Tag Archives: Spanish music

Mara Aranda Releases Sefarad en el corazón de Turquía

Mara Aranda – Sefarad en el corazón de Turquía

Spanish singer Mara Aranda has released “Sefarad en el corazón de Turquía” , the second volume of a pentalogy titled “Diaspora”, dedicated to the Judeo-Spanish traditions of Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. The first album of the series “Sefarad en el corazón de Marruecos” was awarded “Best of Europe 2017” by the Transglobal World Music Chart.

Sefarad en el corazón de Turquía” (Sefarad in the Heart of Turkey) reflects the common past of the cultures on the Iberian peninsula that traveled with the exiled communities to their new destinations, and now, with “Diaspora”, they return to their origin.


Heartfelt and Sorrowful Castilian Bluegrass

Los Hermanos Cubero – Quique dibuja la tristeza

Los Hermanos Cubero – Quique dibuja la tristeza (El Segell del Primavera, 2018)

Quique dibuja la tristeza (Quique draws sadness) is the winner of this year’s Best World Music and Fusion Album at Spain’s prestigious Premios MIN (the influential indie awards). Los Hermanos Cubero are brothers Enrique (Quique) Ruiz Cubero and Roberto Ruiz Cubero. For several years, they have been mixing Castilian folk music with American bluegrass.

Los Hermanos Cubero

This is a bittersweet album, a tribute to Quique’s wife, Olga, who died of cancer. The lyrics reflect the pain, memories, and grief that so deeply affected Quique. Musically, the bluegrass influences are clearly visible in the form of intimate acoustic arrangements with mandolin and guitar. Meanwhile, the guest fiddler adds a country and western element.

Quique dibuja la tristeza was recorded live at the end of 2017 with a mobile unit at LaVeguilla Winery in Olivares de Duero (Valladolid province). The lineup featured Enrique (Quique) Ruiz Cubero on guitar and vocals; Roberto Ruiz Cubero on mandolin and vocals; Jaime del Blanco on violin, baritone violin and viola; and Oriol Aguilar on acoustic bass.

Los Hermanos Cubero have released an intensely personal album with remarkably expressive vocals and a fascinating, stripped down bluegrass meets Spanish trad crossover sound.


Guitarist Cañizares Wins Best Flamenco Album Award at Spanish Independent Music Awards 2019

The album “El mito de la caverna” by acclaimed flamenco guitarist Cañizares is the winner of the Best Flamenco Album Award at Premios MIN 2019, Spain’s independent music awards.

El mito de la caverna is Cañizares’ 14th album and he describes it as a heartfelt tribute to his roots and traditions.

Cañizares is a classically-trained flamenco guitarist who bridges the worlds of flamenco and classical music.

More about Cañizares.


The Better Musical Paradises of Javier Ruibal

Javier Ruibal – “Paraísos mejores” (Nuba Records, 2018)

Javier Ruibal, one of Spain’s finest musical poets delivers another gem titled Paraísos mejores (better paradises). Ruibal has a highly expressive, captivating vocal style that matches his poetic lyrics perfectly. His lyrics talk about love, flamenco dreams, recent historical events, the hopes of African migrants, Egypt travels, imaginary places and the aspiration of humanity despite war mongering. All songs are in Spanish except one in which Ruibal sings in Arabic.

Musically, Javier Ruibal, takes you on a fantastic musical trip around the globe, incorporating flamenco, Cuban music, Middle Eastern music, bolero, contemporary jazz, rock, and chamber classical music.

The album was produced by Javier’s son, percussionist Javi (Javier Jr.) Ruibal. Paraísos mejores includes two high profile singers, Dominican star Juan Luis Guerra and the great Brazilian artist Chico Cesar.

The line-up includes Javier Ruibal on vocals and guitar together with some of Spain’s best players: Jose Recacha on electric and acoustic guitars, ud, bouzouki, Portuguese guitar, electric bass and keyboards; Javi Ruibal on drums and percussion; Manuel Machado on trumpet; Federico Lechner on piano; Victor Merlo on acoustic bass; Diego Villegas on saxophone, flute, clarinet and harmonica; Frederick Hogue on trombone; Daniel Escortell on bass; Jorge Arribas on accordion; Diego Galaz on violin, mandolin and saw; Laure Gaudrom on viola; José Inés Guerrero on cello;  Faiçal Kourrich on violin and viola; and José Carlos Roca on cello.


Artist Profiles: Uxía


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)


Artist Profiles: Manuel Luna

Manuel Luna

Manuel Luna is an anthropologist and musician, researcher and performer, whose concern for traditional culture and particularly for its music, has led him to combine the rigor of research with the effort to rework and update its contents.

As a musician and singer, he has several albums, in which he manifests an evolution that leads him to combine elements of authenticity, with the most modern contributions in the field of arrangements and instrumentation. He has also directed folk music programs and has made more than thirty ethnomusical productions with compilations and studies of traditional music in Castilla-Mancha, Murcia, Cantabria and other regions.

His group, La Cuadrilla Maquilera, incuded Enrique Valiño: Violin and rabel; Raúl Frutos: Cajón, darbuka, jembé and small percussion; José Luis Yagüe: Double bass. Alfredo Valero: Piano and accordion.

Manuel Luna and Maquilera, have toured plazas and major festivals in many Spanish towns, as well as theatrical and cultural areas of Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, France, Italy and Norway. Similarly, his music has been present in various radio and television programs in Spain and abroad.


Que Arriba, Que Abajo ?(Movieplay, 1978)
II (Movieplay, 1980
El tío de la pita (1982)
En los jardines del sueño (Fonomusic, 1985)
Como Hablan Las Sabinas (RNE, 1987)
Los Gallos De Londres (Sonifolk, 1989)
Papelería Rocío (Objetos De Escritorio) (Resistencia, 2004)
Romper el Baile (Resistencia, 2006)
La Fiesta del Árbol (Trenti, 2005)
Por parrandas (2012)


Artist Profiles: Manuel Iman

Manuel Iman

Manuel Iman was born in Seville, Spain. He became involved in music at a very early age. His first recording came in 1975 when he made 14 de Abril with the group Goma. The album was one of the first fusion efforts of that time and has now become a collector’s item. Three of the pieces of this album were included in the soundtrack of the successful film Manuela in 1976.

In 1976 the first seeds of the Andalusian progressive rock group Iman were sown and by the following year, the full band was gaining ground with its live performances. They were signed by CBS for whom they recorded Iman, Califato Independiente. The critics raved over its innovative and subtle combination of Flamenco, Rock and Eastern roots.

In 1980, Camino del Aguila was released, incorporating tropical influences. One of Manuel’s compositions was included in the soundtrack of the French film Frigg force 9.

Iman became a legendary name in Spanish rock and its recordings were re-released on CD by Musea a French record company. In 1997 Sony Music, Spain reissued both albums.

After moving to Madrid in 1981, Manuel became a sought-after creative force in the recording industry and produced, performed and arranged works for artists as varied as Lole & Manuel, Paco and Pepe de Lucia, Pata Negra, Kiko Veneno, Ole-Ole, Los del Rio, Remedios Amaya, Emilio Aragon and many more. He also worked making music for commercials and documentaries.

In 1985, Manuel got involved in the creation of a commercial project, the pop band La Decada Prodigiosa, covering popular 1960s songs (EMI Hispavox), that had outstanding success. The first five albums released sold 2.5 million copies and the band toured Spain extensively for five years and appeared in many TV shows. One of the biggest live shows took place in the island of Tenerife island (1989) where Manuel performed with the band in front of more than 250.000 people.

In 1991 Manuel began work on a solo album, entitled La Danza del Espacio for Productora Andaluza, released in 1992. He worked on music for the video commissioned by Tele Expo (the TV station created for the 92 World Expo) Sevilla entre dos Exposiciones.

Manuel also coordinated and directed a large scale tour entitled Rock Andaluz- Ayer y Hoy in which important names from the past and present were brought together.

In 1995 he moved to Malibu, California, composing and producing music for video and preparing a new album. Called from Spain in 1996 for a new project, Manuel became the Musical Director and music composer of El Circo del Arte show, a successful new project produced by the show business mogul Emilio Aragon.

In 1997 he returned to Malibu and he worked as a producer and composer for Dunrite Productions. In 1998 the CD Reflections was released with Domo Records, an instrumental collection that includes three pieces by Manuel. His music was also included in Music for the Spirit, on Domo Records. Songs from a grateful heart, an instrumental Spanish guitar collection, was released in 1998 (Visions International).

For the same company, he also worked with more artists in the CD Live in Long Beach. In addition he produced another solo album Flowers in the desert (EverSound), released in October 1998, working with Grammy Award winner Roger Nichols and Paul Dieter.

In 1999 music by Manuel was included in the compilation CD Expressions (EverSound) and produced and performed three carols for the compilation CD Tidings of Joy (EverSound), one of them, Little drummer boy featuring his daughter Lucia Iman.

In 2000, Manuel worked on a new album titled Legacy, based and inspired in old Indian bhajans creating a fusion with blues, reggae, Flamenco, Brazilian and African music featuring the collaboration of outstanding musicians from around the world like Dan Moretti, Abraham Laboriel, Madan Gopal, Gita Jaiyaram, Bob Nichols, Jim Monahan, Scarlet Rivera, Nigel Holton, Windy Barnes, Sanjay Talwar and many more, with Nichols again in the mixing and mastering for this project.

In 2001 he produced and arranged Save the Day for Visions International, Untraveled Road, an alternative country CD for Steve Mc Peters and Rich beyond words for Rich Neel.

Manuel returned to Seville and continues to perform and produce recordings there.


With Imán, Califato Independiente

Imán, Califato Independiente (CBS, 1978)
Camino Del Águila (CBS, 1980)
Imán, Califato Independiente (1976 – 2006) (Aristillus, 2006)


La danza del espacio (Aspa Records, 1992)
Songs from a grateful heart (Visions International, 1998)
Flowers in the desert (EverSound, 1998)
Legacy (Collaboration Works, 2000)
Your love is my blessing (EverSound, 2003)
Sevilla Infinita (Manuel Iman Music, 2018)


Artist Profiles: Manantial Folk

Manantial Folk in 2018

Manantial Folk was born in one of the richest areas of musical folklore in Spain, the villages of the Sierra de los Gredos (La Vera and Valle del Tiétar) in western Spain. The group maintains, since childhood, a close contact with the various manifestations of traditional culture. Since 1982, traditional music has been updated, working on several fronts.

One of the main interests of the group is research. Manantial Folk has collected more than three hundred songs that, rigorously documented and with their corresponding musical notation, are included in their songs. The musicians of Manantial Folk have recovered instruments such as the rabel de una cuerda (one-string rabel or rebec), which had almost disappeared, and they have been teaching classes on indigenous instruments and rhythms at towns throughout the region. They complete this work with conferences, articles in specialized magazines, radio and TV programs, etc.

In their recordings Manantial Folk are renovators, adapting folklore to the current demands always from the natural respect to the essence of each song: melody, rhythm and text. And advances, also from traditional approaches, to new compositions by musicating relevant current poets (Claudio Rodríguez, Jesús A. Martín, José Lahorascala, etc …) who sing to the earth and to men.

Throughout the years Manantial Folk has been gathering an extensive repertoire that is continuously increasing. The songs are decided according to the venue (town squares, theaters, schools, etc.) and the circumstances in which it must be done, combining culture and show perfectly.

The ensemble: Ana Aliseda – harmonica, percussion, and vocals; Cristina Bernal – flutes, percussion, and vocals; Nino Seco – lute, rabel, percussion, and vocals; Rafael Tirado – electric bass, and vocals; Angel Tirado – acoustic guitar, and vocals; and José Luis Rodriguez – Spanish guitar and vocals.


Manantial (1982)
Los tapiales (1984)
Extremadura en la mirada (1985)
Vengo de la Vera, vengo (1986)
“…a sol poner” (1987)
Raíz y vuelo, compilation(1988)
Jotas, rondas y rondeñas, compilation(1988)
Del Duero al Guadiana (1990)
Alboreá, rondas de boda, with Cogolla, Niño de la Ribera and José A. Conde (1991)
Canciones Populares (Guía didáctica) (1991)
Tiempos (1992)
América, te nombro (1992)
Del natural (1994)
Pregón XI Festival Acántara (1995)
Esto tan nuestro, compilation (1997)
Jota y rondeña, ronda y romance (1998)
Más que canciones (2000)
Al estilo de mi tierra, compilation (2004)
Paisaje y Canción, compilation (2006)
Cuando las calles cantan, compilation (2009)
La estrella de Gredos (2011)
Sonidos del tiempo, compilation (2013)
La luz de la palabra (2015)


Gente, paisaje y canción (2006)


Artist Profiles: Luis Paniagua

Luis Paniagua

Luis Paniagua García-Calderón was born in Madrid March 9, 1957. He is a composer and performer who has been trained in both western and eastern music, especially in the north of India.

As a composer, what interests him is creating contemporary and universal music inspired by elements of both cultures. This search for expression has led him to compose with eastern instruments such as the Indian sitar or the Chinese pipa, combining them with Western instruments and creating an apparently exotic sound world, but which, in reality, transcends any specific tradition to become a personal expression and universal.

Luis Paniagua belongs to a family in which musicians proliferate. At the age of ten he began to play different stringed instruments and percussion. His recording career began very early in the Madrid group of ancient music (medieval and Renaissance) Atrium Musicae, directed by his brother Gregorio. He appeared in the first albums of this group, published in 1968 in the Collection of Ancient Spanish Music of Hispavox.

At the age of fifteen he debuted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. With Atrium Musicae he remained from 1972 to 1982, touring concerts in the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Finland, Poland and the Soviet Union. His albums with Atrium Musicae weer relased in Spain (Hispavox), France (Harmonia Mundi) and Sweden (BIS), as well as in other American and Japanese labels.

From 1981 on, everything began to change with the creation of another group, Babia, where at last he was able to capture some of the ideas he had already glimpsed by including instruments such as sitar in his interpretations of old European music. The group included his brther Eduardo Paniagua, Luis Delgado and Jesús Creu. They recorded “Oriente – Occidente” (Guimbarda GS – 11152, 1982), a milestone of Spanish fusion music.

Since then he has had an exceptional career as a soloist that includes the composition of music for numerous plays and ballet, live performances and recordings.

The album De Mágico Acuerdo featured the string section of the Symphonic Orchestra of RTVE.

Since 1999 he performs primarily with the lyre and vocals.

His album Nanas de Sol won the National Award for the Best Album of the year 2002, given by the Academy of Arts and Science of Music of Spain.

Luis Paniagua created the term ‘New Ancestral Music,’ a space where the emotions, feelings, inner listening and silence can be actively felt. This music is based on the research of lost aesthetics.


De Magico Acuerdo (Nuevos Medios, 1986)
Neptuno (Grabaciones Accidentales, 1987)
Planeo (La Fabrica Magnetica, 1991)
Árbol De Cenizas (Ashes Tree) (NO-CD Rekords, 1992)
La Bolsa O La Vida (Hyades Arts, 1992)
Muy Fragil (Hyades Arts, 1993)
Soltando Amarras (NO-CD Rekords, 1997)
Amaneció De Golpe (Pneuma, 1998)
Nanas De Sol (Pneuma, 1999)
Bienvenida (Silentium Records, 2001)
Rabindranath Tagore. Cuánto Tiempo Dura Mi Viaje (Pneuma, 2007)


Artist Profiles: L’Ham de Foc

L’Ham de Foc

The band L’Ham de Foc was iniciated by Efrén López and Mara Aranda in 1998. After composing their first material they were invited by the INJUVE (Institute for Spanish Youth Culture) to participate in the yearly tour through various Spanish cities. The live setup required more musicians so L’Ham de Foc was founded after the band grew up to 7 members.

Shortly after that, the musicians got in contact with the independent label Sonifolk and in August of 1999 the first CD “U” (Sonifolk, 2001) was released. With the help of the new album, the band participated in several important Spanish world music and folk festivals.

After a long tour throughout Spain Efrén López and Mara Aranda continued their musical investigation and moved to Greece for 6 months in order to learn more about traditional Greek music and to meet important musicians. The knowledge obtained during this trip was used in their second album, Cançó de Dona i Home (Sonifolk, 2002).

L’Ham de Foc was one of the leading groups of a new Folk movement in Spain, that works the traditional roots into a new, modern music concept. But L’Ham de Foc’s work is not just a superficial look at its roots. The musician’s intention is to go back to where things originally came from, to learn how to play instruments, techniques and interpretations from first hand. Mediterranean folk music, including their own Valencian music, Greek music and also music from India or Northern Africa, are main influences for L’Ham de Foc. This mixture was responsible for a widespread acceptance of their music.

To understand the group’s work, one needs to know ome things about the special cultural situation of the Valencian region. During the history of the southern Spanish coast, different cultures settled down, imposing their cultural roots. Due to its harbors, southeastern Spain was an important place for trading and the result was a permanent cultural exchange.

Musically spoken, three different zones have the strongest influence: The Arabic countries in the south. The tradition from Aragon and Castille in Spain, France and Italy denominated as the European zone. The central zone that is identified by a fusion of the north and the south. Hereto belong countries and regions like Greece, Andalusia, Yugoslavia, Albania, the Balearic Islands, Malta, Crete, Valencia, etc. These cultures are characterized by melismatic melodies, polyrhythms, double stringed instruments, wind instruments, quarter tone harmonies, and by the presence of the Arabic culture throughout 700 years.

The Musicians:

Diego López (Darbuka, Rig, Didjeridu, Bendir, Snare Drum, Cántaro and Tabla) – He started his career as a drummer in various rock, folk and singer-songwriter bands and found his interest more and more in traditional percussion instruments. He studied Indian tabla with Sazed Ul Alam and took part in workshops given by Glen Velez.

Eduardo Navarro (Dulzaina Gralla, Tarota, Baguet, Galician Bagpipe, Bulgarian Bagpipe, Chirimía, Crumhorn, Flute, Violin and Mandolin) – He started playing the laúd (Spanish lute) in traditional music groups and studied violin at the conservatory. Later, at the age of 16, rs he specialized in the Dulzaina reaching a master level. He was founder of traditional Valencian and Mediterranean groups like Llisa folk, Urbália Rurana, Tres Fan Ball and la Banda del Agredolç. He was also engaged in the cultural magazine “La Canya”. He later worked with the group Capella de Ministrers playing early music and was a permanent member of L’Ham de Foc.

Paco Bernal (Bendir, Crótalos, Snare Drum, Cajón and Cántaro)
He specializes fundamentally in Afro Cuban music and flamenco. He participated in several recordings with singer songwriters, Pop bands, Jazz artists, Salsa, Flamenco and African artists. He worked regularly with groups like Salpico, Burguitos, Miquel Gil, Ximo Tebar, Big Band Sedajazz, Sedajazz Latin Ensemble, Joan Soler and Ramón Cardo. He studied with Horacio “el negro” Hernández and Luís Dulzaides. He teaches percussion at the Conservatory in Valencia and at the Escuela de Música Creativa de Benimaclet.

Efrén López (Ud, Zanfona, Dulcimer, Bouzouki, Saz, Lauto, Trompa Marina, Gümbüs and Archilaúd) – He was one of the founders of L’Ham de Foc together with Mara Aranda. After playing the guitar in several projects he started to get into traditional music. As a session musician he recorded for more than 40 projects of different music styles. He’s switching now from guitar to traditional Mediterranean and antique instruments like double stringed instruments. With these instruments he recorded music for ads, documentaries and short movies. He studied the Zanfona with Pascal Leffevre, Maurizio Marttinotti and Nigel Eaton, Indian music with Krisna Mohann Batt, Sazed Ul Alam and Ajo y Chakrabarti and Turkish music with Ross Daly. Now he is sharing his time between L’Ham de Foc and the antique music ensemble Capella de Ministrers, which is touring continuously throughout Spain, Italy, France, Egypt, Croatia, Portugal, etc.

Mara Aranda (Tampura, Percussion, Classical Guitar, Vocals) – Mara was the composer of most of the music of L’Ham de Foc and also responsible for all lyrics. From the age of 16 she became a singer songwriter, fundamentally influenced by roots music and early music.


U (Sonifolk, 1999)
Cançó De Dona I Home (Sonifolk, 2002)
Cor De Porc (Galileo MC, 2005)