Terregada: Cinc Veus i un Repertori Sagnant
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Psàlite, Lídia Pujol & Miquel Gil
Terregada: Cinc Veus i un Repertori Sagnant
Temps Record, Spain (www.tempsrecord.com)

cd cover A powerful sense of regional identity persists widely in Spain, commonly expressed through music and, in more general terms, the deliberate cultivation of provincial cultural and linguistic independence. Straddling the French-Spanish border, Catalonia is one of the country's lesser know musical regions, although its polyphonic vocal traditions have an affinity with the more familiar melismatic aesthetics of singers from the Basque region and northwest Italy. Catalonian poetics reflect the influence of medieval troubadours, one of whose most common metric schemes involved the couplet (copla), with four-line rhymed stanzas typically followed by a refrain (estribillo). Quite distinct from the Arabic roots of cante jondo (flamenco), this common underlying structure, as in Catalonia, runs through the ballad (romance) styles, lyric songs and folk dance tunes encountered widely in the Iberian peninsula.

Terregada combines the experimental talents of Catalonia's string trio Ps�lite and L�dia Pujol, one of the region's leading vocal interpreters. They are joined by Miquel Gil, whose Valencia origins, flamenco roots, and experiments with pan-Mediterranean genres condition his strong identification with Catalan folk song. With Gil and Pujol on lead vocals and percussion, backed by Ps�lite's vocal chorus and instrumental array (flutes, guitar, rebec, mandola, guimbri, violin, viola, cello, and acoustic and electric bass), this project resituates the traditional Catalan songbook in a singular contemporary setting. The vocal palette is moody, lyrical and brightly articulated, and the singers' distinct registers interweave for some arresting results. Given the relative dearth of published material in English and Spanish on Catalonian music, it's only unfortunate that those wanting to learn more about this uncommon music have only the Catalan album notes and lyrics at hand. But that's no reason to shy away from the engaging performance traditions this recording showcases. - Michael Stone

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