Tag Archives: Galician music

Interview with Innovative Galician Piper Susana Seivane

Susana Seivane is an acclaimed Spanish bagpiper, part of a well-known family of Galician bagpipe makers. She’s a groundbreaking artist, who represents a generation of artists that defied norms and renovated Galician folk music. Her musical style is deeply influenced by the Galician “inland” bagpipe style.

Susana has a new album titled Fa and she discussed her musical career and the album with World Music Central in October 2018.

Susana Seivane, earlier in her career

How and when did you start working professionally in the music field?

I started playing the bagpipe at three, but in 2019 I’ll celebrate my 20 years as a professional.

What do you think are the fundamental elements of your music?

It is a fusion of our most representative instrument, the bagpipes, with other instruments that do not have to be traditional, such as drums or electric bass, adding modernity along with winks to other styles of music that I like, for example rock or funk.

How has your style evolved over the years?

My bagpipe playing style has been gaining technique but the essence is the same, that essence that we call “enxebre”, the one that remembers the old bagpipers that I liked from which I took bits and pieces in terms of playing [technique]. What has been changing is the instrumental accompaniment and the arrangements, adding new colors with instruments that provide much more energy, modernity and freshness to my music.

What does the title of your new album Fa mean?

It’s not because of the musical note or the deodorant brand as someone jokingly asked me 😉 These are the initials of my children: Fiz and Antón.

Susana Seivane – Fa

Tell us a little about Fa.

Fa is a bag of feelings, good, bad, regular, is a bag of emotionalized music since I found out that I was pregnant with Fiz, until Anton’s first years. It’s a record dedicated to motherhood, to everything that means, and a disc dedicated to these two little creatures of mine that make me crazy with love and crazy with nerves too 🙂

Your last record before Fa came out 8 years ago. Why did you take so long to record again?

It has been a recording silence. During this time I have collaborated on other albums like Kepa Junkera’s. Fortunately, I never stopped working. We have toured every year except for the one when Anton was born in August. That summer we could not do it, that winter I had my pretty big belly! I have had two pregnancies, two deliveries, the corresponding times of maternity leave I never completed because I immediately started to perform concerts as soon as I had recovered because we already had signed contracts. So, in terms of taking a break, I never stopped, I never did, I had a lot of work 🙂

Your family, the Seivanes, is well known as bagpipe craftsmen. Apart from playing the bagpipes, do you make them too?

You can’t imagine how labor intensive it is to handcraft a bagpipe. I would know how to make certain parts of the bagpipes but not the whole one. There was a time before recording my first album when I did work in the family workshop (obradoiro) but when the album started, the tours, etc., I left it to dedicate myself to my passion since I was a child, playing the bagpipes and now I am lucky that it has become my profession. But being in the workshop was a super nice and enriching experience to learn more about my instrument.

Where can Seivane bagpipes be purchased?

Currently Seivane makes bagpipes for the whole world. Many people like to come to the obradoiro itself because they like the family atmosphere and friendly treatment that you find there. But you can also purchase and configure your bagpipe as you please on the website, seivane.es/es/tienda/config_gaita_0.html?

Has there been any evolution of the Galician bagpipe since your grandfather’s time?

A lot! Previously, the bagpipes were much more rustic and the bagpipers themselves had to come up with ways to use the “rare” fingers so that they tuned some notes when they played with other instruments like the clarinet for example. Nowadays, after many years of study and dedication, the bagpipe is at a point where its tuning allows instrumentalists to play with any instrument.

Susana Seivane

What bagpipes did you use before and which ones do you use now?

Bagpipes have been made for me as I have grown. When I started, on my fourth birthday, my uncle, my father and my grandfather gave me a bagpipe built by them, perfectly tuned but with very small dimensions so that I could play it because I could not play with a standard one, even though I already knew how to play. That bagpipe is at the top of our obradoiro where there is an exhibition of the most special bagpipes that have been made, and there she is, like a golden piece, with a blow stick (where we blow) that has dimensions of a pacifier 🙂

Who are the manufacturers of your bagpipes?

If I do not want to be disowned, it’s my family! My father, my uncle, my sister, my cousin … everyone who works in the family obradoiro.

Do you play bagpipes from other cultures, besides Galician ones?

I do not.

Have you ever used the electronic bagpipe and what do you think of it?

I think the term electronic bagpipe does not exist. A wind trigger would be more correct. The “bagpipe” is the bagpipe. That invention we can call “wind sounds trigger”; seems to me very good to compose, rehearse, etc., but I would never play it live, for example. I like the bagpipes as they are, it’s our tradition and culture and I love how it sounds. I’ve seen people cry with emotion when they hear it, people who do not have Galician ancestors or anything. The sound of our bagpipes is something magical and that stirs many emotions inside.

You are part of a pioneer generation of women bagpipers. Are you helping to train the new generations?

To the extent that I can, I go to many schools to be with the children, to teach them how the bagpipe works, I let them blow it, touch it, teach them traditional songs and sing them together. I think it’s something important to continue transmitting our culture as our elders did with us. And to bring our instrument and our culture to the youngest ones seems to me something so important that I even think it should be a compulsory subject in our schools.

Susana Seivane

What new generation pipers deserve the attention of lovers of Galician music or Celtic music in general?

I really like David Bellas, Pedro Lamas, Dani Bellon, Magoia Bodega; it is sublime to listen to them. Surely you do not know them, but not always the most famous are the best.

If you could gather the musicians or groups that fascinate you the most to record an album or collaborate live, who would you call?

My musical godfathers, Milladoiro; Rodrigo Romani, my guardian angel, co-founder of Milladoiro and producer of my first albums; Shooglenifty with whom I have also had the luck to collaborate in concerts and on the Scottish BBC; Dulce Pontes with which I also play; Kepa Junkera, SonDeSeu, Treixadura, Noitarega, whoa … many admired by me.

What music are you currently listening to?

In the car, I have my latest album. I am very satisfied with how it came out and I listen to it a lot. Then, at home, the truth is that I listen to about everything. I’m quite eclectic in terms of musical tastes, I like jazz, funk, rock, classical music, etc.

What do you like to do during your free time?

Playing paddle tennis, I’m in a team where I play in the Galician league and the national series. I was hooked from the beginning. I also like bowling, I was also asked to join a team but I do not have any more time! I have been away from paddle for a while because I have knee injuries but I’ll be back!

What other projects do you have in hand?

We are preparing a very special concert for our 20th anniversary next year. An extraordinary concert that will give a lot to talk about and that we will record live with many collaborations from friends of all these 20 years.

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The Rich Tonality of Sondeseu Folk Orchestra

Sondeseu – Beiralua (Altafonte, 2018)

Beiralua is the fifth album from Sondeseu, one of the great folk music orchestras in Europe. The large ensemble from Spain’s Galicia region celebrates traditional music and new works by Galician composers such as Rodrigo Romaní, Xosé Luis Romero, Quico Comesaña, Luis Emilio Batallán, Pedro Lamas and Anxo Pintos.

SonDeSeu’s sections include bagpipes, percussion, zanfonas (hurdy gurdies), fiddles, requintas (Galician wooden flutes), vocals, harps and plucked strings (bouzoukis). It’s a charming and beautiful sound that highlights unconventional instruments like the zanfona, bagpipes and other instruments in an orchestral context.

Guests include acclaimed vocalist Rosa Cedrón, the Treixadura Orfeón, piper Susana Seivane and orchestra founder Rodrigo Romaní.

SonDeSeu was founded in 2001 by Rodrigo Romaní in the former department of Traditional Music of the School of Arts and Crafts (today E-Trad), at the current Municipal School of Folk and Traditional Music of Vigo.

Previous recording include Mar de Vigo (2004), Trastempo (2007), Barlovento (2010), and Danzas Brancas (2013).

Beiralua is a finely-crafted orchestral folk music album based on Galician musical traditions.

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Golden Harps of Galicia

Rodrigo Romaní Trío – Fios de ouro no ár (Altafonte, 2018)

Spanish musician Rodrigo Romaní is one of the leading harp players in Galicia. He’s one of the pioneers of contemporary Galician folk music, who co-founded the seminal band Milladoiro. On this occasion, he appears with a trio that includes fellow harp player Beatriz Martinez and Xulia Feixoo on percussion.

The album Fios de ouro no ár (Golden strings in the air) features original pieces and traditional songs as well. It’s a superb melodic album where folk harp meets classical music and contemporary acoustic music.

The exquisite chamber string quartet Cuarteto Novecento appears on two of the musical pieces.

Although the majority of the album is instrumental, two guest vocalists appear on two tracks: Inés Lorenzo and Guillerme Ignacio Costa.

Fios de ouro no ár is beautifully-constructed recording by one of leading composers in the Galician folk music scene.

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Galician Folk Group Luar Na Lubre Releases Ribeira Sacra

Luar Na Lubre – Ribeira Sacra

Luar Na Lubre, one of the most veteran Galician folk music groups has a new album titled “Ribeira Sacra” (Warner Music, 2018). The Spanish band dedicates the album to the Ribeira Sacra, a scenic Spanish wine-producing region with terraced vineyards in the provinces of Lugo and Oorense.

The current libeup includes Bieito Romero on gaitas, accordion and zanfona; Belém Tajes on vocals; Antía Ameixeiras on fiddle; Patxi Bermúdez on bodhran, drums and jembé; Pedro Valero on acoustic guitar; Xavier Ferreiro on Latin percussion; and Xan Cerqueiro on flutres.

Guests include Víctor Manuel, SES, la Coral de Ruada, Félix and Castor Castro Vicente, Astarot, Nani García, and Marisa Valle Roso.

Some of the band’s earlier recordings include XXX Aniversario Luar Na Lubre, Mar Maior, Extra: Mundi, Solsticio and Cabo Do Mundo.

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Frame Drum Vitality

Xavier Diaz – Noró (Músicas de Salitre, 2018)

On Noró, vocalist and percussionist Xavier Diaz revisits and transforms the traditional folk songs and dances of Galicia (northwestern Spain). It’s a tribute to the musics of northern Galicia. He collaborates with a group of female percussionists and vocalists called Adufeiras de Salitre, who use square frame drums known as pandeiro cuadrado or adufe, as well as the Alvarez brothers who contribute zanfona (hurdy gurdy) and accordion.

The material on Noró includes a wide range of traditional genres: xota (a dance also known as jota), cantares, follón, pasodobre (pasodoble), agarrado, ribeirana, muiñeiras, aña, baile llano, ronda, mazurka, and carballesas.

Xavier Diaz is an innovator in terms of arrangements and follows the path of Eliseo Parra, who renovated Spanish folk music. It’s contemporary folk music deeply rooted in tradition.
The lineup on Noró includes Xavier Diaz on vocals and percussion; Gutier Álvarez on zanfona and fiddle; Javier Álvarez on diatonic accordion; Cristina Pico on vocals and percussion; Iria Penabad on vocals and percussion; Montse García on vocals and percussion; Patricia Gamallo on vocals and percussion; Maite López on vocals and percussion; Noemi Basanta on vocals and percussion; Carolina Vázquez on vocals and percussion; Bea Mariño on vocals and percussion; Lidia Sanmartín on vocals and percussion; Gisela Sanmartín on vocals and percussion; Icía Sanmartín (vocals and percussion); and Mariña García on vocals and percussion.

Noró features insistent frame drum energy and superbly expressive vocals.

Buy Noró

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Artist Profiles: Miguel Allo

Miguel Allo – Photo by Strange Milena

Miguel Allo is the founder of Celtic band Camaxe. He is also a passionate gaitero (player of the gaita, the Galician bagpipes). He started playing the instrument at the age of 9 and by the age of 12 was already composing his first melodies.

Miguel grew up in the context of Galician musical culture and participated a numerous musical contests in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where he managed to win the first prize with his Belgian band. Miguel is also a member of Galician roots band Ialma.

Discography:

Imaxes ‎(Wild Boar Music, 2005)
Airexa ‎(Music & Words, 2008)

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Artist Profiles: Ialma

Ialma

Ialma is responsible for the increasing influence of Galician folk music in Belgium. The group features five cantareiras (singers), who are descendants of Spanish immigrants from Galicia, as well as Belgian instrumentalists. Ialma also has strong Wallonian and Flamenco influences.

The vocalists are: Verónica Codesal, Marisol Palomo, Nuria Aldao, Natalia Codesal and Magali Menéndez

Tradicional Galician instruments such as gaita (bagpipe) and pandereta (tambourine) are combined with accordions, bass, and piano.

Discography:

Palabras darei (Zoku, 2000)
Marmuladas (Zoku, 2002)
Nova Era (Kerua, 2006)
Simbiose (FOL Musica, 2011)
Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago (Home Records, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Camaxe

Camaxe – Photo by Strange Milena

The musical roots of the band Camaxe lie in the Galician tradition. Miguel Allo, founder of the band, has a passion for folk music and has been studying Galician music for over two decades years. Bands like Fuxan os ventos, Milladoiro and Luar na Lubre still serve as a musical reference point to him.

From a very young age he studied music and dance in the company of people from various backgrounds, one of them being Marisol Palomo (vocalist at Ialma). Other Galician musicians like Mario Romero (Os Rosales) and Xoan Porto (Leilia) enriched his musical education. Around 2003, Miguel decided to work together with Marc De Martelaer, a bass player, who became responsible for most of the band’s arrangements.

Camaxe’s first album was titled Imaxes. By means of melodies inspired by the Galician tradition, and subtly mixed with other musical styles b>Imaxes. (meaning images) took the listener on a journey leading along both sad and exuberant roads. Camaxe tells the story of many years of musical discoveries and encounters.

The band consisted of 7 musicians from a variety of backgrounds:

Miguel Allo – Apart from being the composer of most of the tracks on the CD, Miguel Allo is also a passionate gaitero (player of the gaita, the Galician bagpipes). He started playing the instrument at the age of 9 and by the age of 12 was already composing his first melodies.

Miguel grew up in the context of Galician musical culture and participated a numerous musical contests in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where he managed to win the first prize with his Belgian band. Miguel is also a member of Ialma.

Marc De Martelaer – bass

Sophie Cavez – diatonic accordion

Filip Lambrechts – guitar

Veronica Codesal – vocals and pandeireta (Galician tambourine).

Baptiste Argouarch – violin

Ariane De Bievre – flutes and percussion

Discography:

Imaxes ‎(Wild Boar Music, 2005)
Airexa ‎(Music & Words, 2008)

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Xabier Díaz & Adufeiras de Salitre Release Music Video with First Single from Upcoming album

Xabier Díaz

O baile de Noró is the title of the new single by Spanish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Xabier Díaz and Adufeiras de Salitre. The group performs contemporary Galician folk music featuring the all-female Adufeiras de Salitre, an ensemble that follows the pandereteiras tradition (an ensemble of women that sings and plays tambourines).

The song will appear in the upcoming “Noró” album, scheduled for release in February 2018.

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Artist profiles: Susana Seivane

Susana Seivane

Susana Seivane Hoyo was born August 25, 1976 in in Barcelona, Spain. She is the legitimate heir of a lineage of bagpipe craftsmen: the Seivanes. Her father is a bagpipe maker and her grandfather Xosé Seivane is one of the remaining old pipers still alive who together with Ricardo Portela or Moxenas (both deceased) formed part of one of the most important generations of Galician pipers, becoming masters and guides for today’s finest pipers.

Susana’s father, Alvaro was living in Barcelona, studying and making bagpipes for people in Galicia, Madrid and abroad. After ten years in Barcelona, the Seivanes returned to their Galician homeland.

Seivane’s style of playing, typical of “inland” pipers – the prestigious pipers from Fonsagrada, won her the respect and admiration of the piping world and traditional musicians in Galicia. This brilliant “inland” style, a tempered playing style, present in her music, shows a woman who has synthesized the most modern interpretive techniques like no one else with the “enxebre” style of the old pipers.

Susana surrounded herself with a group of young musicians that brought freshness and energy to her live performances that reproduces her albums. Her first recording was produced by Rodrigo Romaní, one of the founders of the legendary Galician folk music group Milladoiro.

Her band is not a conventional one. She uses instruments like bouzouki and guitar. Seivane plays traditional material although she also composes a few originals.

 

Discography

Susana Seivane (Boa Music, 1999)
Alma de buxo (Boa Music, 2001)
Mares de tempo (Boa Music, 2004)
Os soños que volven (Enavies, 2009)

DVD

Susana Seivane e amigos (Enavies, 2015)

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