Tag Archives: Galician music

Artist Profiles: Mercedes Peón

Mercedes Peón

Mercedes Peón who was born in La Coruña (Galicia, Spain) in 1967 has dedicated many years to recovering traditional music in her native Galicia and to teaching it in town schools and cultural associations. She has pioneered the formation of various female groups of singers and tambourine players.

Peón has also fronted several prestigious musical bands in Galicia and hosted a section about early Galician music on the local TV show Luar (Homeland).

As a music researcher, she published a book by installments titled Raiceiras (Roots women) that contains part of her field work in collecting songs. Peón has lectured on Galician folk music throughout the world and has received numerous awards for her teaching and her dedication to preserving the Galician tradition. “Ever since I was fortunate enough to fall In love with the songs of the people of Imense (a small town on the Galician “Death Coast”) I have spent years searching for those tunes that only the eldest among us can still remember because much as we may regret it over these last generations the oral transmission chain has been broken both here and In most of the world.”

The multitalented artist runs a record label called Discotrompo that promotes Galician traditional and folk music. Peón has also organized several festivals among them the traditional music festival for the Federation of European Cultural Associations and another called “Galicia Terra Unica”.

As a performer, as well as an accomplished singer, she is also a master of Galician bagpipes and of several traditional percussion instruments. Peón was awarded the special jury award in the Cídade Vella festival in Santiago de Compostela, the prize tobest singer and bagpipe performer at the Santiago de Compostela Folk Days and the Macallan award for Galician pipers at Lorient’s Festival Interceltique.

Peón has performed at many festivals throughout the world and she appeared as a guest on recordings and in live performances by artists such as Xosé Manuel Budiño, Manu Chao and Carlos Núñez.
Isué was her first solo album split between arrangements of traditional pieces and her own multicultural original compositions featuring a wide array of traditional Galician and international musical instruments combined with modern instruments. “… these years have witnessed the birth of a new phenomenon more commercial than cultural called “Celtism” which has assimilated apart from tunes from the Northern territories the pieces that were being composed by new Galician artists who took our traditional music as a springboard.

The fact is that by chance or design during this time I have had the pleasure to discover music from other ethnic groups especially from North Africa and find in them so many affinities both in rhythm and expression with our melodies that I have good reason hr wanting to look further south (or North if we refer to Africa) for musical connection and communion. Nevertheless I plead “not guilty” if this new album is wrongly categorized (though everybody is free to pigeonhole it as they wish).

That said I myself must face the ever-complicated task of defining what this new venture into the realms of music means for me. I humbly consider that this record made with all my loving care expresses many of the things I have learned and my knowledge of the Galician oral tradition (no doubt my understanding of it and my means of expression are the channel for these feelings I let fly from deep within me to whoever wishes to share them).

I should also stress that in order to place it stylistically it could be defined as fusion music for as I said before current trends move in that direction mixing modernity with the oldest sounds and creating somewhat paradoxically totally innovative sounds with intimate harmonies that do not leave aside the frenzied rhythm of Galician traditional patterns such as “ribeiranas” and “empunadas”.

To cut it short these are sincere and complicated melodies matching oldness with modernity and so on. But above all the work is infused with passion and love. My advice therefore is that you listen to ‘it and then say what you will.”

Discography:

Isué (Resistencia RESCD106, 2000)
Arjú (Discmedi DM 838-02, 2003)
Sihá (Discmedi DM 4325-02, 2007)
Sós (Do Fol, 2010)

Share

Artist Profiles: Matto Congrio

Matto Congrio

Matto Congrio was one of the most important modern Celtic bands in Galicia (Spain) in the early 1990s. Its only album Matto Congrio released in 1993 was an exciting combination of Galician Celtic music with Irish music, rock, salsa, samba and reggae. The album was recorded in Dublin and featured top Irish musicians as guests, including Paddy Moloney on the uilleann pipes.

The group’s founders Carlos Núñez, Santiago Cribeiro and Anxo Lois Pinto were all graduates of the Obradoiro Escola de Gaitas e Zanfonas de Vigo (Vigo School of Bagpipes and Hurdy Gurdies) the most important school in the development of new Galician musicians. After Matto Congrio disbanded Carlos Núñez went on to become one of the most sought after pipers and flautists in international Celtic music. In addition to touring worldwide with The Chieftains he has recorded solo albums for major labels and is a frequent guest in many recordings.

Former Matto Congrio members Santiago Cribeiro, Anxo Lois Pinto and Isaac Palacin formed a new group called Berrogüetto which became one of the top contemporary Galician folk music bands.

Musicians:

Santiago Cribeiro – accordion, piano, keyboards

Anxo Lois Pinto – violin, bagpipe, soprano sax

Diego Bouzon – Spanish and electric guitars

Isaac Palacin – drums percussion

Carlos Núñez – flutes and bagpipes

Pancho Alvarez – bass mandolin guitar

Discography:

Matto Congrio (Lyricon, 1993)

Share

Artist Profiles: Xosé Manuel Budiño

Xosé Manuel Budiño

Piper Xosé Manuel Budiño was born in Moaña, Spain. He is the son of a fisherman, a common profession in Spain’s northwestern reion of Galicia. Although none of his family members were musicians, Budiño soon took an interest in the traditional music that his parents played at home.

In his hometown of Moaña there were also many choir groups and bagpipe bands that he listened to. Budiño’s first instrument was the flute, which he learned how to play in school at the age of seven. In addition to studying classical music, the kids also learned Galician traditional music.

A few years later, Budiño started to play the gaita (Galician bagpipe), performing locally and throughout the region with a local group. What started as a group of friends playing bagpipes eventually became a bagpipe school, Escuela de gaitas Semente Nova (New Seed) de Moaña, which is now run by the city government.

A young Budiño played at his first festival at the age of 15, in Lorient (Brittany). He knew then that he wanted to be a professional musician. He started to play at competitions for solo pipes in Galicia and won some awards. His success led to his selection as representative of Galicia at the Macallan Trophy at the Lorient Interceltic Festival where he won the master bagpiper award several times.

In 1991 he formed Fol de Niu together with musicians that came from the fields of folk and jazz music. The progressive folk band lasted four years until the band members decided to go in separate ways. At that time, Budiño formed his own band.

His first album, Paralaia, came out in 1977. Budiño invited one of his idols to play in the album, Breton musician Jacky Molard. There were other Breton and Spanish musicians that participated in the recordings. The album brought immediate critical acclaim and Budiño was praised as one of the new innovators of Galician music.

To record Arredor (Around), Budiño traveled to Glasgow (Scotland) where he worked with producer Donald Shaw.

Discography

* Paralaia (Resistencia, 1997)
* Arredor (Virgin Music Spain, 2000)
* Zume de Terra (Boa, 2004)
* Home (Falcatruada, 2007)
* Volta (2010)
* Sotaque (Fol Musica, 2013)
* Paralaia 20 Aniversario (2017), book + CD

Web site: www.xosemanuelbudino.com

Share

Opposing Extinction

SES – Opoñerse Á Extinción

SES – Opoñerse Á Extinción (Fol Musica, 2016)

Opoñerse Á Extinción is the fourth album by Spanish singer-songwriter Maria Xosé Silvar, who uses the artistic name SES. The album features original songs by SES, written and sung passionately in the Galician language. The songs revolve around love and also have a strong social message.

The majority of the material on this album has American blues, rock, country influences along with some Latin American rhythms.

Buy Opoñerse Á Extinción

Share

From Brussels to Santiago

Ialma – Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago (Home Records, 2016)

Ialma has evolved into of the finest exponents of contemporary Galician folk music. The core of the group are four women based in Belgium who have Galician ancestry. Galicia is the northwest region of Spain, where there is a rich tradition of female ensembles who sing and play tambourines (pandeiretas in Galician).
The album’s title indicates their musical route: Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago (the trail from Brussels to Santiago). The group’s style revolves about strong vocal harmonies backed by tambourines, guitar and accordion.

Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago features traditional lyrics and melodies as well as original compositions by members of the ensemble and a few other authors. Although the majority of the pieces have deep Galician roots, Ialma has brought in other traditions such as flamenco palmas (handclap percussion), Basque chalaparta and a song by Italian songwriter Lucilla Galeazzi.

The lineup includes Verónica Codesal on vocals and pandeireta; Magali Menéndez on vocals and pandeireta; Natalia Codesal on vocals and pandeireta; and Marisol Palomo on vocals and pandeireta.

 

Ialma – Photo by Marius Schoonbroodt

 

The band’s regular instrumentalists are producer and arranger Quentin Dujardin on guitars, bass, bodhran, percussion and backing vocals; and Didier Laloy on diatonic accordion.

Guests: Esteban Murillo on vocals and palmas; Ross Ainslie on whistle; a children’s choir; Jonathan De Neck on diatonic accordion; Olivier Hernández on chromatic harmonica; Sebastien Taminiau on violin; Rémi Decker on bagpipes; Raf De Backer on Hammond organ; Iñaki Plaza on chalaparta; Boris Schmidt on double bass; Fred Malenpré on percussion; Stephan Pougin on percussion; Philippe Mobers on snare drum; and Nicolas Scalliet on drums.

 

 

Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago is a superb album rooted in Galician music traditions performed by one of the finest Galician music ensembles in the current music scene.

Buy Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago

Share

Galician Land of Dreams

Fuxan Os Ventos - Terra De Soños
Fuxan Os Ventos – Terra De Soños

Fuxan Os Ventos Terra De Soños (Fol Musica, 2016)

This is a special re-edition of the Fuxan Os Ventos’ album originally released in 2009. This release of Terra De Soños includes a beautifully packaged hard cover book, a music CD and a DVD featuring the live performance and additional information about the band.

Terra De Soños showcases the work of one of the most veteran and influential Galician folk music bands in the past decades. In this case, the band got back together after 20 years and invited well-known Galician musicians to join them on stage in Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

Fuxan Os Ventos’ music features beautiful vocal work featuring several vocalists, zanfona (hurdy gurdy), guitars, flutes, gaita (bagpipe) and percussion.
Although the Fuxan Os Ventos lineup has changed throughout the years, the band members that appeared on Terra De Soños include Carmen Vázquez on vocals; Tereixa Novo on vocals; Xoán Fuertes on violin, bouzouki, guitar, and vocals; Alfonso Fernández on vocals; Maruxa Fociños on vocals; Moncho Díaz on guitar, flutes, vocals; Antón Castro on mandolin, zanfonas, ocarina, and vocals; Xosé Vázquez on traditional percussion and vocals; and Pedro Lucas on gaitas, flutes, ocarina, and vocals.

Fuxan Os Ventos was supported by a band featuring Xose Lois Romero as musical director, on accordion and traditional percussion; Simón García on acoustic bass; Benxamín Otero on oboe and English horn; Guillerme Fernández on guitar; and Roi Adrio on percussion.

The Cuarteto Saiva Nova also participated in the concert with Fernando do Campo on concertino; Iván Novo on violín; Sergio Sieiro on viola; and Rosalía Vázquez on cello.

Additional guests: Mercedes Peón on tambourine and vocals; Pepe Ferreirós on gaita, uilleann pipes and tambourine; Uxía on vocals; dancers Vicente and Jaime of Nova Galega de Danza; Guadi Galego on vocals; Rodrigo Romaní on harp; Sabela Rodríguez on spoken word; Xabier Díaz on vocals; and Miguel Lustres on accordion.

Fuxan os Ventos, also known as Fuxan, was founded in 1972 in Lugo, combining traditional song and dance with new compositions. They sing in Galician and their lyrics celebrate Galician traditional culture. Their repertoire includes songs about women, love, smugglers, blind men songs, clothes washer songs, seamstress songs, knife sharpener songs, etc.

Terra De Soños is a splendid recording by an essential Galician folk music band.

Share

Contemporary Bagpipe Masters from Brittany

Pevarlamm – Deltu (Paker Prod, 2015)

Pevarlamm showcases the talent of one of the finest bands in the Breton music scene. The band is led by virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and composer Konogan an Habask. He plays bagpipes, bombard, uilleann pipes and low whistles.

Deltu is a fascinating voyage through the various European cultures connected to Celtic music. Pevarlamm perform original pieces inspired by Breton traditional music and jazz as well as folk tunes and dances from Bigouden and Pourlet in Brittany and other parts of Atlantic Europe: Ireland, Galicia (Spain) and Asturias (Spain).

The album lineup includes Konogan an Habask on bombard, binioù, uilleann pipes, and whistles; Elsa Corre on vocals, kayamb (flat percussion instrument from the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean), pandereta (Galician tambourine); Gabriel Faure on violin, mandola, and viola d’amore; Jérôme Kerihuel on drum set, dohl, and percussion; Thibault Niobé on guitars and bouzouki; and Erwan Volant on bass. Guest musician: Patrick Péron on Hammond organ.

Deltu is a superb Celtic music album beautifully-crafted by Breton masters Pevarlamm.

Buy Deltu

Share

Sketches of Spain

Not sure why, but I’ve recently been receiving a steady stream of music from the Fol label out of Spain. Some I initially put aside with the intention of getting to it later, only to have it seem to vanish in that strange manner that befalls neglected objects. So I set myself to being more attentive and more open-eared, and not surprisingly have been rewarded with sounds I’m enjoying very much. What follows are overviews of just a few, enough to make me realize how stupid I’ve been for not tuning in to the bigger picture. I promise I shall (or at least try to) from now on.

Guadi Galego is a sweet-voiced singer and pianist who straddles the vocal line between vulnerable and intense on what seems to be her second release, Luas de Outubro e Augosto. The songs are consistently low-key and beats of any sort are largely absent, and it doesn’t matter. With help from producer and multi-instrumentalist Pachi Garcia Elis, the disc is a short, entrancing flow of ballads that are sometimes minimally accompanied but often are built against walls of sonic ambience that, like Galego’s prominent vocals, carry a sense of both authenticity and experimentation.

 

Davide Salvado - Lobos
Davide Salvado – Lobos

 

Mixing largely acoustic instruments with tradition, plus hints of jazz and Celtic feel, Davide Salvado scores big on his album Lobos. Layers of percussion (some played by Salvado himself) underpin arrangements that range from melancholy to jaunty and are enriched with guitar, mandolin, sax, bouzouki, standup bass, accordion, violin, ocarina and harp. Salvado’s vocals are emotive yet understated, with an appealing everyman quality that goes straight to the heart and stays there. This one’s a definite keeper.

 

Cristina Pato, Davide Salvado, Anxo Pintos, Roberto Comesaña - Rustica
Cristina Pato, Davide Salvado, Anxo Pintos, Roberto Comesaña – Rustica

 

Salvado’s vocals and percussion are also part of a quartet called Rustica whose self-titled disc is a co-release with Zouma Records. (So why does my computer’s Windows Media Player display graphics that look Japanese when I put the CD in? I don’t know.) The other members of Rustica are Cristina Pato on gaita (bagpipe), Anxo Pintos on zanfona (hurdy-gurdy) and accordionist Roberto Comesaña. Traditional to the core, the music they create is spine-tingling, magical stuff that usually seeps its way along with a droning, shadowy mystique.

A few lively, danceable attacks break the spell as well as adding to it, and if I had my way, there’d be a higher quotient of fast moments to balance out the prevailing slow ones. Salvado goes more operatic here than on his own release, the musicianship is superb, and the album’s rather lean 31-minute running time doesn’t feel lacking.

 

La Banda Morisca - Algarabiya
La Banda Morisca – Algarabiya

 

I figured I would like La Banda Morisca’s Algarabiya when I saw the imagery the CD presented. On the cover are five guys walking a sandy landscape, one with a guimbri slung over his back. Better still, there’s the hamsa symbol in the band’s logo. Spanish music with ties to the country’s Moorish past is a particular favorite of mine, and it looks and sounds as if La Banda Morisca will go a good way towards filling the gap left by the demise of Radio Tarifa. The former’s combination of North African and Middle Eastern motifs with enhanced flamenco rhythms is a fiery delight that ignites every track.

 

 

JoseMari Cala’s undulating, serpentine vocals lead the way, and instruments that include oud, cumbus and the aforementioned guimbri recall Andalusian splendor while stirring sparks of Gnawa spirit. Oh, and what do you know- there’s guest player Vincent Molino, once a key member of Radio Tarifa, making the sound even more zesty with his superb reed work.

From the looks of the italicized small print, it seems the tracks were recorded in the far, far southern Spanish region of Tarifa as well. But La Banda Morisca aren’t simply imitators. (Most of their grooves are played on a drum set rather than hand percussion, for example.) What they certainly are is an incredibly tight band with an obvious passion for modernizing Spain’s rich musical past to just the right degree, and they do it very well.

Share

Uxía & Narf to Present the Galician Songs of Spain in New York City

Uxía and Narf
Uxía and Narf

Uxía and Narf, two of the most important and influential artists from Galicia, are set to perform on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at Roulette in New York City.

The two Galician artists are touring the US together for the first time, performing their acclaimed Baladas da Galicia imaxinaria program. Their joint musical project features classics from both musicians, including poems by such writers as Rosalía de Castro and Federico García Lorca; original compositions; and adaptations of traditional alalás, the oldest and best-known form of Galician music.

Uxía and Narf y have built bridges across cultures through music, and created their respective repertoires after years of traveling and exchanging experiences with artists from Angola, Brazil, Mozambique, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau.

Uxía, “the voice of the Atlantic” is celebrating 30 years of a career that has made her one of the most popular musicians of Galicia. Fran Pérez (“Narf”) is one of the most innovative artists from the last two decades in Galicia; after more than 20 years in the music scene and playing in different rock bands, he created his musical project “Narf” in 2004, becoming one of the most interesting figures of the Galician cultural scene.

The concert will be preceded at 7:00 p.m. by an informal discussion with the artists about Galician music and its context hosted by Marina Carracedo, lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA.

Time: 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Roulette
509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue
Downtown Brooklyn
917-267-0363

Share

Songs of the Galician Women

Various Artists Cantigas de Mulleres
Various Artists
Cantigas de Mulleres

Various Artists

Cantigas de Mulleres (Fol Musica, 2012)

This compilation presents some of the best female talent in the Galician music scene. Galicia is a region in northwestern Spain that is part of the Celtic music world, with a rich traditional of female singers and percussionists. Cantigas de Mulleres spans various musical genres, from Galician folk to light jazz and bossa nova-infused pop, featuring female performers, songwriters and composers.

Highlights of Cantigas de Mulleres include Galician folk-rooted world music instrumentalist and innovator Mercedes Peon; the fascinating folk orchestra Sondeseu from the Vigo School of Folk and Traditional Music; the female-fronted vocal and percussion contemporary folk group Leilia; extraordinary piper Susana Seivane who was born in a family of renowned bagpipe makers; the 86-year old vocalist Señora Carmen, a member of folk group Malvela; the magical Medieval-influenced contemporary folk of Doa, featuring the beautiful soprano voice of Susana de Lourenzo; the hypnotic and dreamy Galician folk-rooted blend of acoustic traditional, psychedelic and electronica by Mónica De Nut and her trio; contemporary folk band Fía Na Roca featuring Sonia Lebedensky, the young vocalist included in the album; and female-fronted folk band Malvela, featuring a mix of traditional voices with modern elements.

 

 

We have earned a visibility that we hadn’t had for years and managed to reach a wide range of female audience of all ages,” says vocalist Uxia, the artistic producer the album, in the liner notes. “A lot of the people who come to our shows are women who understand what other women sing, who identify with the lyrics of our compositions, and discover their own voices while listening.

There are many of us women composers, not just performers. We are not only voices transmitting what others write … there are more female authors everyday: creating lyrics and melody that define and vindicate us; voices loud enough to deafen against silence, singing ballads woven with our emotions.

We are plural women, different among ourselves, with our own registers and intense and passionate mise-en-scènes, reinventing and updating ourselves in sonority, in the necessary complicity between Galician female singers. The voice of girlfriends.

We also feel the urge to demystify, break taboos and portray a renewed vision of women, outside of the eternal cliché, avoiding obsolete stereotypes.

That’s the way we sing…. a true driving force, Sun-Women who don’t step aside, not afraid to speak our minds, who don’t sing only about birds and flowers. We do “cantigas” in our language, and we take care of our language and the rich heritage of the songs of our grandmothers, tambourine in hand.

Morganas who scream loudly or softly whisper a lullaby, women who know that the 21st century revolution is ours, when we will show our colors and the strong and powerful singing of the women of this country, who also has a female name, will resonate everywhere.”

The album comes in a trilingual edition in Galician, Spanish and English, with a total of 17 songs.

Track List:

1 – Uxía – As Nosas Cores
2 – Guadi Galego – Madama
3 – Marful – Tris Tras
4 – Sés – Fala de Mel
5 – Mercedes Peon – Derorán
6 – Ialma – 6 AM
7 – Rosa Cedrón And Cristina Pato – Mirabella
8 – Sondeseu – Espadelada de Penosiños
9 – Leilía – Voz das Amigas
10 – Susana Seivane – Xoaniña
11 – Lobalú – Cantar 22
12 – Señora Carmen – Rosiña do mes de Maio
13 – Doa – Levousa Fremousa
14 – Maria Manuela – Ven que te levo
15 – Mónica de Nut – Por que hei de cantare
16 – Fía Na Roca – Noite Negra
17 – Malvela – Pola Rúa de San Pedro

Buy Cantigas de Mulleres

Share