Renovated Dances of Castile and Cantabria

Vallarna - km 90

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.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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