FolkWorld article by Pio Fernandez:

A condensed Celtic music festival

DVD coverIn late 2004, Sony Music published in Spain a DVD (+CD) named CARLOS NUÑEZ & AMIGOS (Carlos Nuñez & Friends). If you have heard or read before about Carlos Nuñez, but had no opportunity to see him on stage, taking a look to this DVD will provide you a very good idea of the kind of show he is displaying during the last couple of years in his concerts throughout Europe, South & North America, Asia, … The recorded concert took place in an open air auditorium (Castrelos), near his home city of Vigo, in the green coast of Galicia and facing the Atlantic ocean. Just to provide an idea of Carlos popularity in his home land : the concert was attended by 30.000 people.

Carlos current band features the following musicians :

- Carlos NÚÑEZ Galician gaita bagpipes, whistles, recorders, ocarina
- Xurxo NÚÑEZ drums & percussions, keyboard, guitar
- Pancho ÁLVAREZ bouzouki, bass
- Begoña RIOBÓ fiddle, vocals, Galician tambourine
- Paloma TRIGAS fiddle

The DVD includes seventeen tunes, seven of them traditional (or tradition inspired) in the folklore of Galicia. I must admit that I am one of those Spanish folk fans a bit disappointed by the fact that the unquestionable talent of Carlos for playing Galician pipes and flutes, is not often followed by a comparable effort on composing new songs (as other of his fellow gaiteiros do, like Anxo PINTOS, from the band BERROGÚETTO, or Xose Manuel BUDIÑO). However, the outburst of energy and enthusiasm always displayed by Carlos and the members of his band when playing their beautiful (although predictable) set of traditional Galician/Irish/Scottish/Breton tunes, truly makes an enjoyable experience out of the show. And the best is that this time, Carlos, his brother Xurxo, his old friend Pancho Alvarez (strings), and the two female fiddlers, were not alone for this event.

Since Carlos was also celebrating his 33rd birthday, he made a big party out of it. He invited to join them some of the artists he has been playing with along the years since he was just a thirteen year old wunderkind gaiteiro:

Xurxo & Carlos Nunez, photo by The MollisSome of the songs were also played together with two bagpipe bands :
- A Galician one, from the town of Cea, not playing the gaita bagpipes of the Galician traditional configuration, but those of the type called 'martial', which look like a hybrid between traditional gaita and great highland bagpipe.

One of the significant tunes performed by Carlos and all the bagpipers in this concert was composed by the film director Alejandro AMENABAR for his last movie and Oscar award winner "Mar Adentro" (The Sea Inside,, which is the true story of the Galician sailor Ramón Sampedro. The music for this film was composed by Amenabar in co-operation with Núñez.

To understand the participation of an Argentinian singer in such an event, you should know that León Gieco was well recognized in the Spanish speaking world mainly in the 1970's & 80's, during years where singing against the fascist governments in Argentina, Chile or Spain, was one of the few alternatives those societies had to show their disagreement with the political situation. Carlos Nuñez's father had to live in exile in Paris during the years of Franco dictatorship. Not too surprising then that Carlos feels close to someone who sings for peace & freedom in the song "Solo le Pido a Dios", even more when Gieco comes from the country which hosts the largest community of Galician immigrants for more than a century in city of Buenos Aires. You will also find interesting to see the Chieftains and Carlos band playing the old tango "Galleguita" (Little Galician Girl), sung by Gieco.

Carlos Nunez., photo by The MollisIt deserves to be mentioned, Carlos's performance of the 'Adagio' part of Aranjuez's Concert (El Concierto de Aranjuez), from the Spanish classical music composer 'Maestro Joaquin RODRIGO'. This one was a very deeply felt Gaita solo, specially dedicated to the victims of the bombs put on the trains in Madrid on March 11, 2004.

For those who have not yet experienced the kind of big shows displayed in Celtic music festivals like Lorient (French Brittany), the concert in this DVD provides a good idea of what they represent and are enjoyed mostly by the believers of the "Celtic nations & their cultures". I must say that the more I learn about traditional music, the more sceptical I become about the real significance of what is behind the category 'Celtic'. Today's people living in Ireland, Scotland and Brittany surely descend from the two or three thousand year old Celtic tribes. What I cannot so easily believe is that their traditional music can go back so long in time. In any case, these kind of folk festivals shall be recognized as truly spectacular shows, many times displaying great old and new talents of trad & folk music, and generally in a good atmosphere of respectful joy.

The DVD includes three other interesting short videos :

And talking about 'amigos', it also deserves to be mentioned the participation of Carlos NÚÑEZ, Pancho ÁLVAREZ & the Basque accordionist Kepa JUNQUERA in a concert together with the band La MUSGAÑA, in the 26th of May 2005. The event took place in the Spanish city of Burgos, as a found raising event for the family of Quique ALMENDROS, the piper from La MUSGAÑA still hospitalised suffering from an extremely deep coma.

For more information about the DVD "CARLOS & AMIGOS", click: or


Photo Credit: Photos by The Mollis

Back to the content of FolkWorld Features
To the content of FolkWorld No. 31

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 01/2006

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites.

FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Home
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld