Juan Carlos from Extremadura Spain talks about his band and a beautiful wildflower where the name of the band was taken from.
Band website(in Spanish) http://www.aulagafolk.es/
Music is an emotional persuasion. Anyone who deals with it whither directly as a composer or passively as a listener will know what it takes to really appreciate it. It is a feeling that sweeps over you that sometimes, you are helpless under its spell. Funny that that very thing that inspires us to do things can be both a blessing and a burden. Lucky are the few who made it by finding an outlet. Such is the music of Aulaga Folk.
Passion is evident in any Spanish melody. That is why we always see Latin singers as emotional and sizzling. It is that sensuality that drives the artists to bring out the best in what they do and also draw something from the listeners. But to find its very appeal and distinctive style then fuse those with other styles can be a transforming experience.
There are different elements that colour the sound of Aulaga Folk. From the haunting Gregorian inspired vocalize that finds its way into some of the tracks, to the lively poly-rhythms of Jazz and World music, the band have something for everyone. Borrowing heavily from the Celtic sound of Galicia, Asturias, and the folk music of Spain itself, this unique band are led by Juan Carlos. The the new album promises to enchant as well as to inspire listeners with its grace and sophistication. Here, he explains his thoughts about the band, the music and also how it is like carving a name for themselves in a world where styles can be an elusive thing.
Why the name Aulaga folk?
Aulaga is a plant that grows abundant in our land in the mountainous region. Once, the farmers hated it because it is a beautiful plant with yellow flowers but has very sharp spikes which does injury to livestock and had to be avoided. I decided to take the name of this plant for the band.
How do you describe your style of music?
We try to make music without borders. We can call them a combination of ethnic rhythms and progressive folk. Anything that smacks of tradition seems very interesting. It is the music of the people and for the people . We keep the original root of the songs but we try to adapt to the times. Everything in life evolves and folk music as Celtic music that we know must also adapt to new times. It allows us a fresh approach to the sound.
Can you give us a description as to what the new album is all about?
Aulaga Folk have 3 albums already , the first “From Ambroz Our Way” is a compilation album of popular music of our valley. It is very traditional and also our first attempt in releasing a recorded album. The second album “Not Bad Wood” incorporates new rhythms and melodies. It also showcases how we evolved as musicians. This third album is released in 2011, “A quarter” and it shows, or so we think, a greater variety of ethnic rhythms mixed with progressive folk. We have found our way into the work of collecting and disseminating traditional culture, not only in Extremadura, but in many parts of the world.
Your music is lively and infectious. Was this intentional?
The folk music gives us plenty of feeling –be it joy, sorrow, work songs- in short, everything that is related to the life of our elderly. The treatment of the songs is to try to make them as realistic as possible with the environment where they originated from but at the same time, trying to give them our own touch as a group and that leads many of them to be festive and contemporary. We always try to respect the richness of the original melody, but by nature the music conveys feelings, sometimes joyful and festive and other times melancholic and profound.
What’s fun about recording the new album A Quarter?
The most fun is doing what we like to do best: in this case translate the work and dedication to the collection and dissemination of popular music in all its possibilities. In the current album we have been fortunate to have great collaborations of national folk masters: Eliseo Parra, Joaquin Diaz, Manuel Luna, Javier Ruibal, and other artists who participated in this work, which has filled us with satisfaction and pride. It has been a luxury to work with these great masters of music and the collection ofroots music. We had fun and learned a lot from the wisdom of established musicians.
What were the challenges doing the new album?
Trying to get the traditional music and make it sound current was quite a challenge. We are trying to reach out to young people today to let them become aware of their past which is for the sake of understanding the present so that we will walk steadily forward. Also, to discover what their grandparents were doing not so long ago, the roots and origins of the things that we are living right now, and finally to have a sense of history and a past that we are trying to retell. I think these were the challenges that we had creating A Quarter.
What keeps you guys together and what drives you to keep steady during tours and festivals at this time?
In these difficult times where the economy is so affected, most of the budget cuts are made in the areas of culture. Many of the festivals organizers do not know whether they will continue due to the budget cuts. The future is uncertain this 2012. So we reflected in our past, our roots, and we hope to continue tour with our work. We want to meet new people which is the most beautiful of the tours, and discover new places, enjoy the landscapes and its people-these are really the most important and beautiful part of being in this business.