Boig per tu – SAU (Pep Sala, Carles Sabater & Joan Capdevila) piano solo arr. with sheet music
SAU – The band’s history
Sau was one of the pioneer groups of the so-called Catalan rock, and one of the most successful of the movement. Its members were Carles Sabater, singer, Pep Sala, who played the guitar and, sometimes, the keyboards, Carles Oliver, Josep Sánchez, Ramon Altimir and Joan Capdevila.
The group was formed in 1987 and its career lasted twelve years, interrupted suddenly by the death of its singer, Carles Sabater, on February 12, 1999, at the end of the first concert of the XII tour, in Vilafranca del Penedès.
Pep Sala and Carles Sabater had met in May 1986 following an interview that Carles gave to Pep for a TV3 (the Catalan TV) pilot program on cultural life in the Catalan regions.
The founding nucleus of Sau was formed by Pep Sala, guitar, composer and lyricist together with Carles Sabater and Joan Capdevila, as manager and also lyricist for the group’s first songs. Not long after, the drummer Carles Olivé ‘Charly’ was added, who was a student of Pep Sala at the Aula d’Estudis Musicales de Vic, the keyboardist Ramon Altimir and the bassist Josep Sánchez.
In the autumn of 1987, they gave their presentation concert at Les Tallades, in Vilanova de Sau, where they met to rehearse. A few weeks later they started recording their first album at Estudis Aurha in Esplugues de Llobregat. That same year, as part of a special New Year’s Eve program on Catalunya Ràdio, Miquel Calçada’s ‘Mikimoto’ was played for the first time on Catalan radio, with the song ‘Sense estil’.
This song, along with nine others, ended up making up his first album titled No pucs quit de fumar (1987 Audiovisuals de Sarrià). This first disc contains the theme ‘Records d’Irlanda’, a longing ballad that Pep Sala later covered for Hèctor Vila and which earned him some Gold Hits in 1990 and the first of the Depressed series, which would continue with each subsequent group production.
The following year they began to prepare a second album Per la porta de service (1989, Picap), at the same time that they had to replace the drummer Carles Olivé ‘Charly’ who had to join the military service (precisely following from this experience arose the song ‘I was not born to be a soldier’).
Joan Molina covered the absence of Carles Olivé. This album marked a before and after in the history of Sau, at least in terms of promotion.
From then on, Sau began to do concerts beyond the strictly regional scope and to give interviews to the media, where they constantly had to justify themselves for singing in Catalan, as Joan Capdevila recalled: ‘ One proof that until then it was a strange phenomenon to sing in Catalan was that when we visited the radio stations, the first question the announcers asked, without exception, was: ‘Why do you sing in Catalan?’ A question to which Pep and Carles used to answer, ironically: ‘Excuse me, when Bruce Springsteen comes you also ask him why he sings in English?”
The third album Quina nit (1990, Picap), recorded between London and Barcelona, represented its definitive consolidation. Among the best known songs stand out ‘Boig per tu’ or ‘The midnight train’. The year 1990 was a time of changes in the formation of the group. Drummer Carles Olivé ‘Charly’ left the band for good and was replaced by Quim ‘Benítez’ Vilaplana, while percussionist Gerri Duffy and Joan Molina were added. That same year, Sau was signed by BM Management, and they traveled to London, Santo Domingo and New York to record the music video for the song ‘It’s pointless to continue’.
Sau participated in the historic concert of June 14, 1991 at the Palau Sant Jordi, together with Els Pets, Sopa de Cabra and Sangtraït, where the European record for attendance in a closed venue was achieved, with 22,104 spectators, in full swing from the generation of the 90s of what has been called Catalan rock.
The success led them to be signed by the multinational EMI and from there, everything went from there. Collaborations with international musicians and producers such as Phil Manzanera, Keith Bessey, among others, which resulted in the double album The Greatest of Sinners (1991, EMI-Odeon), which went gold with 50,000 copies sold only in the Catalan Countries.
Another of the most important performances was the one that took place in the Plaça de Braus of La Monumental in Barcelona, on July 9, 1992, recorded for the live album entitled Concert de mitjanit (1993).
Dani Nel·lo and Carles Segarra (Los Rebeldes), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Robbie Robertson (The Band) and Luz Casal collaborated in this concert. Precisely Luz Casal included in his album the Spanish version of ‘Boig per tu’, the most popular song of Sau.
In 1994 Sau’s last album was recorded with the EMI record company, Junts de nou per first cop (1994, Emi Odeon), after a sabbatical from the band in which Carles Sabater continued to climb the stages doing the musical Tods dos with the actress Àngels Gonyalons, under the direction of Ricard Reguant, while Pep Sala released a solo album Fins que calgui, with La banda del bar.
That same year they started a tour of twenty-five Catalan theaters, with a completely different concept, more theatrical, than years later, already in 2017, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Osona band, Pep Sala and Joan Capdevila decided to publish it in double CD format under the name Una nit al teatre (2017, L’Indi music).
In 1996, the album Set (1996, Guilleries Music) was released and a tour began consisting of forty concerts that ended at the Palau d’Esports in Barcelona, just at a time of certain decline in which had been called Catalan Rock. At the same time, the album Básic (1996, Picap) was released, which was a compendium of unplugged songs and other unreleased tracks, such as ‘Laia’, ‘La canção de Nadal’ and ‘El teu nom’.
The following year, Carles Sabater and Pep Sala made another stop with Sau to ‘dedicate themselves to exploring their personal universes’, as Joan Capdevila said. Thus, Carles continued on stage with Dagoll Dagom, performing in the musical Els Pirates and starring in the television series Sitges that was broadcast on TV3, and Pep released the second album with La banda del bar, Paranys de the memory.
However, they had time to do a small tour of nineteen days and eleven concerts with Sau that took them through Europe (Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany).
Sau’s last album with unreleased songs, which was published in 1998 under the title Amb la luna a l’esquena (1998, Blanco & Negro Music), was like a return to the origins. It was full of collaborations, such as that of bassist Pino Palladio, drummer Tino di Giraldo, violinist Simone Lambregts and the new addition to the band, Josep Lluís Pérez, substitute for Jordi Mena, who had become Jarabe’s guitarist from Palo.
On February 13, 1999, after the first concert of the XII Tour, in Vilafranca del Penedès, Carles Sabater died and with him, Sau, according to the statements of his colleague and founder of the band, Pep Sala, who appeared three days later in a press conference announcing that Sau ceased to exist.
In 2000, the Carles Sabater Tribute Concert went on sale, a double CD with Sau’s best-known songs that were covered by Pep Sala, Lluís Llach, Lax’n’Busto, Tomeu Penya, Sopa de Cabra, Luz Casal, Adrià Puntí, Sangtraït, Ia & Batiste, Carlos Segarra, among others, during the concert that took place on April 27, 1999 at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. In 2003, a handful of songs for si mai et fan falda was published, a triple CD compilation with 51 songs chosen by Pep Sala.
In 2021, Pep Sala and Joan Capdevila published the book entitled Quina nit, the album that changed our lives (Rosa dels Vents), which according to Pep’s words, ‘It is a book full of experiences, anecdotes and of memories of the two years it took to prepare, record, promote and tour Quina nit. Let’s explain what happened to us between 1989 and 1991’.
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