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The Spanish Recordings: Mallorca: The Balearic Islands

Alan Lomax

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Album Review

Rounder's documentation of the Alan Lomax collection of field recordings made in the middle of the 20th century is attenuated here by this set of songs, dances, and instrumentals made during the Franco regime in Mallorca in the Balearic Islands. Over a six-month period in 1952, Lomax taped gloses, agricultural and work songs, cycle songs to mark occasions in life and in the calendar year, as well as boleros, madeixas, copeos, and more. What is so remarkable is that a number of cuts here — 24 of 46 — have never been released before now, including some of the truly moving solo pieces such as "En Acabar de Segar" (When I Finish Reaping) by Catalina Mateu and "M'Ho Deien I No Ho Creia" (They Told Me and I Didn't Believe It) by Pere Ferragut Lano, both recorded in July of 1952. These tough, mournful solo tunes, loaded with Spanish soul and elegance, are interspersed with work songs, lullabies, choral pieces, and dances throughout the collection. Lomax was not deeply versed in Spanish folklore at the time, and attended an "official conference" directed by former Nazi refugee Marius Schneider, who had headed the Berlin Folk Song Archive under Hitler — remember, this was Francisco Franco's time period, the era and country in which Opus Dei had been founded. Lomax roamed the countryside — often harassed by the police — collecting songs, stories, and other pieces of folklore. This collection, one of a number of volumes from Spain, is a treasure trove of beautiful performances with amazing sound for the time period and conditions.

Biography

Born: 15 January 1915 in Austin, TX

Genre: World

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Few figures deserve greater credit for the preservation of America's folk music traditions than Alan Lomax. Scouring the backroads, honky tonks, and work camps of the Deep South, he unearthed a treasure trove of songs and singers, documenting the music of the common man for future generations to discover; through Lomax's pioneering efforts, cultural traditions ranging from the Delta blues to Appalachian folk to field hollers continue to live on, with his invaluable recordings offering a compelling...
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The Spanish Recordings: Mallorca: The Balearic Islands, Alan Lomax
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