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Asturian Vocal Music

 
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1725
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:25 am    Post subject: Asturian Vocal Music Reply with quote

There is a wonderful article on tonada and other forms of Asturian vocal music at http://www.ismael.org/asturianada/01.htm. The article is quite lengthy, but is well worth reading. It is written in Asturian, but--in my opinion--can be understood by anyone who reads castellano reasonably well.

If you want to purchase Asturian music, the best source I have found is Asturshop.com. You can choose English, asturianu or castellano as your language for the website. Not all of the product descriptions are available in English, however.

Bob Martinez
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JuanLeon
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Joined: 04 Jun 2003
Posts: 24
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob, you find the most amazing sites. Thank you.

As is my pattern, I will now proceed to tell you nothing, but to tell it with all the nostalgy that usually compels me to write these meandering responses.

The author of those articles on the "tonada" suggests that the genre is not evolving because of undue respect for tradition. Little he or she knows! I was in Cuba two years ago. One night I stopped at a place by the road west from Pinar del Río, with nothing to do but watch television and be bombarded by mosquitos flying off the nearby swamp. On TV there was a variety show in which several contestants from several countries competed on a contest of....TONADAS. There were contestants from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico, at least. And, I swear, this was the real tonada. The show was tacky, distasteful. The people dressed up in colors that would make half of Asturias blind. But the tonadas were tonadas, allright.

As far as I could tell, nobody on the screen was aware of the origins, much less overly respectful of tradition. Perhaps the Asturian government ought to send an Alan-Lomax-like team to record the Caribbean tonada before it is merenguized.

Juan
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Sonia Garcia Mandzok



Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 4:07 am    Post subject: Asturian vocal music Reply with quote

When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, my Dad would be out on the back porch "singing." He especially enjoyed doing this when it was raining. Two years ago while visiting Gijon, there was a TV crew doing a live broadcast and a man started to sing just like my Dad used to! I was stunned and overcome with emotion. Little did I know back then that he was singing in the old style of Asturias.

Also, growing up in Donora, Pennsylvania, we had our own Gaitero, Jose Garcia. He would perform at our yearly Spanish picnic and many a time I would watch and listen to him play the Gaita in front of his house.
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1725
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 4:48 am    Post subject: Tonadas Reply with quote

I invite our Asturian friends to post a description of tonada to enlighten and educate those of us al otru llau del mar.

How is this style of singing different from others? How did it arise within Asturian culture? How is it viewed by our Asturian cousins today? Can you suggest a website or two that would give your American cousins a sample of this part of Asturian culture?

Abrazos desde New Haven
Abrazus dende New Haven

Bob
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Carlos
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Joined: 18 Oct 2003
Posts: 528
Location: Xixón

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 6:37 am    Post subject: Tonada (Asturian tune) Reply with quote

The one that we might be call in English "Asturian song" is a type of melody that can be listened in a very concrete area of the Iberian Peninsula. First, "Asturian song" does not look like to me the most appropriate name, since there is no the only type of song in Asturies.

The Asturian songs can be individual or collective, in the context of dances, of the work or others as the cradle songs. The type of song to which we are speaking is called "asturianada" out of Asturies, and inside our land "tonada" (without the adjective "Asturian", unless it is a question of a specific work that tries to differentiate it from the melodies of other places).

The original area of the tune is very clearly Asturies, in the geographical plane, though also it can be listened in some regions of the close, such regions as the Ancares of Galicia and León, Fonsagrada's region, in the Galician province of Lugo, the Bierzo from Leon, and (traditionally) the west of Cantabria, though today in the latter region it is spreading and enjoys every time more popularity, in similar form that other manifestations of the traditional Asturian culture, as for example the use of the Asturian bagpipe or the elaboration of cider. That is to say, the region of Cantabria somehow every time assumes more cultural Asturian features. This also explains because in the past this region was not too different, forming a part of the original nucleus of the primitive Kingdom of Asturias (the plural name Asturias derives from the two provinces of the old Principality, Asturias of Oviedo and Asturias of Santillana).

Returning to the tune, which differs to this type of song from others consists principally of two things:

The first thing, a type of interpretation where are frequent the melismae, a class of inflexion of the voice, which it makes many observers think about the flamenco (concretly in the so called "cante jondo"), though this is based only on a slightly held up observation, since there are many more differences.

And another characteristic is the freedom of measurement, since this type of song does not possess a rhythmic regular metrics. That is to say, we might not follow the rhythm throbbing with the foot on the ground or disappointing the fingers on a table.

It is a unique genre in the whole Iberian Peninsula, and this is the reason of which out of Asturias it is called "asturianada".

It is very difficult to establish his origins, but in any case the specialists coincide in indicating these as very remote.

Possibly there has much that to see with the popular music of the former peoples dominated by Rome, which later would derive for cult reelaboration in two types of song: the Gregorian singing and the canticles of the Christian Mozarabic rituals. In these two types of melodies we can appreciate interpretative common features with the Asturian tune, specially the melismas, though the measurement already is regularized.

Adjusting to the musical popular traditional genres, the more similar thing that we can find to the Asturian tune in the European folclore is certain songs of Western Ireland and the Aran Islands, in which, sung in Gaelic and less frequently in English, we can find the same two fundamental characteristics: the free rhythm and the melismas.

It is therefore very possible that we think before a type of song that fixes her roots in the Celtic pre-Roman peoples, perhaps what the Asturian war prisoners were singing while they were crucified by the Romans, since some authors of the epoch mentioned admiring his valor.

Regards. Cool
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pepe buylla



Joined: 01 Jun 2006
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:44 pm    Post subject: Jose Gonzalez "Presi" Reply with quote

I had some 45's that my Grandfather brought back from Asturias featuring Jose Gonzalez "Presi". Does anyone know where you could obtain some CD's of this singer?
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Bob
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Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1725
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one possibility. It would be worth searching the rest of the website too.

http://www.asturshop.com/asturshop/infoprod.asp?idproducto=1383
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4471
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are CDs of Presi still available because I bought something last summer in Oviedo. If I remember correctly, though, there wasn't much selection. Hang onto those 45s!

Today there are only a few "record stores" in Asturias. There's one in the Fontán market in old section of Oviedo and a store in Gijón: Piraña in the Plaza de San Miguel. Both are run by good people. There may be another in FNAC Parque Principado, but I've never been there.

It may also be possible to find them used in the rastros in Oviedo and Gijón.

-----------------------

Creo que todavía hay CDs disponibles de Presi porque compré algo el pasado verano en Oviedo. Si no recuerdo mal, sin embargo, no había mucha selección. ¡Guarda estos discos de 45!

Hoy sólo existe unos pocas tiendas de discos en Asturias. Hay un en el Mercado Fontán en la vieja sección de Oviedo y una tienda en Gijón: Piraña en la Plaza de San Miguel. Ambas están dirigidas por gente buena. Puede ser otro en FNAC Parque Principado, pero nunca he estado allí.

Quizás también sea posible encontrarlos usados en los rastros de Oviedo y Gijón.
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4471
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pepe, I remembered that you had said you wanted to buy a CD of El Presi when I was in Asturias this summer, and bought an extra copy for you. Let me know if you still want one!
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