THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN™-Music of Galicia




by Elena Greco

November 10, 2015

When people think of Spain, they usually think of the Andalusian or Catalan cultures. But Spain is so much more! For example, Galicia is an autonomous community that lies at the far northwest corner of Spain, bordering Portugal. Although modern, it has many ancient architectural sites and a beautiful, almost austere landscape. Owing to what many believe to be their Celtic roots, Galicians still play bagpipes, wear clogs and do step dances! They speak both the Galician and Spanish languages.

Galician bagpipers-from Wikipedia

“The oldest and best-known form of Galician music is the “alalá,” a form of chanting that has been associated with Galician nationalism. They share characteristics with Celtic nations as well as Castilian, German, Arab and other Mediterranean-area peoples. Their origin is shrouded in mystery, with some scholars asserting Gregorian chants as a major source, while others fancily point to Greek or Phoenician rowing songs called “alelohuías.” “Alalás” are arhythmic, and based on a single, short theme that repeats the melody, separated by instrumental bagpipes or a cappella interludes. Melodies are based on a continuous drone and are almost always diatonic. Over time, alalás have adapted to include choral polyphony which has added harmony and rhythms (most typically in 2/4 or 3/4 time) to the tradition. A distinct feature of alalás is that the first cadence is also the last. They end in an enlarged coda that fades into a sustained and undefined sound. In contrast to the typically slow alalá there are also swift songs called pandeirada.” (from Wikipedia)

Galician horses

Musical Examples

Milladoiro – Alalá das Mariñas (a beautiful alalá)

Luar na Lubre – Canteixere (with landscape)

Muiñeira de Sarandona (Galician traditional folk dance)

Muiñeira de Chantada by Arany Zoltán (with Galician scenes)



What is it about Spanish music that lets you know instantly that what you’re hearing is Spanish? The Flavor of Spain explores the exotic cultural influences that create that unique sound. Deep in the lush, passionate and thrilling sound of this music are influences of the Moorish, Greek, Turkish, Italian, French, Sephardic and Flamenco cultures, and you will hear all of these elements in the music of The Flavor of Spain concert series.

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ELENA GRECO MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTIONS™ (EGMP) is sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a 501(c)3 non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of EGMP are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. You can be a part of EGMP, helping us create innovative shows that entertain, educate and enliven and bring our unique entertainment to the community by clicking here:


For more information, please email Elena Greco.
For more information about The Flavor of Spain™ concert series, click here:  The Flavor of Spain™.

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