Verónica Codesal was born on September 16, 1977 in Uccle, Belgium. She is a vocalist and pandeireta (Galician tambourine) player. Verónica grew up in Belgium in a Spanish immigrant family from Galicia. Although she’s explored a wide range of musical styles, her passion is Galician roots music.
In addition to being a member of the band Urban Trad, Veronica is also founder of the group Ialma. She also took part in Muziek Lod’s project La Maison des Petltes Musiques Cachees (led by Dick van der Harst), in the Zefira Toma project, Celtic band Camaxe and the In Kadrirs project La Paloma Negra.
She’s currently a member of Ialma.
Palabras darei, with Ialma (Zoku, 2000) Marmuladas, with Ialma (Zoku, 2002) Nova Era, with Ialma (Kerua, 2006) Simbiose, with Ialma (FOL Musica, 2011) Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago, with Ialma (Home Records, 2016)
It’s difficult to know what the music of the ancient Celts sounded like. Historical and archaeological data indicates that the Celts used bronze horns, flutes and bells.
What we know as Celtic music today is in reality the traditional music developed relatively recently in several western European Atlantic regions that may have been inhabited by Celtic peoples about 2,000 years ago.
Current Celtic music is characterized by the use of various forms of bagpipes (likely introduced by the Romans), harps, fiddles, flutes and whistles, accordion and concertina, and frame drums. In the 1970s, Irish musicians pioneered the use of additional instruments such as the Greek bouzouki, the Spanish guitar, the American banjo and the Italian mandolin, and adapted them to Irish traditional music.
Recent Celtic music history
The great Celtic music upsurge took place in the 1970s thanks to various influential artists from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany (France), Galicia (Spain) and Wales.
Irish groups such as The Chieftains, The Bothy Band, Plantxy, Clannad and The Dubliners attracted worldwide attention with their innovative, beautifully-crafted arrangements of Irish folk music that were later adopted by colleagues in other Celtic countries and regions, as well as other folk music traditions.
Although many of the best known acts from the 1960s and 1970s disbanded, The Chieftains and Clannad carried on to develop highly successful long careers.
Breton musician Alan Stivell introduced the Celtic harp to large audiences. Two innovative bands, Diaouled ar Menez and Gwendal, also from Brittany, toured Europe extensively for two decades with its blend of Celtic music, jazz and rock.
In Galicia, singer and harp player Emilio Cao, the now legendary group Milladoiro, Doa, piper celebrity Carlos Núñez and the influential Traditional Music of the Municipal School of Arts and Trades of Vigo (currently known as the Municipal School of Traditional and Folk Music of Vigo) initiated the remarkable Galician Celtic music wave.
In the 1980s, a significant new act was formed, Luar na Lubre. This group has become one of the leading ensembles in the the Galician folk music scene.
A revival of traditional folk music and a renewed interest
in the use of its native Gaelic language took place in Wales in the 1970’s.
With the help of local media and record companies like Sain, artists who
represented the Welsh tradition and language finally got exposure.
One of the essential musicians in Wales is Robin Huw Bowen, a master of the triple harp. He researched the music and methods of the old Welsh harpers by studying their old manuscripts. He has performed widely throughout the world, as a soloist and also as a member of the Welsh folk groups Mabsant and Cusan Tân.
The best known Gaelic-language singer is Siân James. Aside from her solo career, James also performed with dub reggae and rock bands.
On the traditional folk scene, Calennig’s lively dance music attracts attention. The band, formed in 1978, was led by Pat Smith and Mick Tems. Their material includes Welsh, Galician and Breton tunes. The 2019 lineup featured founder Pat Smith on concertina, Ned Clamp on guitar, Jem Randles on bass guitar, and virtuoso fiddler Iolo Jones.
Other Welsh folk highlights include singer Julie Murphy, Heather Jones and Hin Deg. An exciting group in the contemporary folk style is Carreg Lafar, formed in 1993.
One of the finest Celtic roots acts was Jamie Smith’s Mabon, led by accordion maestro Jamie Smith. The group disbanded in 2019.
Thanks to the proliferation of Inter-Celtic festivals since the 1970s, musicians from Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Galicia, Asturias, the USA, Canada and other locations, have exchanged tunes, musical instruments and participated in mutual recordings.
Cwlwm Celtaidd in Wales celebrates the music from Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Wales.
Celtic Music Today
The major European centers of Celtic music today are Ireland, Scotland, Brittany (France), Galicia (Spain), Asturias (Spain) and Wales (UK). Other smaller regions with a strong Celtic music heritage are: Cornwall (UK), Northumbria (UK), Tras-os-Montes (Portugal) and the Isle of Man (UK).
Outside Europe, the music from the Irish, Scottish and Galician diaspora has found a comfortable home in eastern Canada, the United States of America, and to a lesser extent Argentina and Australia.
The Celtic music artists recovered the hurdy gurdy in Brittany and Galicia, the Celtic harp in Brittany and Scotland, and a newfound respect for the bagpipe, including the uilleann pipe, Highland pipe, border pipe, Scottish smallpipe, gaita gallega, gaita asturiana, gaita de fole and binioù.
The 1995 hit Sleepy Maggie by fiddler Ashley MacIsaac :
Piracy, consolidation, streaming and other factors have led to the demise and consolidation of many of the great Celtic music record labels of the past.
Brief History of the Celts
Ancient Greek historians, like Herodotus (400 BC) and Hecataeus of Miletus (500 BC), wrote about the Keltoi, a group of Iron Age “barbarian” tribes with a common language and culture that inhabited vast territories of Europe. The Keltoi’s dominion stretched from Ireland and the western Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) in the west to Bohemia (Czech Republic), Bavaria (Germany) and Austria in the east.
The Celts were a mixture of western Indo-European peoples who created vivid ornamental art and spoke a language described by the Romans as Celtic. Their social power structure included warlords and priests known as druids. They lived in hill towns made to defend populated areas from other warring Celtic tribes. With the arrival of the Roman Empire, Celtic civilization nearly disappeared. Most of western Europe, except Ireland, was Romanized.
The new edition of the prestigious and established Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival (Brittany, France), directed since nearly a decade ago by journalist, cultural activist and producer Lisardo Lombardia (Asturias, Spain), will present a very attractive program, with special dedication to the music from Galicia (Spain), this year’s guest country. The festival takes place August 2-11 in Brittany.
The extensive Galician representation will be led, of course, by Galician piper and flute player Carlos Núñez, a real popular legend not only for the Breton public, but throughout France, where his albums sell very well and where he’s a really popular person at all levels. The disciple of Paddy Moloney and the legendary Irish group, The Chieftains, has reached an enviable maturity, enthralling with his attractive visual and sound show to all possible audiences.
Milladoiro, on the other hand, is the most respected and prestigious band in the rich and varied panorama of the traditional sound of Galicia, a pantheon that also includes acts such as Luar Na Lubre, Cristina Pato, Susana Seivane, Múxicas, and a long etcetera. Milladoiro, with a resume of more than 20 albums and several soundtracks under their belt, is undoubtedly an example of quality, perseverance and loyalty to roots.
The new talent will be represented by Mercedes Peón, anthropologist, field researcher, composer, arranger and singer, with a stage show as current as groundbreaking, not far from the deliveries of Iceland’s Bjorg or Ireland’s Sinead O’Connor. A concert by Mercedes Peón never leaves anyone indifferent.
Aside from the “Galicia Special” of the FIL19 (Lorient Interceltic Festival), the programming of its ten variegated days also includes the performance of Balkan artist Goran Bregovic, who will be accompanied on such a sole occasion by none other than the Symphony Orchestra of Brittany.
In addition, veteran French folk rock band Soldat Louis, much loved among their countrymen, and Bagad Kemper Bagpipe and Percussion Band, representative of the hundreds of similar groups that swarm their country will be another point of interest. As well as the appearance of another veteran Hungarian group, Skolvan, of which we had no news for many years.
The Great Parade of the Celtic Countries, which gathers more than a hundred thousand people, between participants and spectators and is broadcast on television throughout the Hexagon [France], and the beloved daily sessions of dance and live music of the nightly “fest noz” are other inducements of this great event, that no good fan of the sounds and spirits of universal pan-Celtic music should miss in person at least once in a lifetime.
Uxía Domínguez Senlle, better known as Uxía, was born November 19, 1962 in Sanguiñeda, Spain. She took on singing at an early age and despite having access to all types of music, she has always felt most strongly drawn to the music characteristic of her region. Her first CD with traditional Galician songs was released in 1986, a collaboration with musicians who went on to become members of her band, Na Lua.
After two more albums with this line-up, Uxia shifted the focus of her activities to live performances. She toured throughout Spain and the rest of Europe, through Cuba and Argentina and was a celebrated guest at various festivals worldwide.
These experiences not only intensified Uxia’s insight into the culture she represents but also brought her into contact with many representatives of other related folk music traditions. “Estou Vivindo No Ceo” (I live in heaven) was her first international release.
Foliada de marzo (Edigal, 1986) A estrela de maio, with Na Lúa (Edigal, 1987) Ondas do mar de Vigo, with Na Lúa (GASA, 1989) Entre cidades (Sons Galiza, 1991) Estou vivindo no ceo (Nubenegra, 1995) La sal de la vida (Nubenegra, 1997) Danza das areas, (Virgin, 2000) Cantos na maré (Nordesía, 2005) Eterno navegar (World Village, 2008) Meu canto (Fol Música, 2011) Andando a terra (Fundación Manuel María, 2012) Rosalía pequeniña (Galaxia/Sonárbore, 2013) Baladas da Galiza imaxinaria (Edicións Damadriña, 2015) Canta o cuco (Editorial Galaxia, 2015) Uxía canta a Manuel María (Fundación Manuel María, 2015) UXIA-O (Fundación Uxío Novoneyra, 2017)
Na Lúa was formed in the early 1980s in Porriño, Pontevedra, with the intention of dignifying traditional Galician music.
Since its inception, the group went ahead of the times when conceiving traditional music and folk music as elements of a contemporary music with a universal vocation.
Na Lúa assimilated influences from medieval music, Eastern Europe, Latin American rhythms, as well as sounds from Portugal, Ireland, Africa and Asia.
Throughout these years, Na Lua performed at the most significant musical events in Europe and received important awards.
Band members included: Cándido Lorenzo – gaita, clarinet, flutes; Xabier Camba – drums, percussion; Ricardo Pereiro – bajo, vocals; Antón Rodríguez – gaita, sax, flutes; and Xabier Debesa – accordion, vocals, percussion, programming.
Na Lúa (Edigal, 1985) A Estrela De Maio (Edigal, 1987) Ondas Do Mar De Vigo (Grabaciones Accidentales, 1988) Contradanzas (Sons Galiza, 1991) Peliqueiro (Sons Galiza, 1994) Os Tempos Son Chegados (Do Fol, 1997) Feitizo (Do Fol, 1999)
Rodrigo Romero, better known as Rodrigo Romaní, was born in Noia, Spain in 1957. He was involved in the Galician folk song movement in the second half of the 1970s. He formed a duo with fellow musician Antón Seoane.
Together with Seoane and with the traditional music group, Faíscas del Xiabre, Rodrigo founded the seminal folk group Milladoiro in 1979.
With Milladoiro he won several international awards, toured the world folk scene and recorded several albums. In 2001 he left the group to devote himself to other artistic and educational activities.
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)
Luar Na Lubre was founded by multi-instrumentalist Bieito Romero (bagpipes, tin Whistle, punteiro, diatonic accordion; guitarist Daniel Cerqueiro; percussionist Xulio Varela; bassist and mandolinist Roberto Douro; and piper and percussionist Xan Cerqueiro.
Although the ensemble has had various lineup changes, it is one of the longest-lasting Galician folk groups in the past decades. Most of the group’s music are new arrangements of traditional Galician music found in old books and collected by doing field research.
Luar Na Lubre adds its personal touch to Galician music by combining traditional instruments with instruments from other traditions and by composing original songs. The band uses fiddle, guitar, flutes, bouzouki, tambourines, bodhrán, pandeiro (Galician frame drum) harp, Galician pipes, accordion, and zanfona (hurdy gurdy).
Luar Na Lubre accomplished several milestones in the past few years. With their albums, Plenilunio and Cabo Do Mundo they sold more than 80,000 copies of each. The band also collaborated with English artist Mike Olfield, performing on one of his tours.
Mike Oldfield recorded on his album Voyager the Luar Na Lubre song “0 Son Do Ar”, which he called “The Sound of the Sun”. This particular song is what has brought the group considerable international recognition.
In 2005 singer Rosa Cedron left the group. She was replaced by Portuguese singer Sara Louraço Vidal, who stayed with the band from 2005 to 2011. Sara was substituted by Paula Rey, who was lead vocalist during 2011-2016. The current singer is Irma Macías.
Leilía is a group of Galician women who are forerunners and makers of the mini-revolution of tambourine music that spread all over Galicia. They got together in the summer of 1989 to recover songs and musical forms that were in danger of extinction. Leilía reproduced and learned it all from the elders they visited throughout Galicia and surrounding regions, recovering traditions they thought lost.
In 1993 they were part of a Pan-Celtic touring project that celebrated the famous Ruta de Santiago, the Saint James Pilgrimage Route. Under the title Hent San Jakez, Leilía toured and recorded together with Bleizi Ruz (Brittany), Cran (Ireland) and La Musgaña (Castile, Spain).
Leilía’s live performances are a colorful and original event. At the beginning of the concerts, the women are dressed in traditional Galician dresses and they perform the pure style of traditional singing: voices accompanies by pandeiretas. Later, a background of acoustic instruments is added, which means a transition between the purest tradition and the horizons of traditional vocal music in the near future.
The group has been a guest on numerous recordings, including albums by the Battlefield Band, Kepa Junkera, Emilio Cao, and Milladoiro.
Vocalists: Mercedes Rodríguez Vázquez – vocals and pandereta (tambourine); Ana María Rodríguez Gómez – vocals and pandereta; Felisa Segade Otero – vocals and pandereta; Patricia Segade Otero – vocals and pandereta; Monserrat Rivera Crespo – vocals and pandereta.
Musicians: Suso de Mens – gaita and accordion; Xoan Porto – guitar; Matilde Balseiro – clarinet and sax; Juan Carlos Duran – bass; Alfredo Teijeiro – drums.
Fía na Roca was formed in 1990 by several former Xorima musicians with the intention to perform music with deep Galician traditional roots, but also with room for creativity and even for the exploration of new musical forms.
The debut album “Fía na roca” (1993) was produced by Luís Delgado and featured a cover design by cartoonist Miguelanxo Prado. The album attracted the attention of the British channel BBC, which chose its music as the soundtrack for the Xacobeo 93.
In 1997, Fía na roca released “Agardando que pasar algo” (Waiting for something to happen) in which they collaborated with the painter Xoan Guerreiro, who simultaneously mounted an itinerant exhibition with the same title as the album. Shortly after its publication, music from the album was chosen to be part of a select compilation that, under the title of Celtic Twilight – Celtic Planet, was published in the United States and in the European Union.
In 2001 the band released its third and last studio album, “Contravento” (Contraviento), with the collaboration of photographer Xosé Garrido. The primary change was the participation of the young Galician singer Sonia Lebedynski, incorporated as seventh member of the band. Again, the Camino de Santiago was related to the music of Fía na roca, since a Japanese Aichi TV used Contravento as the soundtrack of the series based on the work of the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho “O diario de um mago” , titled in Spain “The Pilgrim to Compostela” and where he recounts the pilgrimage that its author made in 1986 along the Camino de Santiago. Fía na roca also took part in one of the episodes of the series, performing the song “Baile de Pandeiras.”
In addition to playing traditional Galician instruments like the gaita (bagpipe), tambourines and frame drums, Fía na Roca played instruments rarely used in Galician folk music like the tin whistle, bouzouki, fiddle, saxophones, Indian percussion and piano.
Musicians: Xosé Ramón Vázquez (accordion, piano, keyboards), Xabier Bueno (low whistle, soprano sax, synthesizers), Quim Fariña (violin), Quico Comesaña (Celtic harp and acoustic guitar), Segundo Grandío (fretless bass), Carlos Castro (darbuka, seashells), Luis Delgado (autoharp), Ana, Carme and Leo Bueno (tambourines).
Emilio Cao is one of the central figures of the Galician Folk music scene. He recovered the use of the harp in Spanish folk music and has had a long and successful career as a harpist, composer and singer. Poetry is very important in Emilio Cao’s work. This is clear in his recordings. He collaborates with current Galician poets such as Suso De Toro, Uxio Novoneira and Anxo Ballesteros.
Cao also adapts pieces from classic Galician authors such as Rosalía Castro and Manuel Antonio. Cao’s 1977 album A Lenda da pedra do destiño (The Legend of the Stone of Destiny) is considered a classic of Galician Celtic music. Most of the music is based on Galician sounds and rhythms, although there is also a medieval Welsh piece, where Cao is accompanied by Cromlech.
Fonte Do Araño (Novola, 1977) Lenda Do Pedra Do Destiño (Guimbarda, 1979) No Manto Da Auga (Guimbarda, 1981) Amiga Alba E Delgada (Edigal, 1986) Cartas Mariñas (Lyricon, 1992) Sinbad En Galicia (Do Fol Edicións, 1996)
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