On May 6, 2021 the Official State Gazette (BOE) published the recognition of the music bands of the Valencian Community as “representative manifestation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage”, granted by the Ministry of Culture, led by the Valencian José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, through Royal Decree 229/2021, of 30 of March.
This is a distinction that was positively received from the Valencian music sector. However, when the musicians read the small print of the BOE, the text generated surprise because it indicated that its origin is in the Catalan choral groups. This is how he explains it:
- “The origin of the Valencian music bands is due to a movement mimicking that of the Catalan choral groups (Clavé), a movement that entered Valencia via the Royal Society of Friends of the Country. But in Valencia it was the instrumental groups in the form of music bands that gained strength and even more so in the rural world, with a differential characteristic consisting in that very soon they already had music schools in which they trained the young members of these bands. In their origins, the music bands were made up of groups of farmers and music-loving artisans who, once their daily productive activities were finished, dedicated their free time to rehearsals and also to offer concerts to the entire population ”.
Motion in the plenary session of the Valencia City Council
The Federation of Musical Societies of the Valencian Community (FSCV) has requested a rectification so that the wording is changed. The question arrived yesterday at the plenary session of the Valencia City Council, which unanimously approved to demand from the Ministry of Culture a correction in the wording on the origin of the Valencian musical bands.
The motion was raised by the councilor Paula Climent (PP), to whom the delegate of Culture, Gloria Tello (Compromís) presented an alternative. It expresses the recognition of the Valencia City Council “for the great work carried out by the Valencian bands and their musical societies, all of them a sign of identity of the Valencian People”.
The agreement will be transferred to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez; the president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig; the Ministry of Culture, the Senate, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Political Groups of both the Spanish Parliament and Les Corts Valencianes, and the FSCV.
Councilor Tello stressed that the distinction from the Ministry of Culture supposes “recognition based on scientific and academic studies.”
50% of the musical societies in Spain are Valencian
According to data from the Federation of Musical Societies of the Valencian Community (FSCV), 50% of the societies and music schools in Spain are in this autonomy. There are a total of 550 federated and more than 1,100 music bands.
All of them bring together 43,000 musicians, 60,000 students and more than 200,000 members, in addition to 600 educational centers (400 music schools, 170 schools for students and 30 authorized centers), with 5,000 teachers. In addition, musical societies are present in 95% of municipalities with more than 500 inhabitants
The ministerial decree indicates that “the musical societies of the Valencian Community are the main agents for the protection, diffusion, promotion and promotion of Valencian musical and artistic traditions and constitute an associative fabric that generates spaces for intergenerational relations”.
And he adds that “the band is an irreplaceable element of both the religious and secular festive context of the Valencian Community”.
Religious and military influence, but also of a political and festive nature
Tello delved into the exact origins of Valencian musical societies, among which he highlighted elements of fundamentally religious and military influence, and also of a political and festive nature. He clarified that, although there are “parallels” between the beginnings of the bands and the Catalan coral formations, “notable differences in their development” were quickly observed.
For her part, the ‘popular’ mayor Paula Climent described the wording of the text as “gratuitous, incorrect without foundation and totally false”, and attributed it to “Catalan interests” of the central government.