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Gata Cattana

Gata Cattana

Spanish Rapper Gata Cattana (RIP) illustrated by Henrike Ott

Ana Isabel García Llorente. Behind her name, there was never just one person: the woman, better known by her stage name Gata Cattana, described herself in her Twitter bio as a “rapper by night, poet by day and from time to time political scientist”. All three facets of her life can be found in her music as Gata Cattana. As a musician, the Andalusian from Córdoba became the new feminist voice of Spanish rap. In her lyrics, Gata Cattana manages to balance everyday observations from feminist perspectives with allusions to ancient mythology, as well as Andalusian and pop culture. Her lyrics alternate between mythological symbols and crystal-clear punchlines, in which she expresses her anger about her experiences as a woman and about social inequality in society.

In a 2017 interview, she talked about her being influenced by US artists and, for her, female reference points in music such as Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill or Princess Nokia, as well as by the music of her Andalusian homeland: flamenco singers such as Estrella Morente or Niño de Elche. Since her childhood, Ana Isabel García Llorente was not only influenced by flamenco songs and hip hop beats, but was also fascinated by history, ancient mythology and poetry.

Since 2008, she has combined all of these interests and influences into rap as her alter-ego Gata Cattana. She recorded her first EP “Los siete contra Tebas” (2012) while studying politics in Granada. While Gata Cattana‘s hypnotic voice rapped more on dark minimalist samples and slow electronic beats in her first EPs, she gave stronger musical references to flamenco on her second EP “Anclas” (2015). Thus the opener “La Prueba” begins with a spherical downbeat on which she sings the first minute to Flamenco. Her song “Lisístrata”, the last track of “Anclas”, is now considered a feminist anthem in Spain. In 2016, she released a compilation of unreleased songs with “Inéditos”, and her first book of poetry “La Escala de Mohs”.

In 2017, Gata Cattana worked on her first album “Banzai” in Madrid, which was to be released in the first half of the year. On March 2, 2017, she died unexpectedly from an anaphylactic shock. Friends and family, as well as her producer David Unison released Gata Cattana’s last album posthumously in October 2017. On this album, she partly broke away musically from her previous EPs: The album is determined by spherical trap beats: Lyrically, she remains true to herself. “Banzai” is melodically and atmospherically just as little a Happy Feel-Good album  as its predecessors. Musical allusions to flamenco are found – but are more discreet, hidden behind the spherical sound carpets.

The last album is worth listening to in chronological order, as the vulnerable sides of Gata Cattana (“Nada Funcionando”, “Hermano Inventor”, “Desértico”) alternate between the almost carefree songs (“Limonero”, “Mi Negra”, “Mi burra”) and the familiar side of the rapper, which expresses anger and searching in contemporary society (“Banzai”, “Fuego”, “Papeles”). “Banzai” is a perfect first – and last – album of an exceptional Spanish artist.

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