Tag Archives: Asturian music

Artist Profiles: Llan de Cubel

Llan de Cubel

Llan de Cubel was a band from Asturias, Spain. Well known in Spain and in the Celtic festival circuit, Llan de Cubel rejuvenated Asturian folk music. The band played innovative versions of traditional tunes collected in the archives of Asturian ethnomusicology research groups. This was complemented by songs found during fieldwork carried out by the members of the group themselves. In addition, Llan de Cubel also played the most popular tunes known by all Asturians.

The group’s sound was mainly acoustic. The basis of the melody and percussion was taken on by Asturian instruments (bagpipes, fiddle, wooden flute, accordion, Asturian frame drums). The group’s repertoire included muñeires and polkas. Other sources included religious songs, mountain songs and Christmas carols.

Llan de Cubel originated in the summer of 1984 as the result of the meeting of two groups of musicians: one from Oviedo that was formed by Elias García and Fonsu Mielgo, a traditional duo of bagpipes and Asturian drums, joined by guitar player Susi Bello and percussionist Daniel Lombasand the other from Cudillero, made up of fiddle player Guzmán Marqués and flute player Marcos Llope.

Llan de Cubel

As the result of their meeting in a festival, they decided to work together to create an Asturian folk group, which they named after a mountain in the Cudillero area: Llan de Cubel.

The lineup changed throughout the years. New members included Flavio Rodríguez, guitarist Xel Pereda, fiddler Simon Bradley, J.M. Cano and pipers H. Urquhart and X.N. Expósito.


Deva (Fonoastur, 1987)
Na Llende (Fonoastur, 1990)
L’Otru Llau De La Mar (FonoAstur, 1992)
IV (FonoAstur, 1995)
Un Tiempu Meyor (FonoAstur, 1999)


Artist Profiles: Felpeyu


Felpeyu was formed in 1991 by a group of students with similar musical tendencies. The band performed several concerts in halls and folk pubs, changing soon to big stages and festivals in different parts of Spain: Asturias, Castilla-Leon and Galicia.

Felpeyu remakes Asturian traditional music by following similar trends in European folk music, specially Irish and Scottish Celtic music. “Our band makes use of a methodology related to the orchestration, performing techniques and arrangements which allow us to reach our aim. Thus, we elaborate our sound by combining both the orchestration coming from the Asturian tradition and the more general and current one from Atlantic European areas, without losing the acoustic sound.”

There are various sources which provide us with the material we usually work with: folk song books, choral scores and manuscripts harmonized from traditional songs, sound files from ethnographic researching groups -in which some of our members take part-, folk music which is present in the everyday life, and, finally, our own compositions based on traditional structures and rhythms.”

In 1993 the band won the third prize in the Vilagarcia de Arosa Folk Competition, recording two tracks on a CD shared with the other two winners.

The first CD, Felpeyu, came out in 1994. The second album, Tierra, was released in 1997 and became Asturian Recording of the Year.

During the following years, the band toured throughout Spain and other European countries. In 2000, Felpeyu toured Australia, with 30 performances at major Australian festivals. During the international tour Felpeyu recorded Live Overseas. A second Australian tour took place in 2001.

In 2003 Felpeyu created its own label, Tierra Discos. The first release on the Tierra was Ya!, distributed in Spain and Australasia. That same year, Felpeyu played at the prestigious WOMADadelaide festival.

Felpeyu suffered a terrible blow in 2006. Band members Carlos Redondo and Igor Medio, June 24th in Zuya (northern Spain) in a vehicle accident. The group was traveling from a gig in Corvera (Asturias) to another venue in Barcelona. Felpeyu’s van exited the road and overturned. Two members died and four were severely injured. The untimely death of the two well-known musicians from the Asturias region of Spain shocked the Spanish folk music community, specially the Celtic music scene.

Carlos Redondo had joined Felpeyu in 1994. He played guitar, bass and lead vocals. He was the member of the band with more professional musical experience. He had worked intensively as a rock musician, teacher, producer and sound engineer. He was mainly known in Asturias as singer and bass player of the legendary Asturian pop-rock band Los Locos. He got into folk music in the early 90’s by producing some Asturian bands; Felpeyu was one of them, and he joined the band right after producing its first recording, Felpeyu, in 1994. Carlos was born in Gijon ( Spain).

Igor Medio had a heterogeneous background. He grew up into an atmosphere of choral and Asturian singing -which both his parents and family developed- and was also into classical music studies and blues/rock experiences before being introduced to folk music. As a folk musician, he developed a personal and eclectic way of arranging and performing Asturian traditional music. He played guitar and mandolin in the band, choosing the bouzouki as his main instrument afterwards. He played bouzouki, guitar -only on studio-, bass pedals, and sang lead and harmony vocals. Igor was born in Gijon (Spain).

In May of 2007, a reborn Felpeyu performed for the first time since the accident.


Felpeyu ‎(FonoAstur, 1994)
Tierra ‎(FonoAstur, 1997)
Live Overseas ‎(Urchin Records, 2000)
Yá! ‎(Tierra Discos, 2003)
Canteros ‎(Tierra Discos, 2008)
Cerquina (Tierra Discos, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Hevia

Hevia – photo by Tim Kavanagh

Jose Angel Hevia Velasco was born in Villaviciosa, Asturias in 1967.

He first came into contact with the bagpipes when he was four years old during a procession in Amandi when he was with his grandfather. It was there that the image of a man and his bagpipes had an impact on the very young Jose Angel. The unity between the pipe player, his music and the instrument seemed magical to him.

Hevia then began bagpipe classes. Three times a week, after school, he took the bus to Gijon. Armando Fernández taught him in the traditional style and then accompanied him back to the bus. He arrived home at 12 o’clock at night and the following day practiced what he had learned in class so he hardly had time for other leisure activities.

In the same year in which he began classes, he underwent a ?baptism of fire? in sporadic performances with folk groups.

His sister, Maria Jose, noticing that a drummer accompanied all bagpipe players, wanted to participate. One of the best drummers that Villaviciosa had, Sabino Cifuentes, agreed to tutor her in all the traditional rhythms, in his own house, with great patience. At the end of class Hevia took his bagpipes and played songs so his sister could try to accompany him. All this often ended up in a huge rumpus when a pacifying “mother’s spanking” usually resolved the problem.

Shortly after, they began performing together throughout Asturias and travelling to different Asturian centres overseas.

In 1985 Jose Angel began to give classes and shortly after formed a bagpipe band with his pupils. Thus, without abandoning the traditional pair, the bagpipes and the drum, a new period in his life had begun. During this time, the bagpipes had suddenly become popular amongst young Asturians and music schools sprung up in a multitude of places. Jos? Angel himself founded new schools in Villaviciosa, Candas, Ribadesella and Mieres, out of which came new bagpipe bands. During this time he also performed in various folk groups and collaborated in a variety of recordings. Meanwhile he was studying Spanish Philology at university but his real vocation continued to be music and the bagpipes.

In that same year he developed the midi-bagpipes. This initiative started by trying to solve the problem that all pipe players have when they are practising at home; that of disturbing the neighbours. To this end, he and Alberto Arias, one of his pupils who was a computer programmer, created a kind of plastic scale with the pulse buttons of a slot machine. This eventually became the midi-bagpipes, which in the end has become emblematic and indispensable in his work. Within this research team also worked the electronic technician Miguel Dopico.

In 1997 Jose Angel began his career as a soloist. He recorded his first album Tierra de Nadie, which was his first great success both on a national and international level. His album, backed by a world tour, was released in more than 40 countries and in many of which reached the first places in the hit parades. More than 2,000,000 albums were sold winning a multitude of gold and silver discs in countries as diverse as Italy, Hungary, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark and Portugal.

In 2000 he released his second album Al Otro Lado with which he renewed his success visiting with his new tour some of the previous countries and discovering new ones.

The following year he accomplished his dream and inaugurated a musical instrument factory in Guadarrama (Madrid), www.arhpa.com.

On November 12, 2018, José Ángel Hevia Velasco was elected president of the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE).


Hevia (Nuba Records, 1991)
Tierra De Nadie (Hispavox, 1998)
Al Otro Lado (Hispavox, 2000)
Étnico Ma Non Troppo (Hispavox, 2003)
Obsessión (EMI, 2007)
Al Son Del Indianu (J. A. Hevia, 2018)


The Spirited Asturian Folk Songs of Felpeyu

Felpeyu – Cerquina (Tierra Discos, 2017)

Cerquina is the latest by Felpeyu, the leading contemporary folk music band from the Asturias region in northern Spain. Felpeyu’s musicians collect traditional folk songs from various sources such as books, manuscripts, ethnographic research and their own field work. These songs are recreated using new arrangements that borrow from contemporary Irish folk music. Felpeyu also writes its own material. Cerquina features traditional songs from Asturias and neighboring Galicia as original material.

The album is split between songs featuring vocals and instrumentals that are based in traditional Asturian dance rhythms: pasucáis (pasacalles), muñeres, saltones, xotes, dances and alboraes
In terms of musical instruments, Felpeyo combines traditional Spanish musical instruments like the bagpipes and guitar with Irish bodhran and Greek bouzouki.

The CD booklet include credits and lyrics in credits and lyrics in Asturian and English. Ruma Barbero, Felpeyu’s percussionist, was also in charge of graphic design.

The lineup on Cerquina includes Ruma Barbero on bodhrán; Luis Senén Fernández on bass, lead and backing vocals and shaker; Elías García on bouzouki, mandolin and fiddle; Diego Pangua on gaitas (bagpipes) and flute; Lisardo Prieto on fiddle; and Moisés Suárez on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki and backing vocals. Guests: Xuan Nel Expósito on accordion and Richard Garcia on keyboards.

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