Enthralling New Vision of Traditional Music By Folk Orchestra Sondeseu

Sondeseu Orquestra Folk - Danzas Brancas
Sondeseu Orquestra Folk – Danzas Brancas
Sondeseu Orquestra Folk

Danzas Brancas (Fol Musica, 2013)

Danzas Brancas (White Dances) is the fourth release by the great folk orchestra Sondeseu from Galicia in northwestern Spain. This impressive collective of musicians, conducted by veteran multi-instrumentalist and composer Rodrigo Romaní features various ensembles within the orchestra, harps, vocals, gaitas (bagpipes), zanfonas (hurdy gurdies), requintas (flutes), fiddles, percussion, bouzoukis plus an acoustic bass player.

The material on Danzas Brancas is a mix of new versions of traditional pieces and original compositions and arrangements by Anxo Pintos, Xaquín Xesteira, Xosé Liz and Rodrigo Romaní. The album’s title makes references to a special type of dance connected with religious celebrations that contains strong pagan influences.

‘Folerpas e Danzas Brancas’ opens the album with Rodrigo Romaní adding the sounds of the jaw harp to the orchestra. It’s based on a traditional sword dance uncovered by researcher Fastino Santalices.

‘Ínsua’ is a medley of two folk songs, ‘Ronda de Mangueiro’ and a well-known piping tune called ‘Xota de Riomao.’

Another medley titled ‘O Rillachavos’ brings together the folk dance ‘Muiñeira de Paula’ provided by pandereteira (tambourine) group Pedraquetiña and a new composition inspired by the poem “As tardes na pastora” by Ramón Cabanillas.

‘Sil lenzo’ is a special piece by Anxo Pintos composed specifically for Sondeseu. It is described as a sono-synesthetic poem based on the various courses of the Sil river.

Two rumbas are combined in ‘Rumbas de Marcial e Barciademera,’ a newly composed piece by Rodrigo Romaní and a popular classic from oral tradition. Celebrated musician Kepa Junkera participates as guest, performing on the diatonic accordion.

‘Xota de Cortellas’ presents a new arrangement of a traditional xota (a popular folk dance also known as jota) collected by the band Faltriquira who got it from O Diadeiro.

Another medley titled ‘Pasodobre das Anduriñas’ joins a carnival song from the town of o canizo, collected by Tanxedoras and a well-known pasodobre (also known as pasodoble, a traditional couple’s dance found throughout Spain).

The Celtic harp takes the lead in ‘Rosa Desvairada’ by Rodrigo Romaní, who is a notable harpist. It’s inspired by a text by Ramiro Fonte.

The album closes with ‘O Mandil,’ a traditional tune that appeared in the orchestra’s first album and has become one of the most popular pieces by Sondeseu. This time, Berroguetto’s Quico Comesaña provides his vision with a new arrangement.

Sondeseu lineup

Rodrigo Romaní – harp, vocals, jaw harp, artistic director

Harp section conducted by Rodrigo Romaní: Inés Lorenzo, Laura Barreiro, Olalla Vidal, Marta Barreiro, Lorena Reinaldo, Beatriz Martínez.

Vocal section conducted by Javier Feijoó “Chisco”: Maria José Balado, Anais Barbier, Xela Conde, Ana Domínguez, Eva González, Sara Malvido, Rosa Martínez, Maria Mercedes Pazos, Leticia R. Pais, Teresa Santamaría, Itziar Solar, Raquel Valcarce

Gaitas section conducted by Xaquín Xesteira: Sito Muiños, Xose L. Sanromán, Marina Vigo, Antonio Prieto, Ana Pereira

Requintas section conducted by Xosé Liz: Pilar Vieira, Teresa Varela, Xaime Rebollo.

Zanfonas section conducted by Anxo Pintos: Sandra Fernández, Paula García, Paz Martínez, Iván Costa, Liliana Carro, María Muras, Teresa Gómez.

Percussion section conducted by Xaquín Xesteira: Anxo Pardo, Marilú Campos, Eva González, Xavier Figueroa, Julia Feijoo

Fiddle section conducted by Alfonso Franco: Begoña Riobó, Paco Táboas, Nuria Zunzunegui, Jose Varela, Felipe Rodicio, Ismael Cabaleiro

Bouzoukis section coordinated by Xosé Liz: Marta M. Valladares, Xosé Liz, Samuel Soto

Danzas Brancas is an exceptionally good album by the enthralling Sondeseu, an extraordinary folk orchestra featuring a new vision of traditional music performed with customary musical instruments from Galicia.

Buy Danzas Brancas

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.


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