Tag Archives: Spanish music

Spanish Folk Music Band Vigüela Tops the October 2018 Transglobal World Music Chart

A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition (ARC Music), the double album by Spanish folk music band Vigüela is the number one album of the the October 2018 Transglobal World Music Chart.

Vigüela has captured the essence of Spanish folk music as performed in village homes, festivities and celebrations in the province of Castilla-La Mancha and beyond. The group performs their materials on folk instruments and kitchen utensils such as guitarros manchegos (small guitars from Castile-La Mancha), castanets, frame drums, the zambomba friction drum, folk guitars, triangles, the bowed 1-stringed rabal, lutes, jars, bottles, mortar and frying pans.

The rest of the chart:

2. SANS – Kulku – Cloud Valley
3. Ammar 808 – Maghreb United – Glitterbeat
4. Samba Touré – Wande – Glitterbeat
5. Anandi Bhattacharya – Joys Abound – Riverboat / World Music Network
6. Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo – Montuno / Shanachie / Wagram
7. Minyeshu – Daa Dee – ARC Music
8. Baul Meets Saz – Namaz – Seyir Muzik
9. Grupo Mono Blanco – ¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos de Veracruz – Smithsonian Folkways
10. V.A. – Two Niles To Sing a Melody: The Violins & Synths of Sudan – Ostinato

11. Chancha Vía Circuito – Bienaventuranza – Wonderwheel
12. Angelique Kidjo – Remain in Light – Kravenworks
13. Yossi Fine & Ben Aylon – Blue Desert – Blue Desert
14. Arat Kilo, Mamani Keïta, Mike Ladd – Visions of Selam – Accords Croisés
15. The Turbans – The Turbans – Six Degrees
16. Cimbalom Brothers – Testvériség / Brotherhood – Fonó Budai Zeneház
17. Marta Gómez – La Alegría y el Canto – Aluna
18. Eliades Ochoa & Alejandro Almenares – Dos Gigantes de la Música Cubana – Tumi
19. Harouna Samake – Kamale Blues – One World
20. Stella Chiweshe – Kasahwa: Early Singles – Glitterbeat

21. Sväng – Sväng Plays Tango – Galileo Music
22. Sekou Bah – Soukabbè Mali – Clermont Music
23. Cemîl Qoçgîrî & Manuel Lohnes – Bêdawîtî – Ahenk Müzik
24. Opium Moon – Opium Moon – Be Why Music
25. Red Baraat – Sound the People – Rhyme & Reason
26. Bombino – Deran – Partisan
27. Hermeto Pascoal – Hermeto Pascoal e sua Visão Original do Forró – Scubidu
28. Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana – Argento – Visage
29. Small Island Big Song – Small Island Big Song – Small Island Big Song
30. Dur-Dur Band – Dur-Dur of Somalia: Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks – Analog Africa

31. Alba Griot Ensemble – The Darkness Between the Leaves – Riverboat / World Music Network
32. Jaune Toujours – Europeana – Choux de Bruxelles
33. Mehdi Rostami & Adib Rostami – Melodic Circles – ARC Music
34. Catarina Dos Santos – Rádio Kriola – ARC Music
35. Ann O’aro – Ann O’aro – Buda Musique
36. Okonkolo – Cantos – Big Crown
37. Markus & Shahzad – Tumba ! – Dionysiac Tour
38. Monsieur Doumani – Angathin – Monsieur Doumani
39. Nancy Vieira – Manhã Florida – Lusafrica
40. Bokanté + Metropole Orkest – What Heat – Real World

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Music for Hispanic Heritage Month 2018

Throughout September and October, the Spanish-speaking nations and Hispanic residents in the United States celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) in the United States. Other countries celebrate the Dia de la Hispanidad (Hispanic Heritage Day).

During the monthlong Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, the United States honors the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. World Music Central has put together a list of recent recordings that showcase the diversity of Hispanic music.

Old-School Revolution is an irresistible album by the Hip Spanic Allstars, a new supergroup that brings together members of iconic bands Santana, Tower of Power, Spearhead, and Los Mocosos.

The multinational band celebrates and updates the exciting music made in the 1970s where Spanish Caribbean salsa and Latin jazz met rock and African American soul and funk.

 

One of the most exciting artists out of Cuba is Eme Alfonso, a talented artist that grew up in a family of groundbreaking musicians, Grupo Sintesis. Her album discography includes Eme (Colibrí) and Voy. Eme has been releasing a series of mesmerizing videos with her latest songs, including:

 

Cuba is also a land of extraordinary pianists. This is year there has been a wave of albums by some of Cuba’s finest, who combine jazz and Cuban roots music: Alfredo Rodríguez – The Little Dream ‎(Mack Avenue MAC1130, 2018), Dayramir González – The Grand Concourse (Machat Records, 2018), and Un Día Cualquiera by Harold López-Nussa (Mack Avenue).

 

Alfredo Rodríguez – The Little Dream

 

 

Dayramir González – The Grand Concourse

 

 

Harold López-Nussa – Un Día Cualquiera

 

 

Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares – Aguas

Cuban pianist and composer Omar Sosa has a new album with fellow Cuban vocalist and violinist Yilian Cañizares titled Aguas, scheduled for release on OTA Records on October 5, 2018. Afro-Cuban roots meet Western classical music, and jazz.

 

Eliades Ochoa and Alejandro Almenares – Dos Gigantes de Música Cubana

The legendary Cuban guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Eliades Ochoa (of Buena Vista Social Club fame) has released a delightful instrumental album with Cuban guitarist Alejandro Almenares – Dos Gigantes de Música Cubana (Tumi Music, 2018).

One of the iconic Cuban albums of the 1990s, A toda Cuba le gusta (World Circuit) by Afro-Cuban All Stars has been remastered and reissued on vinyl.

Canada-based Cuban musicians Okan (Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne) have a debut EP titled Laberinto, scheduled for release October 19, 2018. Okan mixes fusion jazz, traditional Cuban music, Mexican influences and jazz swing.

 

 

Mariachi Herencia de México – Herencia de la Tierra Mía

 

With 127 million residents, Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country. The Mexican diaspora has brought mariachi music, norteño and son jarocho to the United States. Mariachi Herencia de México, formed by students from Chicago’s Mexican-American neighborhoods has a new album titled Herencia de la Tierra Mía (Heritage of My Land).

The charming self-released album features iconic Mexican American world music artist Lila Downs, Mexican mariachi star Aida Cuevas and Mexican harp virtuoso Ivan Velasco Herencia de la Tierra Mía includes sones, passionate boleros and a delightful jarocho medley. It was produced by acclaimed Spanish producer Javier Limón, director of the Mediterranean Music Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

 

Magos Herrera – Dreamers

Mexican vocalist Magos Herrera (currently based in New York) celebrates Ibero-American (the music of Spanish and Portuguese countries) culture on her new album Dreamers (Sony Music Masterworks). Magos Herrera collaborates with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. This is not a chamber jazz album, but rather a cross-genre recording where Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider invited guest percussionists on flamenco and global percussion, and flamenco star Miguel Poveda.

Magos Hererera performs songs with lyrics by renowned songwriters and poets and writers, including Octavio Paz, Rubén Darío, and Federico García Lorca. It’s a fascinating production with exquisite arrangements.

 

Radio Jarocho and Zenen Zeferino – Rios de Norte y Sur

 

Son jarocho, with its captivating guitars and poetic lyrics combines the basic roots of Veracruz’s Mexican musical culture: Spanish guitars and poetry, indigenous rhythms and Afro-Caribbean influence. New York-based Radio Jarocho and acclaimed Veracruz musician Zenen Zeferino have released Rios de Norte y Sur.

 

 

Wu Man & Son de San Diego – Fingertip Carnival

A different take on son jarocho is the remarkable Fingertip Carnival, a collaboration between Chinese pipa (lute) maestra Wu Man and son jarocho ensemble Son de San Diego.

 

Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles – Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has released the self-titled album Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. This groundbreaking all-female ensemble has served as a role model for Hispanic women in music. This is classic spirited mariachi at its best. The album includes a 44-page booklet with notes in English and Spanish.

 

. Mexico – The Best Boleros from the Costa Chica

The highly romantic boleros are very popular across the Spanish-speaking nations. A form of rootsy guitar-based bolero has developed in Mexico’s Costa Chica region bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Mexico – The Best Boleros from the Costa Chica (ARC Music) features some of the finest acts from the region, including Pedro Torres, Fidela Peláez, Chogo Prudente, Los Tres Amuzgos, and Las Hermanas García.

 

Grupo Mono Blanco – ¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos de Veracruz por Grupo Mono Blanco

¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos de Veracruz por Grupo Mono Blanco (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2028) is the new album from one of son jarocho’s leading acts Mono Blanco, a group created in the late 1970s by Gilberto Gutierrez Silva.

 

Plena Libre – Amores en el Camino

Gary Nuñez & Plena Libre have been touring extensively with their explosive mix of Puerto Rican plen and bomba, salsa and jazz. Amores en el Camino (Love’s Journey) is their 2018 album. The album was originally scheduled for release in 2017, but it was moved to February 2018 due to Hurricane Maria and the subsequent disaster in Puerto Rico.

 

Miguel Zenón – Yo soy la Tradición

Puerto Rican saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón has released Yo soy la Tradición, his eleventh album. Yo soy la Tradición was commissioned by the David and Reva Logan Center for the Arts and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. It is a set of 8 chamber compositions for alto saxophone and string quartet that include Zenón and the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet.

 

Zemog El Gallo Bueno – YoYouMeTú Volume 3

Puerto Rican-Peruvian act Zemog El Gallo Bueno (Abraham Gómez-Delgado) has combined three of his releases on YoYouMeTú Volume 3. Zemog El Gallo Bueno makes an eclectic cocktail of sounds that includes cha cha ch, salsa, guaracha, rock, funk and electronics. The album will be available November 9, 2018.

 


Dengue Dengue Dengue – Semillero

Peruvian band Dengue Dengue Dengue has a new mini-LP titled Semillero released September 2018 by On The Corner Records. The 6-track recording includes a mix of electronic music with Afro-Peruvian coastal rhythms and healing chants from the Huni Kuin people of the Amazon River.

 

Susana Seivane – Fa

Galicia in northwestern Spain is a land of pipers, traditionally male. The trailblazing Susana Seivane is one of the finest bagpipe players of her generation. She has just released her fifth album titled Fa.

 

Sondeseu – Beiralua

Also from Galicia is the grand folk orchestra called SondeSeu, an orchestra featuring folk music instruments such as zanfonas (hurdy gurdies), bagpipes, flutes, drums, fiddles and vocalists. The new album Beiralua features special guests on vocals and bagpipes.

Galician experimentalist and multi-instrumentalist Mercedes Peón reconstructs tradition with a mix of electronics, rock, traditional acoustic instruments, sampled sounds, and fascinating vocal experimentation on her new album titled Deixaas.

Argentine pianist Juan Carlos Cambas has been living in Galicia since 2002. He has released “Almas en el viento / Música Argentina de raíz“. Juan Carlos Csambos has been exploring the music of countries where large numbers of Galicians emigrated to: Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay.

 

Pedro H. da Silva and Daniel Binelli – Tango Fado Duo

Argentine tango and Portuguese fado come together on Tango Fado Duo (Sorel Classics). The album features Portuguese guitar virtuoso, Pedro H. da Silva and bandoneon maestro Daniel Binelli. Together, they delve into two of the most passionate musical genres in the Hispanic and Lusophone world.

 

Stu Mindeman – Woven Threads

American keyboardist Stu Mindeman collaborates with Chilean musicians on the exquisite Woven Threads, mixing jazz, Chilean music and global rhythms.

 

Aljibe – Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo

 

Folk music band Aljibe, from Central Spain, explores the music of the Rio Tajo (Tagus River) basin on Agua. The band presents reconstructed traditional music from Castile and other regions. The CD is housed in a beautifully-packaged hard cover 144-page book with vintage photos and lots of details about the songs selected.

 

Vigüela – A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition

 

A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition is a double set of Castilian folk music songs performed by the rising stars of Spanish folk music, Vigüela.

 

Chano Dominguez – Chano & Colina

Chano Dominguez started as a progressive rock keyboardist with Andalusian rock band Cai and has become one of the leading flamenco jazz pianists. His most recent album is a collaboration with Spanish jazz bassist Javier Colina: Chano & Colina (Sunnyside, 2018)

 

Marta Gómez – La alegría y el canto

 

Colombian singer-songwriter Marta Gómez released La alegría y el canto (Aluna Music), an album featuring well-known musicians from South America, Cuba and Spain.

 

Chabuco – Encuentro

 

Brazilian music is the focus of Colombian singer-songwriter Chabuco’s 2018 album Encuentro. It’s a nicely-crafted encounter between the tropical music of Colombia and Brazilian music, featuring Brazilian musicians.

 

Spanglish Fly – Ay Que Boogaloo!

 

One of the hottest musical styles in New York’s Hispanic community was bugalú (boogaloo), a hybridization of Latin Caribbean music and African American influences. New York City-based band Spanglish Fly has renovated boogaloo and released Ay Que Boogaloo! (Chaco World Music) earlier this year. This time Spanglish Fly ventured beyond boogaloo, adding bolero, New Orleans funk, swing jazz, Arabic chants, and other innovations.

 

Los Texmaniacs – Cruzando Borders

Los Texmaniacs plays the border music of Tejas (Texas), Tejano music. Their latest album Cruzando Borders (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2018) brings together Spanish, Mexican and American country music roots. Guest includes Lyle Lovett and country singer Rick Treviño.

 

Orquesta Akokán – Featuring José “Pepito” Gómez (Daptone Records) is an encounter between a big band collective of Havana’s finest musicians and musicians from New York’s Latin music scene with mouthwatering mambo as the common language.

 

Various Artists – Strunk Nad Oslavou – Strings over the Oslava River 2016

Various string instrument masters appeared live at a festival in the Czech Republic and recorded Strunk Nad Oslavou – Strings over the Oslava River 2016 (Indies Scope, 2017). The lineup included Germán López, one of the finest timple (a small Spanish guitar from the Canary Islands) players in the Canary Islands, Spain; along with Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione; Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita; and Czech mandolin virtuoso Martin Krajíček.

 

Makrú – Tu Mission

Makrú, a band from the Mission District in San Francisco combines skillfully Colombian and Caribbean music, flamenco, rock, Middle Eastern flavors and much more on – Tu Mission (Makru Music, 2018)

 

Ron Korb – World Café

Canadian flute virtuoso Ron Korb celebrates the music of Latin America and Spain on World Café, featuring Cuban and Canadian musicians with a mix of melodic jazz, tango, rumba flamenco and other influences.

 

StringShot – Blues and Latin

Paraguayan harp player Carlos Reyes collaborates with Brazilian guitarist and vocalist Badi Assad and American blues guitarist on Blues & Latin, a combination of blues, smooth jazz and South American sounds.

Books

Los Romeros: Royal Family of the Spanish Guitar

Los Romeros: Royal Family of the Spanish Guitar by Walter Aaron Clark (University of Illinois Press, 2018) is an depth look at the leading Spanish guitar family in the United States, the Romeros. The family tradition was started by Spaniard Celedonio Romero who emigrated to the United States in the 1950s.

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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.

Buy Beiralua

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A Tiempo Real, An Exceptional Collection of Folk Songs from Castilla-La Mancha

Vigüela – A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition (ARC Music, 2018)

A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition is an extensive collection of folk songs from the Castilla-La Mancha region in central Spain. The songs were assembled by Vigüela, a group of multi-instrumentalists, singers and folk music researchers who are based in a town called El Carpio de Tajo, in Toledo province.

The massive project is featured in a 2-CD set. The songs include diverse traditional music styles from Castilla-La Mancha and nearby regions like jota, alborada, fandango, Christmas songs, seguidilla, ronda, wedding songs and more. These songs came from village elders, Don Manuel García Matos and Alan Lomax, and various other sources.

The four artists use a wide-range of folk music instruments, including the guitarro manchego (a small guitar), lutes, frame drums, zambomba (friction drum); and kitchen utensils used as percussion such as jars, bottles, mortar and frying pans.

Vigüela includes Carmen Torres Delgado on vocals, castanets, tambourines, mortars, cauldron, cane, clapping, and triangle; María del Rosario Nieto Palomo on vocals, mortars, frying pan, tambourines, clapping; Juan Antonio Torres Delgado on vocals, rebec, guitar, zambomba, frame drum, mortars, bottle, triangle, jar; Luis García Valera on vocals, guitar, guitarro manchego, lutes, tambourines, mortar, triangle; Javier Gómez García on vocals, lutes, guitarro manchego, guitar, castanets and tambourines; and Eduardo Gómez-Olmedo Moreno on vocals, guitar and lutes.

The liner notes are in Spanish and English and describe each song. Lyrics are available as a download.

A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition is an extraordinary collection of traditional songs from inland Spain that reflect the customs of villagers and farmers during celebrations, religious traditions and other activities.

Buy A Tiempo Real – A New Take on Spanish Tradition

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Madridfolk Musical Festival Announces 2018 Program

Madridfolk 2018

Madridfolk 2018, a festival of Spanish contemporary folk music, will take place on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16, 2018 at Circulo de Bellas Artes (CBA) in Madrid. The festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary with “an eye on the future, enjoying the present and not forgetting our past,” said Manuel Segovia, Director of MadridFolk.

Festival Program

Saturday, September 15
12:00 to 13:30
Dance Class Neofolk – Raquel Ruiz
Price: € 5 (free, if you show the ticket to the Hispania Tribal concert)

8:30 p.m. Concert
Eliseo Parra Band & Ibérica De Danza
Tribal Hispania
Price: €15, CBA member: €12
A retrospective of the origins of the Festival with Eliseo Parra Band, on Saturday the 15th, with the Hispania Tribal concert. He will be accompanied by Ibérica de Danza, a company that is also celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Sunday, September 16

12:00. Didactic Concert and Projection
Joaquín Sánchez (Vibra-tó) & Uninstrumented
Price: €10 CBA member: €8
Do we know how the things we throw in the trash sound? In this educational concert for all audiences, Joaquín Sánchez (Vibra-tó) will show that music can be made with the most amazing objects. It’s the Landfill Folklore! And they will also project the short film Desinstrumentados. The magic of unusual instruments.
Joaquín Sánchez goes deeper into the surprising world of rare instruments through unusual artists who, beyond creating original and fun proposals, defending alternative paths, creativity, values ​​and musical magic.
Uninstrumented, the magic of unusual instruments

Aljibe

7:30 p.m. Concert
Aljibe
Water. Traditional music of the Tagus basin
Disc-book presentation
Price: € 15 CBA member: € 12
The group Aljibe, based in Guadalajara, will present their latest work, the album and book with a very suggestive name, Agua.
This project aims to unite, around the Tagus River, “traditional music, its history, its traditions and legends forming an authentic travel guide and developing a journey that leads from its source in the Sierra de Albarracín, to its mouth in Lisbon” .

Circulo de Bellas Artes
Calle de Alcalá, 42 – Madrid

More at www.circulobellasartes.com

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Interview with Spanish Folk Music Band Aljibe about Agua, the Music of the Tagus River Basin

Spanish folk music band Aljibe has released a remarkable album titled Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la cuenca del Tajo (Water, the Music of the Tagus River Basin) that consists of an audio CD and a 144-page book. Aljibe has 33 years of experience in the Spanish traditional music scene.

The project highlights the value of the traditions that have developed around the Tagus (Tajo in Spanish), the most extensive river in the Iberian Peninsula. Aguat is a collective work that praises all that the Tagus River has contributed from different points of view: historical, artistic, literary, anthropological, musical.

 


Aljibe – Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo

 

Aljibe uses a combination of traditional Spanish musical instruments like the guitar and zanfona (hurdy gurdy) as well other instruments from other traditions. Regional instruments used by the band include the guitarro manchego, a small guitar from the La Mancha region of Spain; pito castellano, a high pitched Castilian flute; and the pandero cuadrado, a square frame drum from western Spain.

The lineup on Agua includes Teresa García Sierra on vocals, violin and nyckelharpa; Manuel Marcos Bardera on vocals, zanfona and keyboards; Luis Ramón Martín-Fuentes Palacios on guitar, guitarro manchego and Spanish lute; Domingo Martínez Martínez on acoustic and electric guitars and bouzouki; Luis Miguel Novas Morera on flute, pito castellano and clarinet; Pablo Rodríguez-Tembleco Guilabert on drums; Juan Rodríguez-Tembleco Yepes on vocals, pandero cuadrado, bottle and accordion; and José Manuel Rodríguez-Tembleco Yepes on bass, frying pan, guiro, horn and vocals.

 

Manuel Marcos Bardera

 

Teresa García Sierra – Photo by Paco Gómez

 

Guests musicians Benito Cabrera on timple (small guitar from the Canary Islands); Eliseo Parra on vocals and percussion; Miguel Afonso on accordion; Jamal el Auraoui on darbuka, bendir and karkebs;  Juan Manuel Sayán on palmas (flamenco handclap percussion), castanets; and Spain-based Argentine tango ensemble La Porteña Tango Trío: Alejandro Picciano on electric guitar, Federico Peuvrel on piano, and Matías Picciano on bandoneon.

The book features essays about the Tagus from writers José Luis Sampedro and Olga Lucas; history and legend by Almudena Cencerrado; nature and poetry by Joaquín Araújo; and the current state of the Tagus with the narration of José Ángel Gracía-Redondo.

Interview with Manuel Marcos Bardera:

How did the project of making a book and album about the music of the Tagus River Basin come about?

When we speak of traditional or roots music we usually limit it to that belonging to a country or a place, but we forget that the music moved with the people, being a common heritage of large areas. We think that the rivers and their valleys have always been the easiest roads for this communication, and we came up with the idea of ​​looking for and rescuing melodies along the basin of this great river that runs through Spain and Portugal.

 

Aljibe

 

How long did the development period last, from the idea to the final product?

Seven years have passed since our ninth album “Enea,”  and since then we  started working on new songs but it was approximately four years ago when we defined the idea that it was a work framed in the Tagus River and released in the form of a CD-book.

Who contributed to the 144-page book as writers?

There was much to tell, because the Tagus has seen through its shores the extensive history of the Iberian Peninsula and because the longest river in Spain at present is subject to serious problems like lack of water and pollution. That’s why we contacted the writer Olga Lucas, who gave us an unpublished text by the writer and philosopher José Luis Sampedro, author of the well-known bestseller “El río que nos lleva” (The river that takes us).

The naturalist Joaquín Araújo also collaborated. He was recognized with the Global 500 prize granted by the UN to the people who have done the most for the defense of the environment on the planet.

We also have texts by Almudena Cencerrado, president of the Association of Professional Tourism Guides of Spain and José Ángel García-Redondo, forestry engineer and member of the Tajo Research Group of the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

 

Casa Diamantista in Toledo 1922. The house was owned in the 1800s by Don José Navarro, jeweler and royal crown maker. Currently, it’s used as a hotel

 

The book has many fascinating historical photos. How did you get the material?

The truth is that it took a long time to contact so many friends who have collaborated in this project. Starting with Agustín Tomico, who provided us with many photos of the whole riverbed and through the Doce Calles publishing house, we had to look for the first historical photos of Talavera de la Reina thanks to Miguel Méndez-Cabezas, or old photos of Jean Laurent or by Otto Wunderlich, facilitated by Eduardo Sánchez Butragueño.

In terms of the photos of Aranjuez we mainly have the photos of Guirao Girada from the Doce Calles archive and vintage engravings from the Museo del Prado.

The book is very beautiful, with a hard cover. How was the project financed?

Like all Aljibe projects, it started being self-financed by the group itself. However, we called on many doors of institutions because we thought it was a beautiful and exciting project to defend the river through music and culture.

Fortunately, several institutions responded affirmatively and have supported us with the purchase of copies, facilitating the dissemination of the project. These institutions are the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, the Diputación de Toledo and the municipalities of Aranjuez, Yepes, Madridejos, Chinchón and Toledo as well as private companies such as Anber-Fenienergía and El Rana Verde.

 

View of the Tagus from the castle in Monfragüe in the province of Cáceres.

 

Regarding the music, the Tagus basin includes several regions. How was the investigation process?

Well, through many sources, starting with a review of the songs that we recorded ourselves from villagers in the area, as well as reviewing other recordings in different archives, such as those made in Spain in the 50s of the last century by Allan Lomax or those of Kurt Schindler, Manuel García Matos and José Manuel Fraile Gil.

And how were the final songs chosen?

The songs have been chosen mainly for their musicality, their instrumentation and for their relationship with work or work related to the river, as well as geographically represent all the provinces and countries of the basin. So we can find the rogativas (prayers) of Valdelaguna, which is still sung in that town in Madrid to ask for rain in the dry season, or the Gancheros de Aranjuez, that tell us about the work of the men who came with the trunks down the river from the sierras of Guadalajara and Cuenca until arriving to Aranjuez.

We also remember the different cultures that inhabited our country with the inclusion of a Sephardic song, “Me dice la gente,” and of another song, “Tikchbila,” which talks about the expulsion of the Moriscos and that is still sung throughout the Maghreb.

 

The gancheros (river log drivers) of Aranjuez in 1900

 

A reenacting of the gancheros in 2016

 

 

What’s the situation of the traditional music of the Tagus basin?

Traditional music is gradually being claimed not only by veteran groups such as Aljibe but also by new groups that are coming up.

 

Tagus River, La Escaruela waterfall in Zaorejas, Guadalajara

 

What are the current environmental threats that the Tagus River is experiencing?

The main one, without a doubt, is the existence of the Tajo-Segura transfer that collects the water in the marshes of the headwaters of the river and, through its capture in the Bolarque reservoir, carries the water 300 kilometers away to the Segura River.

Up to 650 cubic meters per year can be extracted from the Tagus River, which logically means that the river lacks a large part of its natural flow with the damage that this causes to its flora and fauna. Additionally, it is also under pressure from the waters , better or worse filtered, poured into the Tagus by the  more than 10,000,000 people throughout its watershed and countless industries, including mines, nuclear power plants or paper mills.

 

Tagus River, Poveda waterfall in Guadalajara

 

How has Aljibe’s sound evolved since its inception?

We are now 33 years old and logically it would not make sense to sound like in our beginnings where the instrumentation was based on guitar, lute, bandurria and vocals. Little by little some musicians left the group and others joined. At the moment, Aljibe is made up of eight musicians from different origins as instrumentalists but with the bond of love for roots music.

In addition to using Spanish instruments, you also use the Greek bouzouki and the jembe of West Africa. What other instruments do you use or would like to use?

As we do not consider ourselves a “purist” group of research and exact interpretation of the music of our ancestors but a group that recreates these songs that allows us total freedom at the time of the instrumentation. That is why we combine traditional Spanish instruments such as the Spanish pito, the three-hole flute, the hurdy-gurdy, the guitar, the lute, the square tambourine … with others such as the bendir, the tar, the karkebs, the jembe, the ney, the bouzouki or the Swedish nyckelharpa.

Much of what is broadcast on the radio, internet and movies is pop and hip hop. How do you divulge your music?

Thanks to the publisher of the CD-book we have managed to spread the album better because they have a communication department that has allowed us to reach more radio and television stations. On the other hand we are also visible through the main virtual stores such as spotify, itunes, amazon prime music …

Is there any effort on your part to make folk or traditional music known to children and young people?

Most of the members of the group are music teachers in primary and secondary schools, which is why we have always spread this music among our students, as well as holding concert conferences about traditional instruments and music. In addition, even Aljibe’s first album was a collective work on Traditional Children’s Songs of Madrid.

If you could gather musicians or musical groups to collaborate, who would you call?

Well, we have been lucky enough to call them and they have come, because in Agua nine excellent musicians collaborate, starting with the great singer and percussionist Eliseo Parra, or the best timple player in the world, Benito Cabrera, or the accordionist Miguel Afonso, in addition to the three members of the prestigious group La Porteña Tango: Alejandro Picciano, Matías Picciano and Federico Peuvrel. Jamal el Auraoui, Josemi García and Juan Manuel Sayans have also helped us with the Arabic and Spanish percussion.

Are you preparing any new project?

At Aljibe we are always thinking about new topics for new projects, but before we expect this “Water” to flow for a long time.

Discography:

Temas Infantiles Tradicionales de la Comunidad de Madrid (Saga, 1987)
Surco arriba, surco abajo (Saga, 1987)
Felices Nusotros (Tecnosaga, 1989)
Gañanes, gancheros y otras faenas (Several Records, 1991)
La Marca del Oricuerno (Several Records, 1997)
El Motín de Aranjuez (Several Records, 1998)
Penas y Alegrías (Sonifolk, 2002)
Al lado del Mediodía (Galileo, 2002)
Enea (self-released, 2011)
Agua. Músicas Tradicionales de la cuenca del Tajo (Doce Calles. 2018

More about Aljibe: www.aljibefolk.org

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The Captivating Folk Music of the Tagus River Basin

Aljibe – Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo (Aljibe, 2018)

Innovative Spanish folk music band Aljibe has released a new album titled Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo. The CD comes along with a beautifully-packaged 144-page hard cover book. The set focuses on the traditional folk music of the Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) River basin. The Tagus is the lengthiest river in the Iberian Peninsula.

On Agua, Aljibe delivers lively traditional songs that are recreated using a mix of local and regional instruments together with instruments incorporated from other traditions. The arrangements are respectful to tradition and updated foro modern times.

The album begins with a spoken word introduction by Richard del Olmo based on a text by Góngora, one of Spain’s most famous writers from the late 1500s and early 1600s. The song selection includes: “Mazurca de Albarracin”, a September mazurka “tight dance” from the town of Albarracin in Teruel province; “La peregrina, a pilgrim song from Villaconejos de Trabaque in Cuenca“; and “Mar de Espigas” a harvest song from La Frontera in Cuenca.

Other songs include “Jotas de Guadalajara” from Guadalajara province, the jota is a very popular dance widely extended throughout Spain; “Rogativas de Valdelaguna,” a water prayer from the town of Valdelaguna in the Madrid region; “Gancheros,” a song about the men who transported logs from the Cuenca mountains on the Tagus river to the mills in Aranjuez (Madrid region); “Me ice la gente,” a Sephardic song from Toledo (Spain) and Rhodes (Greece); and “Tickchbila,” a wine test song to demonstrate conversion to Christianity from Toledo and Morocco.

The rest of the album includes “Llámale majo al toro,” a bullfighting and bull run song that combines versions from Lagartera in Toledo province and Candedela and Pedro Bernardo in Avila province; “Quita y pon” from Montehermoso and Plasencia in Cáceres; “Qué linda falúa,” a Portuguese children’s song about the boat men that connected both sides of the Tagus river mouth; and “Barco Negro,” a Brazilian song that became popular in Portugal.

 

 

The album ends with spoken word by Mércedes Cepeda who recites a poem by famed writer Garcilaso de la Vega, from the 1500s.

The lineup on the album includes Teresa García Sierra on vocals and violin; Manuel Marcos Bardera on vocals and keyboards; Luis Ramón Martín-Fuentes Palacios on guitar and Spanish lute; Domingo Martínez Martínez on guitars and bouzouki; Luis Miguel Novas Morera on flute and clarinet; Pablo Rodríguez-Tembleco Guilabert on drums; Juan Rodríguez-Tembleco Yepes on vocals and accordion; and José Manuel Rodríguez-Tembleco Yepes on bass and vocals.

The book includes descriptions of the songs, photos of the artists and insightful essays and rare, vintage photos describing the history and wildlife of the region.

Agua, Músicas tradicionales de la Cuenca del Tajo is masterful set that brings together the most beautiful melodies from the Tagus basin along with literature and photography.

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La Danza de Las Semillas, Best World Music Album in May 2018

La Danza de Las Semillas by Spanish folk music innovators El Naán is the number one album in May 2018 at the Transglobal World Music Chart.

On La Danza de Las Semillas, the seven multi-instrumentalists perform a remarkable intermingling of contemporary Spanish folk music, Afro-Cuban chants and rhythms, folk-rock, and beyond.

The rest of the list this month includes:

2. Monsieur Doumani – Angathin (Monsieur Doumani)
3. Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Soar (Bendigedig)
4. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Black Times (Strut)
5. Djénéba & Fousco – Kayeba Khasso (Lusafrica)
6. Femi Kuti – One People One World (Knitting Factory)
7. Koum Tara – Koum Tara (Obradek)
8. Sara Tavares – Fitxadu (Sony Music Portugal)
9. Gabacho Maroc – Tawassol (10h10 / Cristal)
10. Kora Jazz Trio – Part IV (Cristal)

11. Toko Telo – Diavola – Anio
12. Eva Salina & Peter Stan – Sudbina: A Portrait of Vida Pavlović – Vogiton
13. Sonido Gallo Negro – Mambo Cósmico – Glitterbeat
14. Samurai Accordion – Te – Visage Music
15. V.A. – I’m Not Here to Hunt Rabbits – Piranha
16. Okra Playground – Ääneni Yli Vesien – Nordic Notes
17. Orquesta Akokán – Orquesta Akokán – Daptone
18. Goran Bregović – Three Letters from Sarajevo, Opus 1 – Decca / Wrasse
19. Sopa de Pedra – Ao Longe Já Se Ouvia – Turbina
20. Son Palenque – Kutu Prieta pa Saranguiá – Palenque

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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.

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El Naán: Spanish Folk Sensation

El Naán ‎– La Danza de Las Semillas

El Naán ‎– La Danza de Las Semillas (El Naán, 2017)

La Danza de Las Semillas (Dance of the Seeds) is the new crowdfunded album by Spanish band El Naán. The ensemble got together in 2009 inspired by the traditional music of the Iberian Peninsula as well as Cuban music and other global influences. El Naán is based in the Cerrato region of Palencia province, a depopulated area in northern Spain.

On La Danza de Las Semillas, the seven musicians deliver a superb mix of contemporary Spanish folk harvest songs and lullabies, Afro-Cuban chants and rhythms, folk-rock, and more.

El Naán uses a wide range of musical instruments, incorporating entrancing Spanish frame drums, numerous unconventional percussion instruments from various musical traditions, mesmerizing shepherd flutes, sound effects of wolves and storms, bouzouki, whistling, saxophones, electric guitar, and expressive male and female lead vocals and choruses. The band uses modern musical arrangements that borrow from jazz, world music and rock influenced by groundbreaking Spanish folk music artist Eliseo Parra.

The lineup includes Carlos Herrero on lead vocals, bouzouki, Cuban tres, and pandero (Spanish frame drum); César Díez on bass; Adal Pumarabín on drums and percussion; Javier Medíavilla on electric guitar and backing vocals; Héctor Castrillejo on flutes, backing vocals, percussion; César Tejero on alto, tenor and soprano saxophone; and María Alba on lead and backing vocals, percussion. Guest: Jorge Arribas on accordion.

Buy La Danza de Las Semillas

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