Faustino Santalices & Modesto Sanchéz – Muñeira de Rubiás

August 17, 2008

I’m fascinated by the early regional music of Spain. The variety of songs and musical styles found in one country, even a country with many autonomous communities, is quite amazing. I’ve previously posted music from País Vasco (Basque Country), Asturias, and of course, the most well known folk music of Spain, flamenco from Andalucía. And while the music from all of these regions can be captivating, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Spain. There’s cobla music from Catalonia, the jota from Aragon, fiddle music from Mallorca, dulzaina music from Valencia, unbelievable unaccompanied shouts from the mountainous region of Cantabria, not to mention the distinct music of Navarro, Extremadura, the Canary Islands…on and on. We’re lucky it was captured on 78s, though finding much beyond hot selling flamenco records of the 40s can be a dogged struggle. It’s music that, unless we lived in these regions in the first three decades of the 20th century, you and I were not meant to hear.

Today: the wonderful sounds of the gaita galega, the bagpipe of Galicia in northwest Spain. Faustino Santalices (1877-1960) was a legendary master of both the zanfona (the hurdy gurdy in Spain) as well as the gaita, though his recorded output was quite limited. Here he is joined by Modesto Sanchéz in a gaita duet stemming from 1929. They are accompanied by the tambor (snare drum) and bombo (bass drum). It seems from the description that Santalices and Sanchéz were both performing in Galicia’s Coral de Ruada at the time (also known as the Coro de Ruada). Coral de Ruada’s historical recordings have been released on a relatively hard-to-find issue by the Ouvirmos label here – they are well worth checking out, though I can’t vouch for the CD quality. They still exist today, too!

A different take of this song, from the same 1929 sessions (originally released on the Regal label), was released on a Santalices CD several years ago on the Boa label, titled Gravacions Historicas De Zanfona 1927-1949. Boa claimed it was the definitive collection of Santalices’ work, though thanks to Félix Castro and Tony Klein, who contributed comments and compared my version and Boa’s (see the comments section), we know this track is either a new discovery, or one that was simply unknown at the time of the CD’s production, and therefore left out. What made matters more confusing, was that the record label was in fact a botch, and the song titles were mislabeled on either side. Either way, I hope it is new to you.

Faustino Santalices & Modesto Sanchéz – Muñeira de Rubiás

Technical Notes

Label: Odeon

Issue Number: 291004

Matrix Number: WK 1398 (A8685A)

10 Responses to “Faustino Santalices & Modesto Sanchéz – Muñeira de Rubiás”

  1. Gael said

    Thank you for all this wonderful music. This track is terrific…
    A visitor from France ( by the way, i ‘d like you to post more music from my country, i’m sure there’s a lot of stunning traditionnal music on 78 records to discover)

  2. JW said

    Thanks! There will be more from France, have no fear…though I hope you have seen my posts of music from Auvergne and Brittany.

    There are only 2 countries (besides Spain) from which I have posted more than 2 pieces of music: Turkey and India…

  3. tony klein said

    Hi Jon – nice work, again! This sounds much better than the 1929 (?) recordings on the somewhat overcleaned CD release. However – surprise surprise – this particular side is nowhere to be heard on the CD! The cut of the same title on the CD is a quite different recording, and is 28 seconds longer. The CD notes are a little confused, saying that Santalices recording sessions in fact began in 1929, though 1927 is given in the title and track list. The 1920s recordings on the CD were made by Regal,and you have an Odeon disc. Perhaps there were in fact sessions for both companies? In 1927 and 1929 respectively?

  4. JW said

    Ah! Thanks Tony – nice sleuthing!

    What you’re saying makes sense – there could have been 2 sessions. I was going by what the promotional material for the CD says, but I had a hunch that recording was different. It may have been made later than 1927 or 1929…OR, it was a repressing of an Odeon from one of those years. The label looks like a later one to me. I could be wrong, of course. It appears you’ve opened up a mystery…

  5. The tune that you have for playing in the website is the “muiñeira de Rubiás”, not the “alborada antiga de Ourense”, that it is in the other side of the recording.
    The recording was done in Ourense city (where I live) in 1929 in the Regal company (of Columbia)RS 1271, and it was impressed by Odeon for the american market, as many galicians emigrated to America (mainly to Argentina, México), and there was the main market for this type of recordings.
    I am also a bagpipe player, I own and play bagpipes constructed by Santalices and I am a friend of Santalices’s son.

    I haven’t comparated recordings, but a friend of mine told me once that perhaps the recording companies made several recordings in each session of the same tune as it was easier for copy the discs them if they have several recordings and not only one, i. e. to copy 25 times each one 25 x 2 = 50, than copy 50 times the same recordings, in order to maintain the quality. I don’t know.
    Greetings.
    Félix Castro – Ourense – Galiza – Spain

  6. JW said

    Thank you, Félix!

    Yes, I can see now that the matrix number beginning with K (or WK in the wax), indicates that this record came from the Regal sessions of 1929. I will change the information listed and make corrections – perhaps it is a different take of the same song.

  7. jove said

    um just so u know, dont think this faustino track made it over to the new host er domain er wutevs when u made the switch. there’s no way to listen to it or downalod it 8{

  8. JW said

    Sorry – fixed. The song was always there, but the link was incorrect. You would have found it eventually on the FMA site. Anyway, the link is fixed now – thanks for the heads-up.

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