Combining Celtic melodies, medieval music jazz and contemporary music, Milladoiro modernized traditional Galician folk music and started a revival movement among young musicians. They are still its most renowned practitioners drawing huge crowds throughout Europe.
Milladoiro is the Galician name for the heaps of stones built by shepherds. The group was formed in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), the final stop on the historic Saint James pilgrimage route (Camino de Santiago) and today also a thriving college town. The seven group members met at the university bringing with them a variety of musical backgrounds.
Fernando “Nando” Casal, Ramón García Rei “Moncho” and Xosé Ferreiros played together in Faíscas do Xiabre, a traditional music band born on the banks of river Ulla in Catoira. They recorded a beautiful record titled In Memoriam. They played traditional Galician music as wandering minstrels in native costume at fiestas and traditional festivals gathering experience by listening to old ‘gaiteiros’ (bagpipers) and learning from other traditional bands like Os Campaneiros, Os Irmáns Garceiras, Os Areeiras, and Os Rosales.
Rodrigo Romani and Antón Seoane were students of medieval music traveling through Galicia seeking the craftsmen who still built the offspring of instruments from the middle age like the zanfona (hurdy-gurdy), the citola and the freixolé. Those were times of scarcity and enthusiasm was a testimony of a hard reality. As a fruit of their work the record Milladoiro was released in 1978.
Xosé Méndez came from a jazz background and used to spend his time at musical libraries in cathedrals and old archive buildings. He was starting the core of what later would be the Grupo de Cámara da Universidade de Compostela. Milladoiro became six with the incorporation of Xosé A. Méndez. They just had to find a violinist, a nearly impossible task in Galicia in those times but emigration was generous and gave back to the country somebody who had left one day: Laura Quintillán, violinist in Milladoiro in 1979-1980. Later, Michel Canada who played in a pop band joined the band after Laura’s departure and played with Milladoiro until 1991. Antonio Seijo has been Milladoiro’s fiddler since then.
In the year 2000, Rodrigo Romaní left the group. At that time two musicians, harpist Roi Casal and guitar player Manu Conde joined the band.
The 2006 CD Unha estrela por guia is a tribute to poet Manuel Maria. It is Milladoiro’s first fully vocal CD. The songs are based on poems from Maria’s works: “Terra Che”, “Cancions do Lusco ao Fusco”, “As rias do vento ceibe”, “Soneto casa de Hortas”, “Cantigas” and “A Rosalia”. In addition to Milladoiro’s vocals there are several guests: Laura Amado, Leilia, actors Luis Tosar and Mabel Rivera.
The compilation XXV was released in 2005 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the band.
The lineup in 2013 included Xosé V. Ferreirós on gaita (bagpipe), oboe, tin whistle, mandolin, uillean pipes, bouzouki, pandereta; Nando Casal on gaita, clarinet, tin whistle, pandereta; Moncho García on percussion; Xosé A. F. Méndez on flutes; Antón Seoane on accordion, zanfona, acoustic guitar, keyboards; Harry. C on fiddle; and Manú Conde on acoustic guitar and bouzouki.
Milladoiro (Ruada 1978)
A Galicia de Maeloc (Ruada 1979)
O Berro Seco (Ruada 1980)
Milladoiro 3 (CBS 1982)
Solfafria (CBS 1984)
Galicia no Pais das Maravillas (CBS 1986)
Divinas Palabras ( ION 1987)
Castellum Honesti (Ariola/Green Linnet 1989)
Galicia no Tempo (Discmedi/Green Linnet 1991)
A Via Lactea (Cormoran 1993)
A Xeometria da alma (Cormoran 1993)
Iacobus Magnus (Discmedi 1994)
Gallaecia Fulget (Cormoran 1995)
As Fadas de Estraño Nome (Discmedi 1995)
No Confin dos Verdes Castros (1999)
Auga De Maio (Discmedi 1999)
Cabana de Bergantiños (1999)
O Niño do Sol (2002)
Adobrica Suite (2002)
Unha estrela por guia (2006)
A quinta das lagrimas (2008)
Milladoiro en Ortigueira (2016)
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.