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Taking stock of disinterment at Sant Ferran cemetery

Foto conclusions politicsFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, Balearic culture minister Fanny Tur and Luís Ruiz, chief of the Eivissa-Formentera memory forum, gathered today in the administration's former plenary hall to present the conclusions of the effort afoot since November 29 to exhume remains at the Sant Ferran cemetery.

The disinterment was paid for with a €16,780 Govern grant for the Fòrum per la Memòria d'Eivissa i Formentera and a €4,000 contribution from the Formentera Council. Work was overseen by forensic archaeologist and anthropologist Almudena García-Rubio and a crew formed by Juanjo Marí Casanova, Glenda Graziani, Paqui Carmona, Pau Sureda, Sergi Moreno and Nicholas Márquez-Grant.

The impulse behind the undertaking was to unearth the remains of five individuals —Jaume Ferrer Ferrer (Jaume de na Morna), Josep Ribas Marí (Pep de Baix), Joan Tur Mayans (Joan de can Pep Damià), Jaume Serra Juan (Jaume de can Mariano d'en Corda) and Vicent Cardona Colomar (Vicent de can Fumeral)— executed on March 1, 1937 in the Sant Ferran cemetery.

As part of the undertaking, crews performed various targeted digs on and adjacent to the 125-square-metre lot (six and five, respectively) which has been used as a burial ground since 1903. Inspections inside the cemetery followed conventional wisdom about where the interred remains might lie: beside the cemetery entrance, underneath headstones built in 1956 and 1984, below another gravesite and in a portion of the cemetery without grave markers.

Popular memory again directed the probes outside the cemetery walls, conducted with the help of excavating machinery. Patches of cement found on the southeast wall served to confirm the hypothesis that holes were pocked into the walls by executioners' bullets. Four bullets were detected as well; one wedged into the wall was uncovered with the help of a metal detector.

The major discoveries emerged thanks to investigation of skeletal remains, which suggested the bodies of the five executed were at some point transported to the ossuary to make room in the cemetery for new burials, then a common practice with ageing remains.

Crews unearthed a piece of a humerus bone and two fragmented skulls bearing firearm damage not unlike others found in Civil War burial sites. According to specialists on the crew, the marks are clearly the result of injuries sustained close in time to the victims' death, rather than damages inflicted during the remains' keeping in the ossuary.

The crew of specialists are carrying out two checks to confirm the skeletons belonged to the individuals in question. The first is a review of the civil registry. At present, workers have checked entries from 1991 to 1994 and confirmed the absence among the 156 deaths catalogued of any caused by impact of a projectile, which would indicate that the three bone fragments might indeed correspond to one of the five victims.

The second test involves DNA cross-checking of the remains and living relatives of the victims. All five families have agreed to participate in the examination, which could produce results in as soon as two to four months.

Día de la Constitución

Foto actuacio constitucioAt 11.30am today, the Formentera Council hall of ceremonies was the site of the administration's observance of Día de la Constitución. President Jaume Ferrer read an address to the crowd after which three students from the traditional music workshop at Formentera's school of music and dance —Cristian Tur, Joel Roig and Eric Roig— offered performances. In a show of thanks, President Ferrer presented each of the musicians with a gift.

Formentera salutes its volunteers

foto dia voluntariThe Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare held its observance of International Volunteer Day today, December 5, with a special show of appreciation for volunteers on the island.

In the morning from 11.00am to 1.00pm and again in the evening from 5.00pm to 7.00pm, visitors to Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució found a booth stocked with information and signup forms for potential volunteers.

At 7.00pm, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer offered local volunteers thanks and saluted them with a toast. 

This Saturday's free concert 'Retrobada' is among hottest entries on Christmas 2017 programme

Formentera concert 2007This Saturday, December 9, the Formentera Council's culture department will host “Retrobada. Una nit a Formentera,” an evening of performances by Isidor Marí, Miquel Brunet, Aires Formenterencs, Imaràntia, Eduard Riera and Pep Lluís García. To culture secretary Susana Labrador, the free concerts from 8.30pm in the island's cinema are a standout part of this year's Christmas season and promise be a “night to remember”.

On December 29, 2007, Isidor Marí, the Aires Formenterencs and musician Miquel Brunet took the stage to play before the audience at the island's cinema. That concert, which lives on in the minds of the crowd that night in the Sant Francesc hall, is the driving impulse behind the push to revisit the effort for audiences today. “It will be an event steeped in that blend of creative energy unique to the islands,” pledged Councillor Parellada.

Isidor Marí, founder of the mythical group UC, has had a long, storied solo career, most recently cementing his performing chops on a CD in which he paid tribute to Bob Dylan with 14 of the American musician's songs translated into Catalan. A close relationship with the Aires Formenterencs (formed on the island in March 1989 by Xumeu Joan, Xicu Ferrer and Santi Marí) laid the groundwork for that mythical concert in 2007.

Joining them is singer-songwriter Maria José Cardona. If Cardona has logged frequent collaborations with Aires Formenterencs over the years and is one of rock group 4 de Copes's founding members, she also claims the duo Imaràntia as her alma mater. Pianist and producer Miquel Brunet is Cardona's other half in Imaràntia is pianist and producer Miquel Brunet and he maintains close artistic and personal ties with Formentera. His recording and production experience with the Formentera sound spans nine albums: all of Aires Formenterencs' LPs, a collection of traditional music titled “Caramelles de Formentera,” and Xumeu Joan's “Flautäria,” a celebration of flute music in the Pityuses.

Filling out the line-up are two world-class Mediterranean musicians: Eduard Riera on violin and Pep Lluís Garcia, one of the most in-demand and acclaimed percussionists in jazz. In a fine display of creative capital in the islands, these artists will draw from a catalogue that covers a breadth of styles as they present RETROBADA Una nit a Formentera. The show's title, near to “reunion” in English, stands as an unmistakeable nod to the revisiting of that artistry that was present on the stage in 2007.

Over twenty plus songs, audiences will hear a confluence of musical styles as the eight musicians are themselves morphed by the encounter, a feat of far-flung sensorial synergy. The subject matter is diverse: there are celebrations of nature's generosity, pleas for social justice that colour the broader narrative of commitment to the Nation, and displays of lovers' pining. Of course, we'll find the odd serving of humour thrown into the sonic mix, too.

The evening's main draw will be the very permanence and constance that the performers have come to represent over their varied artistic trajectories. Maintaining that their faith in their roots fuels their scorning of purisms, the group has one commitment: perform and blaze new trails on stage.

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