Fox Dreams

Tunes for a Monday Morning

We're in Spain today,  with three groups who interpret Ibérica's oldest musical traditions in wonderful ways...

Above, "María Ramo de Palma / La Zorra" and "El Vapor" by Coetus, from Barcelona, filmed last year for the Concert Privats series. This Spanish percussion orchestra specializes in instruments that are "little or not known at all, which over time have been used to accompany songs, ballads, processions, festivals and dances in the Iberian Peninsula (tambourines, rods, jars, mortars, pans, drums, kettledrums, rustic drums, etc.), creating a proprietary and innovative language inspired by traditional rhythms and dialogues with the voice."

Below, "La cantiga del fuego," a Sephardic song performed by Ana Alcaide and her band in Huesca (in the north-east of the country). Alcaide is a musican, composer, and music historian from Madrid, now based in Toledo. FolkWorld describes her work as "a fusion between the Nordic sonorities of the nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed fiddle), the Sephardic (Spanish-Jewish) music, and the traditional sounds from several places around the Mediterranean Sea." For more information, there's a good interview with Alcaide here.

And third, on a somewhat different note:

"Nueva vida" by Ojos de Brujo, from Barcelona, whose thoroughly addictive music combines flamenco and gyspy jazz with hiphop. The last time they appeared on this blog was back in 2010, and that's way too long.


Also of interest, the new release "Bella Ciao" by the band Barbez - a fairly stunning album based on music of the Roman Jewish community and the Italian Resistance...

Oh, and the wonderful Galician group Milladoiro - I imagine you're familiar with them, but just in case:

I know Milladoiro but not Barbez. Thank you!

Sorry, one more (each video inspired a separate recollection :) - my current favorite Nu Flamenco act, D'Callaos

Misswd the morning, but listened at 11PM and got caught for at least an hour after the first tune following Coetas ecstatically to Brasil--, just after midnight, swooned to Alcaid's "La cantiga del fuegos" hypnotic offering. lastly, Ojos de Brujo had me up and dancing (albeit on three legs since I'm still dependent on my cane). Now Monday has morphed to Tuesday, and the references that others suggested will have to wait till the morning. What a JOYOUS interlude! Ola Terri!!

In Coetus's offerings, one can certainly see the north African/Moorish influence, not only in the melodic elements, but also in the instruments such as the frame drums, the dulcimer like instrument, and in the rhythmic structure. The Sephardic musical tradition comes out of the same area (Middle East) as the Moorish/Muslim conquerors of Spain, and shares many elements. One sees also elements that went on to contribute to Klezmer. As for the nyckelharpa, there were Vikings in Spain, too.

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