Km 90 (Folka Records, 2008)
Spanish folk music group Vallarna recently sent us a copy of their album titled Km. 90. vallarna is formed by folk musicians from the lands of Castile in central Spain and Cantabria, the mountainous region in northern Spain. The pieces collected come from the folk traditions of both regions and are renovated with contemporary folk music arrangements, inspired by Spanish and Irish folk music pioneers.
The musicians initially met at the Thursday night jam sessions that took place at the Cervecería Maeloc (Maeloc beer house) in Valladolid. They shared a common interest in the dulzaina (traditional Spanish reed) and the jotas and rondas dances of Castile and Campoo (Cantabria).
Vallarna includes some of the best folk musicians in Spain. The line-up features Javier Roman on fiddle, vocals and rabel (ancient Spanish fiddle); Arturo Rodriguez on dulzaina, Castillian key flute, three hole pipe and Sanabrian bagpipes; Jesus Enrique on guitars and vocals; and Carlos Martin Aires on bouzouki and guitar.
Several guest musicians appear on Km. 90, including American cellist Natalie Haas, who plays regularly with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser; Jorge Arribas (La Musgaña and Celtas Cortos) on accordion; Antón Davila (Celtas Cortos and Aran) on uilleann pipe; Sergio Sordo (Naheba) on Asturian bagpipes; and José Luis Rodríguez Magdaleno (Naheba and Cambera’l Cierzu) on bodhran.
Km 90 is a powerful album by one of Spain’s most significant contemporary folk bands.