers.cat

This article was first published in Catalan at 2015 Revista Castells‘ yearbook. #47

If 2014 has been an extraordinary season at home, outside it has been a significative year. The iniciative Human Towers for Democracy, the Concurs de Castells and the news on world-class media have exported the fet casteller everywhere. While the event promoted by Òmnium Cultural brought castells to six european cities, the Concurs had international recall and castells in its whole have been object of reports on some extraordinary headers, like the article, cover included, that The New York Times dedicated to the Santa Úrsula diada to symbolise the process of Catalonia to sovereignty.

2014 has marked a milestone, because several initiatives were born to recognise not only the castells made at home, but to appreciate the work of the colles working overseas. Apart from those already consolidated colles, during the past year several casteller initiatives emerged worldwide. Continue reading Human Towers.cat

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Videos from the top of a Castell

The 2014 season just started, and there are already two colles who begin to try POV cameras from the enxanetes: Castellers de Vilafranca and Minyons de Terrassa, and the videos are astoundingly beautiful and absolutely not suitable for those with vertigo nor overprotective parents.  Continue reading Videos from the top of a Castell

Castells from the view of people from New York City

Yesterday i had the opportunity to attend a special Castellers de Barcelona rehearsal, as they were hosts of a group of New Yorkers. The youth football school – oh, sorry, “soccer” school – Manhattan Kickers FC came to Barcelona for their yearly trip, and one of the activities scheduled were castells. They actually knew nothing about castells when they crossed the door of the building, but I bet they will remember that evening most of their life.

The visit started with some explanations from some members of Castellers de Barcelona about what castells are and what they mean to Catalan culture, and the screening of the video made when castells became UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage:

The little players and their parents were very impressed about the fact that castells may fall, and actually one of the questions was precisely about the injures. Dídac, one of the organisers, make the audience laugh when he said “Castells are safer than playing football”. Well, he was in front of a football team! Afterwards, they went downstairs to the rehearse track (I have to say that the building of Castellers de Barcelona is really huge) where they witnessed the rise of three welcome pillars by the Castellers. and then, some of them got sash-rolled.

It’s a fun moment, when you sash-roll somebody who has never seen a castell in his or her life, because most of them don’t know what are they going to do. They are confused and excited at the same time. The excitement of a first-timer is always a lot of fun.  Continue reading Castells from the view of people from New York City

Castells overseas!

If you’re reading us from Paris, London, Lisbon, Geneva, Brussels or Berlin, then open your agenda by June 8th (it’s a sunday) and write down at 12pm: “CASTELLS”.

These diadas, called “Human Towers for Democracy” are supported by the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya and the organisation Òmnium Cultural within the campaign “Catalans Want to Vote”. This campaign wants to call attention around the globe about the situation in Catalonia, where the Spanish state denies the right of self-determination through the polls of the Catalan people.

Continue reading Castells overseas!

Are castells a competition?

Yes. And no. But yes. Let me explain it better:

Well, for me they actually have a certain degree of competitiviness, and a proof of it is that every two years a tournament is held: the “Concurs de castells”. This contest is set in Tarragona, where the colles who enter into the tournament compete between them, and we are talking about something like the Champions League of Castells. And I am not kidding.

(If you hit HERE you’ll find a Spanish video I couldn’t link properly where the news reporter says that the Concurs is the Champions League of Castells. Literally!)

Although, they say that the contest is split in three days, but I guess that we could talk more about three contests for each kind of colla. This is, during the season, the colles try to do their best and get classified for sunday, which is the day where the competition is for the biggest prices. So more or less the comparision with the UEFA Champions League is more or less correct, as the CL doesn’t start only with the group phase, but there are a lot of previous qualifying phases. By the same token, colles try to do their best when it comes to a Concurs’ year.

Continue reading Are castells a competition?