Artist Profiles: Atlántica

Atlántica

Atlántica was formed in 1988, months after Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass met in France, at the Saint Chartier International Traditional Music Festival. After that, they worked in the field of traditional music, first as a duo and later as a quartet with percussionist Miguel Cobo and accordionist and keyboard player Ramón Bueno.

The band’s versatility was one of their principal assets. The sheer variety and quantity of the instruments Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass played in their concerts was remarkable, because both musicians share a multi-instrumental approach and a knowledge of the music of Celtic roots from many countries.

Their first album, called simply Atlántica, appeared in 1996. While working together as a duo, Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass also found time to be members of Luétiga, a group devoted to research, arrangement and interpretation of Cantabrian folk music (Cantabria is a region in the north of Spain located between Asturias and the Spanish Basque Country).

With Luétiga, Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass recorded three albums: La Ultima Cajiga (1992), Nel el Vieju (1994) and Cernula (1996). They also took part in the Misa Popular Cántabra, a folk mass composed by Nobel Samano, which was performed by Luétiga with two choirs and a group of dancers.

In 1998 Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass decided to leave Luétiga to follow their own musical direction and put all their energies into their own projects, mainly recording the second Atlántica album, Transitus and arranging a live repertoire as a quartet, combining Celtic pieces from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and North America with music from Cantabria, Galicia and Asturias

Atlántica also performed concerts with conferences about Cantabrian folk music for senior citizens and high school students, they animated ceilidhs with the aid of two callers, and participated, together with the Markab Theatre Company, in La Leyenda de los Besos, a musical play based on a short story by Manuel Llano.

The band had a show for kids called Atlántica con el Medio Ambiente, where they combined music with dances, games and stories about the environment. During the 1990s Atlántica was present in most folk festivals in Cantabria and the band played in many other places throughout Spain, as well as in Portugal and Wales.

Atlántica’s performances in more than sixty schools in Cantabria gave it extensive experience with kids.

Transitus includes dance tunes and songs from Cantabria and other Celtic regions, together with their own compositions in traditional style. By Transitus they meant to define a meeting point between the musical traditions of different places sharing common roots. It is a musical journey where they try to give their own vision of Celtic music, a global vision born out of their own experiences and contacts with this world. Transitus means a transit both through space, since they took the listener to the music of different countries, and through time, reflecting several periods, with a nod to the Iron Age men and a wish for the survival of traditional roots and the union of the nations.

The group disbanded in January of 2006. Ramón, Miguel and Jorge stayed together and formed another band named Garma.

Kate rested from music for 2 years for various reasons including the stress of working in a men’s world and being a single mother with 2 adolescents, and a sick mother. Marcos went on a spiritual adventure for a year and a half from which he returned in 2007 and later released an album of his own compositions, titled Marcos Barcena.

In May 2007 Kate took up her musical career again, this time as a solo artist working on a project called “Solistas Internacionales” with Paco Diez (Spain), Wafir (Sudan), Magali(Peru), Yoshie (Japan) and Laurent (France).

Discography:

Atlántica (Several Records, 1996)
Transitus (Resistencia, 1998)
La luz del iviernu Lugas (El Tripulante, 2000)
Lugas (El Tripulante, 2001)
En directo (RTVE Música, 2002)
Desde esta orilla (RTVE Música, 2004)

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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