Spanish Folk and Flamenco Music

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Tell us about yourself and your music

I studied classical music composition in the Uk with the Open College of Arts and with Chris Lawry. For the past 10 years, I have been living in Spain and enjoying the lively music scene here.
In 2018 I set up Return Trip Project (http://returntrip.org) to record and distribute compositions and modern arrangements inspired by Spanish music. All profits are donated to charities supporting the alleviation of poverty, particularly in South America.
The name Return Trip, Ida y Vuelta in Spanish, refers to musical styles that have their roots in Spain, were developed in Central and South America, and then “returned home” to Spain in modified form. An example of Ida y Vuelta is the Rumba, which originated in Cuba as a fusion of Spanish and African (slave) music, was subsequently reintroduced back to Spain as a flamenco style, and since the 1970s has evolved into the dominant type of contemporary Spanish popular music.

Talk to us more about your latest release

My first EP, Siete Cantos Españoles / Seven Spanish Songs, is due to be released this month.
This collection of songs is inspired by Spanish folk and flamenco music. Each song is representative of a different style or genre, including dances, romances (storytelling), work and religious songs.
Song collections based on Spanish traditional music were very popular in the early part of the 20th century. These collections were written by classical composers and were usually arranged for solo voice and piano. My song collection has piano or guitar accompaniment too, but I have also used a range of other instruments such as clarinet, saxophone, marimba, acoustic bass, and strings. Many of the songs have backing vocals and percussion.
In addition to releasing the EP on streaming services and on CD, I will also be publishing the full score of each song arranged for voice and piano, including English translations of the Spanish lyrics.

What inspired you to write this release?

Spain has a long history of folk music dating back to the Middle Ages; a tradition that is still very much alive today. Spain has a particularly rich cultural heritage due to the many different types of people who have lived here over the centuries, which has resulted in a real melting pot of music styles.   Everyone knows flamenco, but I want to give people the opportunity to hear modern interpretations of a much wider range of traditional Spanish folk music.

Describe the writing and recording process

This album has taken two years to complete. The first year was spent researching, learning to play flamenco guitar, percussion (Cajon) and clapping (Palmas), and writing and recording sketches for each song. In the second year, I re-wrote the songs for multiple instruments and then arranged for each track to be recorded by session musicians, using online studios.     It has been wonderful working with such talented musicians from the US, Europe, and South America.  The album is a real team effort.

Any plans to release a video?

As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?

The type of music that I am writing is different from most contemporary Spanish music. It represents a fusion of traditional songs together with contemporary harmonies and rhythms.  The recordings are by musicians from many different backgrounds, from classical music to pop, rock, and jazz.

Who have you been listening to lately?

While I was working on the album I was listening to a lot of traditional Spanish music, not only popular artists like Paco de Lucía, Gypsy Kings and Radio Tarifa but also classical music by composers such as Manuel De Falla, Enrique Granados, and Joaquín Turina. Lately, I have been searching out other artists who are writing and recording traditional music with a modern take. I have been particularly impressed by the Malian artist Fatoumata Diawara and the Catalan singer/songwriter Rosalía.

Who are your biggest influences?

I  have dedicated the album to Felipe Pedrell Sabaté (1841 – 1922), who was a Spanish composer, teacher, guitarist, and musicologist.  Pedrell is regarded as the founding father of modern Spanish classical music.  He was a passionate collector of traditional folk songs and an advocate of their use by contemporary composers. I am also influenced by Arab music, which is a very important component of Spanish music because the Moors occupied Spain for around 800 years.

Tell us about your passions

I am fortunate to be living in Andalucía, a  large province in southern Spain that has retained many of its traditions.  Music is an important aspect of  Spanish life, not only the flamenco performances which can be heard in the many Peñas (clubs), but also Sevillana dancing at the ferias held in every town, usually in the spring. Traditional music can still be heard at the many religious festivals that occur throughout the year.

What else is happening next in your world?

I have just started work on my next music project.  This one will be a full-length instrumental album of Spanish and South American inspired music which I hope to complete next year.

 

 

Thanks for an awesome interview, Return Trip Project

 

 

Connect with Return Trip Project

Website: http://returntrip.orgFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/returntripprojectYoutube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYkozQnI8yjRjugRzlpmuAASoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/martin-richardson-music/sets/return-trip-april-2020-siete-cantos-espanoles-seven-spanish-songs-ep/s-U8b1H

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