Alan Lomax

The Spanish Recordings: Aragon and Valencia

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Alan Lomax was lucky in his visit to Spain in 1952. He caught the regions at a time when the past was still carefully preserved, before the 20th century had infiltrated, if you like. Nowhere did that seem to be more the case than in Aragon and Valencia in the north of the country. He was able to capture ronda songs, quinto songs, and, of course, the jotas which were the staple of Aragonese folk culture, whether from Jesus Gracia Tenas, a skilled and stunning singer who'd won many jota competitions, or "No Puedo Pasar el Ebro," whose two vocalists remain unidentified. There are work songs for plowing, picking olives, and shepherding, and a fantastic bolero, "Bolero de Caspe." And the jota genre wouldn't be complete without a typical "song dueling jota," in this case, "Jotas De Picadillo," which pits the remarkable Maria Pilar de las Hiras against Antonio Royo. There are similarities to the jota in Valencia, but also their own work songs for field labor, and the local albaes, spontaneous songs, which actually have a formalized structure, as on "Evaristo, Evaristet." All in all, it's not so much a snapshot of a place and time, but opening the door for a peek into a past which has since largely disappeared.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:22
2
2:33
3
feat: Rafael Mateo
1:11
4
2:56
5
0:53
6
1:56
7
1:22
8
0:39
9
0:49
10
0:57
11
0:57
12
1:02
13
1:31
14
1:14
15
2:13
16
2:09
17
2:15
18
1:29
19
1:42
20
2:04
21
4:46
22
5:27
23
2:25
24
0:52
25
3:15
26
1:39
27
1:53
28
2:58
29
2:44
30
3:11
31
2:23
32
3:43
blue highlight denotes track pick