Artist Profiles: Realejo


Created in 1990, Realejo appeared as a natural consequence of an all effort of investigation and recovery of specific traditional Portuguese musical instruments made by Fernando Meireles.

Among these, the hurdy-gurdy stands out once the group’s repertoire is actually directed towards this instrument. In fact Realejo have been playing all the music that is written for the hurdy-gurdy, from the Middle Age passing through the 18th century’s romantics, the French composers and the folk heritage.

Realejo are dedicated to the interpretation from the European traditions with special emphasis on music for the hurdy-gurdy, an instrument which, during the 19th century, disappeared from the Portuguese musical universe and which Fernando Meireles, with pioneering handiwork, recovered, building it from figures of 17th and 18th century Nativity scenes.

In 1995 Realejo recorded its first CD, Sanfonia, released by Movieplay. In 1997 a second CD was recorded, Cenários, released by the same company.

The hurdy-gurdy, which had completely disappeared in Portugal during the 19th century, was studied by Fernando Meireles for 4 or 5 years. This study was mainly based on nativity scenes from the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1990 he built his first hurdy-gurdy. Before this he had a similar research work for the beiroas and the toeiras guitars, instruments of rare beauty which only examples lay in the memory of times and in some Portuguese museums.

The music performed by Realejo suggests a journey of Interceltic characteristics with its Breton and Gaelic echos side by side with the repertoire taken from the traditional heritage of the north of Portugal. Therefore it is also revealing and determinant the fact that the group aims, in a diversity of expressions, at the cultural roots which identify in a careful and rigorous process, the authenticity of the traditional music.

Fernando Meireles – Hurdy Gurdy, Mandolin and Ukelele
Amadeu Magalhães – Bagpipe, Flutes, Braguesa Guitar, Melodion, Mandolin and Ukelele.
Fernando Araujo – Acoustic Bass
Jorge Queijo- Percussion
Miguel Veras – Guitars
Catarina – Voice


Sanfonia (Movieplay, 1995)
Cenários (Movieplay, 1997)

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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