Discover (Sony Masterworks, 2012)
At last, some of the recordings by master instrumentalist and composer Carlos Núñez will be widely available to North American audiences. Carlos Núñez is an outstanding performer of the recorder and the undisputed bagpipe player in Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain, that is known for its beautiful Celtic music, exquisite seafood and its brave seafaring people. “Galicia,” Nuñez explains, “is the magical part of Spain.”
Although Carlos Núñez’s music is deeply rooted in Galician music, throughout the years he has collaborated with musicians from other parts of Spain and abroad, including well known international stars in various genres, ranging from rock and jazz to classical and world music. Discover is a fabulous 2-CD collection that features some his finest solo and collaborative works.
The list of musical guests that appear in Discover is truly impressive: Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Jackson Browne, Ry Cooder, Waterboys frontman Mike Scott, Sinéad O’Connor, Laurie Anderson, flamenco singer Carmen Linares, Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon, Scottish accordionist Phil Cunningham, flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo, Brazilian star Carlinhos Brown, Early Music master Jordi Savall, Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, and Buena Vista Social Club members Omara Portuondo, Compay Segundo and Cachaito.
Also featured in Discover are The Chieftains. The celebrated Irish musicians have special relationship with Carlos Núñez. They helped launch Núñez’s international career and he’s played on many of the acclaimed Irish group’s albums, including Treasure Island, The Long Black Veil, the Grammy-winning Santiago (inspired by Galician music), Mexican project San Patricio, and their latest release, Voice of Ages.
The selection on Discover contains some of Carlos Núñez’s most memorable moments from his discography as well as a handful of previously unreleased pieces.
Carlos Núñez was born in 1971 in the post city of Vigo. He started playing the gaita (bagpipe) at the age of eight. “What the flamenco guitar is to the south, the gaita is to the north,” he explains. “The pipes have been here for over a thousand years. They are the oldest in the world. Everyone knows Scottish bagpipes and Irish uilleann pipes, but they are the descendants of the Galician pipes.”
Núñez studied recorder and Baroque music at Madrid’s famed Royal Conservatory. At the age of 12, he performed at Brittany’s emblematic Festival InterCeltique.
Núñez’s albums have explored the musics of Galicia and other parts of Spain, including flamenco. He is also deeply influenced by Medieval and Baroque music and has visited many of the places where Galicians settled, including Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and even the United States. “We are like chameleons,” says Núñez. “We always mix with the cultures of the places where we go and then we make a new melting pot, a new mix.”
Collaborations with musicians from other traditions has been a one the goals of Núñez since the very beginning. His first solo album, Brotherhood of Stars came out in 1996 and featured 50 guests. The 1999 album, Os Amores Libres included 80 performers. The rest of his discography includes Mayo Longo (2000), Todos Os Mundos (2002), Finisterre: The End of the Earth (2003), Carlos Núñez in Concert (2004), Cinema Do Mar (2006) and Alborada Do Brasil (2009).
Coinciding with the release of Discover. Carlos Núñez will be carrying out his first major tour of the United States and Canada. “America changed my way of seeing music,” says Núñez. “I met so many amazing musicians, people like Ry Cooder, Jackson Browne, Ricky Skaggs and Emmylou Harris. They were so open, so generous. I know American audiences will hear their influence on my music.”
Discover is an impressive melting pot collection of vocal and instrumental pieces by Carlos Núñez (and his friends), one of the legends of Galician music.
North American Tour 2012
Sept 29 Washington, DC El Tiempo Latino / Washington Post VIP reception
Oct 1 New York, NY Instituto Cervantes – talk & reception
Oct 3 Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theatre
Oct 4 Vienna, VA Barns at Wolftrap
Oct 6 New York, NY Drom
Oct 8 Boston, MA The Burren (co-prod with WGBH-FM)
Oct 9 Chicago, IL Instituto Cervantes –talk & reception
Oct 12 Toronto, CN Church of the Redeemer*
Oct 13 Oakville, CN St John’s United Church*
Oct 14 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Music **
Oct 18 Los Angeles, CA Univ of So. California – talk & reception
Oct 19 Phoenix, AZ Musical Instrument Museum
Oct 20 Santa Monica, CA Edye Theater at the Broad Stage
Oct 22 Santa Barbara, CA UC Santa Barbara – talk & reception
Oct 23 Berkeley, CA Freight and Salvage
Oct 24 Seattle, WA Aula Cervantes Seattle –talk & reception
Oct 25 Seattle, WA Benaroya Recital Hall
Oct 26 Mt Vernon, WA McIntyre Hall
Nov 1, 2, 3 Brooklyn, NY BAM: Grupo Corpo dance premiere “Sem Mim”
Carlos Nuñez (pipes, gaita), Katie McNally (fiddle) , Pancho Alvarez (bouzouki), Xurxo Nuñez (percussion)
except * Sahra Featherstone (fiddle, harp), Eleanor McCain (vocals) ** Rose Duffy (fiddle)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. 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.