Various Spanish artists
Cantes Del Pueblo - Música Tradicional Española (Galileo-Sonifolk, Spain)
The forms of social interaction that had been the environment of Spain's vivid patchwork of strong regional musical traditions were diminishing. Children were no longer hanging out in the street with nothing better to do than pick up the old songs from the elders, but had moved indoors to the TV. People were no longer walking or riding on horseback to romerias - festive picnics - singing on the journey, but driving isolated in their cars with the radio blaring, and wondering when they got there where the old spirit and music had gone.
The late Pedro Vaquero Sanchez once told me, perhaps only half in jest, he'd almost contemplated strewing tyre-puncturing tacks on the road.
Instead, beginning in the late 1970s, he set out to tape-record what he could of the music and attempt to in some way both to show its value to the wider world and, essentially, to help it persist by making the recordings available back home in the villages. So it was that in roadside bars and bus stations around Spain one would find sales racks of very inexpensive cassettes of traditional music, the series "Cantes Del Pueblo", on the label Vaquero set up initially for that purpose, Sonifolk.
A few of these recordings were also released as LPs, and some are now appearing on CD, but many are still only on cassette. Cantes Del Pueblo is a sampler drawn from the whole collection (plus the occasional item from elsewhere in Sonifolk's catalogue), a window on some of the variety and energy of traditional musics in Spain in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The nineteen tracks, largely featuring groups of musicians, come from many regions of Spain from Cádiz to Catalunya to La Coruña, tabor pipe, dulzaina, gaita, laud, guitar, accordeon with clattering, scraping, grunting and booming percussion, and robust voices rich with character and devoid of pretension - people singing, not recording artistes.
Compiled by his widow Mercedes Santamaria, the album is also a memorial to a fine, thoughtful and erudite man. The last track, 83 year old Socorro Ramirez singing one of the fiesta songs of Vaquero's family home village of Candeleda in the beautiful Sierra de Gredos, he recorded just a few months before his untimely death in 1997. - Andrew Cronshaw, 2000 fRoots
1 Piedralaves (Avila): Ronda a la virgen
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