Awarded Best Folk Group of the Year in 1993
- Radio Nacional de España in Murcia
“Melodically compelling, rhythmically intense, and light in tone and texture. Theirs is a delicately balanced sound, they manage it beautifully… upbeat, bright and bouncy.” - Dirty Linen Magazine
Llan de Cubel are masters of Celtic music from Spain who have created an award winning sound. Built upon the traditional music of Asturies, the Celtic region of northern Spain, this seven-member Asturian ensemble’s exciting new sound comes largely from acoustic instruments that are indigenous to Asturies. Bagpipes, fiddle, wooden flute, Asturian and square drums supply the melody and percussion. Acoustic guitar and bouzouki provide the harmony and solid rhythm base that is so characteristic of the group. The electric instruments, bass pedal and keyboards, contribute the backing only in specific sections of certain tunes. An occasional song punctuates their primarily instrumental repertoire.
Llan de Cubel’s repertoire stems mainly from the Asturian tradition of fiddle, flute, accordion and, above all, Asturian bagpipes (gaita) playing alboraes (dawn tunes), marches y pasucáis (marches), dances (such as saltones, muñeires and polkas) and religious music (pipe mass). Inspiration for vocals comes from traditional Asturian songs: tonada, vaqueiraes (rhythmic mountain songs), villancicos (carols) and sea songs, working songs and drinking songs). Although they include some traditional lyrics, Llan de Cubel usually use contemporary texts, set to music with traditional Asturian melodies.
The members of Llan de Cubel are traditional musicians who know and habitually play the most characteristic instruments of Asturies and their interest in other traditions in Atlantic Europe has enriched their musical knowledge, especially the technical and harmonic aspects. Their award-winning music is based on material collected in the archives of Asturian ethnographic research groups, complemented by field work carried out by the members of the group themselves and including the most popular tunes known by all Asturians.
Since their formation, Llan de Cubel has participated actively in the revitalization of traditional Asturian culture, focusing on the music and language. Their work as a pioneer group of Asturian folk is recognized in the renown publication Historia de Asturias in the section dedicated to the history of Asturian music. Today they are the most consolidated formation within the indigenous folk movement and as such an important reference point for new generations.
Llan de Cubel originated in the summer of 1984 as the result of the meeting of two groups of musicians in a festival: Uviéu, formed by Elias García and Fonsu Mielgo, a traditional duo of bagpipes and Asturian drum, with guitar player Susi Bello and percussionist Daniel Lombas, and Cuideiru, made up of fiddle player Guzmán Marqués and flute player Marcos Llope. The two groups decided to work together to create an Asturian folk ensemble named after a mountain in the county of Cuideiru: Llan de Cubel. There were only two established folk groups in Asturies at that time; both disappeared years ago.
Elias García, Fonsu Mielgo and Marcos Llope, members of the origingal line-up, are joined by Xel Pereda, Simon Bradley and Xuan Rodríguez in 1995, 1996 and 1997 respectively. Their first recording Deva, released in 1987, was a great success with the critics and commercially and was considered Record of the Year by the President of the Government of the Principality of Asturies at that time, Pedro de Silva.
Things got ever better with their second release Na Llende in 1990, for which they received the prestigious “Superventolín” prize for Best Folk Group awarded by the newspaper La Nueva España and Radio Nacional de España by popular vote. In mid 1992, the renown Scottish folk group, The Tannahill Weavers included one of the tunes from Na Llende on their album The Mermaid’s Song.
The release of their third album L’Otru Llau de la Mar in December 1992, led to even greater success. It received three “Superventolín” awards: Best Folk Group, Best Production and Best Other Instrumentalist. With this, Llan de Cubel is the Asturian group awarded the most “Superventolín” prizes, even beating musical groups who are usually considered to be more commercial (pop, rock, jazz, etc.). In June 1995, they released IV.
In December 1994, coinciding with the group’s 10th anniversary, the Sociedad General de Autores de España (Spanish Authors Society) awarded them an honorary Golden Disc for the work carried out in the field of folk music during the previous 10 years. This award was also acknowledged and supported by the Association of Asturian Writers.
“…swirling, highly-energized tunes, vibrant marches and gentler songs and ballads superbly played by an excellent six-piece folk band.” - Kenny Mathieson
“…it is a sound that pleases as much as it tantalizes.” - John O’Regan
“…unmistakably Celtic hell-for-leather dance tunes.” - Sue Wilson