The New Spanish Trad

Eliseo Parra – Contradición
Eliseo Parra

Contradición (Karonte 725, 2012)

An Eliseo Parra album is always a fabulous opportunity to discover hidden gems from the Spanish traditional music repertory. Para is a skilled researcher, vocalist and percussionist. Contradición presents folk music traditions from various parts of Spain recreated with Parra’s vision which is respectful and innovative at the same time.

The album opens with ‘Marianita’ a song from the town of Rio de Alistre in Zamora. Zamora is a Castilian province in western Spain. Eliseo Parra and his band add trumpet and saxophone to the mix, as well as percussion, always lots of percussion, including the rare traditional square frame drums and tambourines and global percussion.

Things get way better in ‘La Juliana’, a song from Trasmonte in Asturias, a region in northern Spain. The arrangements are truly captivating with the use of an unconventional instrument in Spanish folk music, the Chinese hulusi, as well as a transition into blues mode.

‘La Zorra’ is best described as an ancient song performed in seguidilla meter. In this case, baritone saxophone is used.

‘El Payo’ comes from Salamanca, another Castilian province in western Spain. Parra takes the music into a direction with a Middle Eastern flavor and psychedelic electric guitar.

Wedding music is represented with ‘De Bodas’ a tune from southern Segovia in Castile. The song begins with an instrumental section performed by the gralla, which is the eastern Spanish variation of the dulzaina, a double reed instrument.

Eliseo Parra
The next piece also comes from Castile. ‘Una Palomita Blanca’ is from the town of Villanueva de Gómez in Avila province. This track is characterized by the sound of the most recognizable Spanish musical instrument, the guitar, performed by Josete Ordoñez and Parra. An Indian bansuri flute is added to the mix.

The lively ‘Seguidilla de la Membrilla’ takes you to southern Castile-La Mancha, to the town of Membrilla in the province of Ciudad Real. Spanish guitars join Indian bansuri and harmonium to a jazzy Brazilian beat that features solos, ranging from electric bass to mandola, flute and scat vocals.

‘Folias’ is an introduction to one of the most popular folk music genres in the Canary Islands. These folias are from the island of Fuerteventura, in the eastern part of the archipelago. The treatment here includes piano, octavin ( a small guitar) and saxophone.

With ‘La Flor y la Coliflor’ the focus returns to Avila province, with a mesmerizing song from Candeleda. This is an all vocals and percussion track, with choruses by Las Piojas, a group of folk music renovators.
‘Rumba al Cairo’ combines a chorus with Andean quenas and octavin.

The Jota is one of the most popular dances in Spain. It is widely extended and found in many regions. ‘Mix Jotax’ is a brass-fueled medley of jotas from towns in Segovia, Madrid, Cuenca and Toledo, accompanied by palmas, the renowned flamenco handclap percussion style.

The ‘Rumba al Cairo’ (reprise) is a longer version of this piece with a flamenco rumba-style presentation of passionate solos by the musicians who participate in the album.

The album ends with ‘Tonada de Sa Son’ a short a cappela song from Sant Llorenc des Cardassar, a town in the island of Mallorca, in the western Mediterranean.

The band on Contradición includes Eliseo Parra on vocals, guitar and percussion; Eduardo Laguillo on keyboards; Xavi Lozano on wind instruments; Josete Ordoñez on guitar and octavin; Guillem Aguilar on bass; Pablo Martín on percussion; and Aleix Tobías on percussion.

Guest musicians include Martí Serra, Ana Rossi, Paco Botía, Pachi Urchegui, and Las Piojas.

Contradición is set to become another outstanding contemporary Spanish folk music classic by musician, composer and renovator Eliseo Parra.

Buy the CD or MP3s: Contradición in North America

Buy Contradición in Europe

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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