early and traditional musicFriday morning. A group of women knock on the door of every village house to ask for grain. They will bring it to the mill, and with the flour from the grain they will bake the bread and the cakes which will be offered to the saint at the Sunday procession. Women of all ages perform the rituals, singing while accompanying themselves with different percussion instruments.

The rich orally transmitted traditional music of fertility rituals and paraliturgical practices observed in the Iberian Peninsula prior to the arrival of the Catholic Church is the repertoire chosen for these programs. One such ritual, featured in Devota Fecunditas, is Las Marzas: so named since March was the first month of the Roman lunar calendar. Other pieces used for pilgrimages, to accompany the harvest, or as lullabies and love songs frame both programs.

The Cantigas de St. Maria frames these traditional pieces. compiled by the Wise King Alfonso X in the 13th Century, the Cantigas were chosen because of the rhythmic, melodic, thematic, and formal similarities with traditional Spanish music.

The final cantigas transcribed in the Codex Princeps at El Escorial are the focus of Als Festas do Anno. These cantigas were sung at festivals and holy days throughout the year: the Epiphany, the Annunciation, the Ascension, the Assumption and the Festival of the Crosses held in May. Taken as a whole, the programs offer a line of continuity where old and new melodies blend: modern and middle age, never separated, still united.


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CANTADERAS medieval and traditional music