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Los sara fontan

Los Sara Fontan is on the rise

04 January 2024, 11:18

After years playing in DIY scenes and honing their dynamic, Barcelona duo Los Sara Fontana are ready to share their music with the world.

After five years together as a group, having played over two-hundred shows across Europe and the UK, scoring films and dance productions and even winning the Ciutat de Barcelona Award in 2022 for their groundbreaking 4132314 project, Los Sara Fontan finally released their debut album, Queda Pendiente, in October last year.

Self-produced from their own home studio, it’s a propulsive body of work that acts as the culmination of years of learning through improvisation, collaboration and experimentation. However, for the progressive duo of Edi Pou and Sara Fontan, it also marked a more traditional urge to breakthrough to a wider audience via mainstream process for both touring and recording.

Los Sara Fontan will perform this January at ESNS in Groningen, Netherlands. Celebrating its 38th edition, it’s an industry-focused conference that brings together more than 4,000 delegates, including representatives from more than 400 festivals spanning 40 different countries. Catalan Arts has been a festival partner for over a decade, giving a platform to nearly fifty acts from the region through the ESNS Exchange programme which spotlights acts from across Europe and the UK who are ready to take the next step in their artistry and careers


Fontan is a classically trained violinist who studied in the UK at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Originally from Valencia, with the exception of a grunge phase in her teenage years, she grew up on a diet of the great (mostly male) European composers. Pou, however, comes from the other side of the musical tracks, “We met in the middle,” he laughs. After studying journalism, he came up through Barcelona’s rich DIY punk and hardcore scene where the emphasis was less on technical accuracy on stage, and more about visceral energy.

Los Sara Fontan 25c Tamaradela Fuente

When Fontan arrived in Barcelona she began to experiment with her training. She met Pou through the local scene. At the time, he was piecing together an innovative mix of DJs, classically-trained musicians and fellow self-taught players to improvise live with the help of a conductor. The two hit it off and began playing together, first in the orchestra, for a time as a trio, before finally creating Los Sara Fontan after a few false starts. “We started many years ago to try to play as a duo and it was a total mess. We were both bragging in front of the other, like, look what I can do, and it didn’t work,” laughs Pou.

Initially their live sets were loosely choreographed and greatly improvised, the pair both enjoying the freedom which came from being able to continuously build and refine. With a network of fellow DIY artists and promoters, they thrived outside the confines of a rigorous touring and release schedule. “We are lucky to have discovered that they're also other ways that work,” says Pou. “As we've been playing for many years and we are lucky enough to feel part of a network of communities in different countries, so we've been able to play.”


However, over time their music has become tighter, their live shows further cementing around their creations. Los Sara Fontan’s priorities began to shift. “If you want to go to this circuit, you have to make a record,” Fontan explains. “It works like that, we know it, but we were not interested in that. There's other ways of being around, which was something we needed to prove to ourselves because we think sometimes in such a creative profession like music or anything with art, when you have to put it out there is only one way of doing it. It's like, how can we be so creative and you have to do a record and then it gets so poor in the creative ways of putting it out.”

Through their scoring work they taught themselves new techniques and ways to write, produce and record. “It's a completely different way of working because it's with a computer and it's not with the body, and we love it. They're two different experiences,” says Fontan. “One of us composes a little bit and then we give the music to the other one, like - keep on going, I don't know how to do this bit, you fix it. I remember once he recorded for me, I don't know how many clarinets, and I was like, my god, what can I do? And he just left. I didn't even know how to start the harmony, it was like, ‘OK, do whatever.’”

For their award-winning 4132314 project, the duo used the patterns from textile factories as inspiration for their compositions. Collaborating with Cocanha, a duo from the south of France and fellow Catalan duo Tarta Relena, they created a concert which commemorated the history of textile production in the region. “They asked us to try to make a show involving the memories of the old workers of these textile factories, which were mostly ninety percent women,” says Pou. “We had conversations with ex-workers from the factory, we investigated all the music sung collectively while working with their hands. We were transforming textile patterns from the south of France and north of Catalonia into scores. It was a really, really amazing experience and we are still doing it. Every three or four months we meet, the six of us, and it's a huge pleasure.”

Everything led them to finally recording their debut, Queda Pendiente. Self-produced in their purpose-built home studio with a little help from their friend, producer Santi Garcia, it’s a deep, textured and embracing listen. Tracks like “Wall-e” shift sonic landscapes from the fantastically destructive to the playfully obtuse, while pieces like “JJ.OO.” are luscious in their rhythmic melodies. Their move into releasing also marks a new set of experiences. “We already experimented with how to be out there without having an album and after five years it was not challenging anymore. So let's go to a different challenge,” says Fontan.

“Also, I think that we've learned to record,” continues Pou. “Maybe we wouldn't have known how to record this music first because it was much more improvised and during the years we have learned to settle. It feels like the right moment to do it.”

This year also marks the right moment for Los Sara Fontan to begin playing bigger shows further afield, one of their main reasons to showcase this January at Eurosonic Noorderslag. “Every time we've played in central or western Europe, we’ve felt that there's a nice response, there’s a nice community of people interested in the music that we do,” says Pou. “During these five, six years, not recording, working with this word of mouth thing in Spain it works, but outside Spain it's much slower. So the good thing about this kind of festival is that as a lot of people gather there, it's an accelerator. I’m looking forward to discovering bands and meeting people to make something together, much like we've done all our lives.”

Los Sara Fontan plays at Eurosonic on 18 January

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