Camerata Meiga, one of those unknown little jewels

Written on the 26th of February 2014

As I mentioned in the facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/alittlelightblogging) a couple of days ago, I don’t have much time this week. That’s why I’ll write about an extremely short-lived band. In fact, they only released one album with that name. There’s not much to say really, this will be a very short post. It’s (again) a folk band, but I’ll do something different next week. I found out about these guys by chance. Once, I was listening to an album by a Basque accordeonist I like quite a lot, when something different started playing. The thing is that, at the end of the album, two more songs had been added (it wasn’t, ahem, the original album), songs played by a band I’d never heard of. I liked those two tracks so much that I spent weeks (maybe months) looking for the whole album online, which was a difficult task, as they are virtually unknown.

When Xeque Mate (which means checkmate), a folk band that had released two albums (applauded, by the way, by both the critics and the public), welcomed three new musicians, they became Camerata Meiga.

Their only album, Habelas Hailas, was recorded during the first half of 1999. Those two words are the answer when someone in Galicia (where the band’s from) asks if meigas (witches) exist: they don’t, but “habelas hailas” (there are definitely some of them around).

The whole thing is outstanding, the musicians are superb and most of them can play several instruments, so you can hear quite a few of them. Habelas Hailas represents a brilliant attempt at making traditional folk music a bit more modern looking. Older sounding instruments such as the lute or the rebec are complemented perfectly by more modern ones, such as the bass guitar and the sax. Violins, accordions and some others also add moments of brilliancy to the album. Let’s not forget the Portuguese singer Amélia Muge, whose voice shines in several songs, especially in A Tentaçao, and makes us think a bit about Portuguese fados. Given the consistency of the album, it’s hard to highlight just one song; however, after thinking hard, that one would be the six-minute opener, Praça do Ferro.

Here’s the whole album:

By the way, if you want to download the album, here’s a place where you can do it. And yes, when it says “a tip from our friend Aqualung”, that’s me, I’m almost proud of myself. Ok, not so much. By the way, that blog is pure gold, dozens of folk albums from all over the world, available for downloading!

http://folkyourself.blogspot.com.es/2014/02/camerata-meiga-habelas-hailas-1999.html

Bonus track: that Basque accordeonist I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

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