Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Professor van Ginhoven Rey

Second Advisor

Professor Lambright

Third Advisor

Professor Harrington


This thesis is a study of the interaction of music and politics during the social movement in Catalonia, Spain, the nova cançó. This interaction demonstrates the importance of a cultural identity, imagined communities, and cultural planning for a nation. In the case of Catalonia, the nova cançó played an immediate crucial role in the transformation of society during the last years of the extremely repressive dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975). Franco controlled Spain ideologically through censorships and power over the media in order to spread his values of a unified, homogenous, nationalist fatherland. In this way, he destroyed the Catalan cultural identity to make them vulnerable and their cultural artifacts insignificant. As a result, the youth of Catalonia expressed their frustration through anti-Francoist songs and the revival of everyday use of the Catalan language in music in order to recreate their cultural identity. Modeling their system from the genre of French new song, these students used a metaphorical and symbolic musical language to surpass the censorship. Furthermore, they were the culture planners, a theory of Itamar Even-Zohar, who used culture as an active tool to create a social awareness and a historical memory through the messages in the new songs. The result was an influential social movement that united the Catalan citizens through Benedict Anderson’s theoretical imagined community. The most popular songs of the singers Raimon Pelegero Sanchis, Joan Manuel Serrat, Lluis Llach, and Maria del Mar Bonet were the anthems of collective resistance against the dictatorship, revealed the plight of the Catalan reality, and expressed hopes and dreams of a liberated future. The most revolutionary aspects of the movement was the way in which it created the collective imagination of a nation-state for Catalonia, the revival of the Catalan language, and the creation of a new cultural tradition for the region, which had been missing for decades. Today, the nova cançó is seen as one of the greatest musical movements that used political expressions and provided a sense of belonging for an entire culture and promoted social change after years of repression.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies.