As a child, Joan Manuel Serrat learned from his mother that cultural heritage is the best gift for not losing focus. Through his songs, some of them turned into poems that caress the soul, he has achieved that numerous peoples on both sides of the Atlantic fly a single flag that shelters them under the shadow of peace. The author of Mediterráneo has just been awarded an honorary doctorate in the auditorium of the University of Barcelona (UB), whose origins date back to the beginning of the 15th century, making it one of the oldest cultural centers in Spain.

By his side, his good friend and fellow crusader, Maríia del Mar Bonet, has also been named an honorary doctorate by the same institution. From the UB they have praised this distinction “for having contributed decisively, through the musical group Els Setze Jutges, to the renewal of Catalan popular music within the framework of the fight for the recovery of the language and culture and against the cultural extermination of Francoism”.

Culture is the daughter of its time and, despite the fact that Pere Aragonès, president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, is determined that an agreed referendum on independence can be held in 2023, the University of Barcelona has emphasized that doctorates Honoris causa to Serrat and Bonet have been awarded for their “commitment to the causes of freedom, solidarity, democracy and human rights”.

Shortly before the solemn ceremony, the two artists spoke to the press. Serrat retired from the stage on December 23, 2022, but contrary to what many may think, the Noi del Poble Sec is still quite active. This was corroborated: “I haven’t stopped singing, I keep playing the guitar every day, I keep writing because writing, apart from being an escape valve, is also an exercise that if you don’t end up doing it regularly, it ends up being more difficult. I’d rather do this than crossword puzzles and sudoku puzzles.

For 56 years, Maria del Mar has used music as a vehicle for connecting peoples. From her native Mallorca, she settled in Barcelona as a young woman where she began working in a ceramics workshop until her tenacity led her to Els Setze Jutges.

In the time that we have had to live where the culture of cancellation boils to the point of causing the reinterpretation of culture (books, movies, music), the singer-songwriter has confessed that “at the moment there is a fascist tone in the world of power because they are trying to prohibit what was not liked in the Franco era. (…) I remember when in the 70s I came to this university with a mask to sing for freedom”.

Serrat is calm. His daughters, María and Candela, and his wife, Candela, are waiting for him in the auditorium, as well as other illustrious doctors such as doctors Estivill and Clotet. “Regarding the loss of freedom, we should think about what that freedom represents for whom. Many want freedom for themselves, but they do not give it to others. Freedom is that others think as they think,” says the Catalan troubadour. , who added that to achieve freedom “you have to keep getting up and rolling up your sleeves every day.” At this same university, Serrat studied engineering for three years.

Both honorary doctors have celebrated their respective distinctions with a gift given to those present. They sang Cançó de l’Amor Petit as a duet.

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