Iconic singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat, veteran rocker Manolo García and pop stars Antonio Orozco, and Amaral among more than 50 artists who performed Saturday night (FEb. 11) at a three-hour benefit concert for refugees in Barcelona.
Tickets were sold out for the 15,000-capacity show at Palau St. Jordi, a stadium originally designed for the 1992 Olympics.
Performing artists also included rock pioneers Sopa de Cabra, Barcelona circus-inspired sweethearts Txarango, Basque ska-punk activist Fermin Muguruza and flamenco guitar great Pepe Habichuela. Syrian musician Feras Almalat and Cheb Balowski, a Barcelona-based group whose multinational members sing in Arabic as well as Catalan and Spanish, were also on the bill. Catalan folk singer Lluís Llach, a legend in Barcelona, came out of retirement to perform at the concert. The acclaimed theater group La Fuera dels Baus, known for its visceral acrobatic and urban performance art, were the artistic directors of the event.
Serrat, Barcelona’s emblematic poet bard sang his classic “Mediterraneo” with an ensemble of other artists in what should be an emotional apex of the concert. Last month, Serrat, together with other artists, released a new “We Are the World” style video of “Mediterraneo.” His 1971 love ballad to the Mediterranean and its people has taken on a tragic poignancy as thousands seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe have perished on the journey.
Conceived to raise awareness about the crisis of displaced people, and particularly Spain’s slow response to taking in refugees, the mega-concert was part of a campaign by non-profit citizens’ organization Casa Nostra Casa Vostra (Our House Your House). The team behind Barcelona’s annual Primavera Sound festival is involved in producing the event, which was broadcast live by Catalunya’s TV3. The concert preceded a demonstration called for Feb. 18, which organizers will predict will be the largest in support of refugees to be held in Europe.
Watch highlights from the concert below.