Each week, we offer new music from around the world with Tony Hillier, one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. Tony’s informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/ .
We travel to north-western Spain in this episode, to the region known as Galicia. The wind and rain sweep in off the Atlantic Ocean, and the music is very much influenced by Portugese and Celtic styles and instruments.
The bagpipes are heard here – in fact, it’s thought there are more bagpipes in Galicia than in Scotland!
Susana Seivane is a bagpipe virtuoso, born in 1976 into a family of renowned bagpipe players and makers. Susana blends traditional Galician styles with more modern influences. We hear her play Xoanina, a piece available on the compilation CD Cantigas de Mulleres.
The Celtic harp is also heard in the music of Galica, and the region’s leading exponent is Rodrigo Romani. It’s thought the Celtic harp came to Galicia in the 1970s, and Rodrigo Romani is one of its pioneers. We hear Terra de Melide from his new album As Arpas de Breogán. It’s a tribute to Celtic harp music, featuring traditional Galician pieces and classical, jazz & folk rock compositions.
Over the past 20 years, there’s been a revival in the traditional music of Galicia. And a central figure in that revival is Pancho Alvarez. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist released his first solo album in 1998. We hear Galicia Malicia, from his new album Sonche Atlantico.
Finally this week, a delicious blend of traditional Galician music, samples and electronica from Mercedes Peon. Mercedes is a powerful singer, who plays bagpipes, accordion, guitar and percussion. We hear Deroran, from the compilation CD Cantigas de Mulleres.