For our February issue of 2016 we featured an interview with a Celtic band from Spain. Some of their music is available to be streamed from our Free Music tab.
THE BARATARIA PROJECT
by James A. McQuiston FSA Scot, USA
EDITOR’S NOTE: In February of 2016 we made contact with our 16th country (SPAIN!) since the Celtic Guide first began. We are truly an international e-magazine for Celtic culture and music lovers all over the world. Our interview is with the boys in the band called The Barataria Project, out of Madrid.
Let’s get to it!
CG: Welcome to the pages of Celtic Guide. We are so happy to hear from another country, as well as another Celtic musical group. The obvious question is - How did your name The Barataria Project come about?
TBP: Thank you very much James for the interview. Greetings from Madrid to all readers of Celtic Guide.
The name comes from the Spanish novel Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. It is considered one of the most influential works of literature from the Spanish Golden Age, at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Barataria is the name of a fictional island promised as a reward by Don Quixote to Sancho Panza for his services. We liked the story and we thought it was a good name for a band that mixes up ancient melodies with current musical styles. And since this is a musical experiment, we included the word “Project.”
CG: So are you involved in live performances or are you mostly a studio band?
TBP: The album is indeed a studio work. We did first a pre-recording, and later on we put ourselves in the hands of Javi Díez, our producer, for the main recording, mixing, and mastering. He gave to us a lot of ideas for the sounds and solos composition and he also programmed the drums - an awesome work we must say.
However, all the songs were composed so they could be played live by only four musicians: guitar, piano, winds and drums. The guitarist, Juan Martínez, uses a “loop station” machine, where a main loop is created and others are added as over-loops. If you listen carefully to the songs, you will notice the main loop and how the melodies and other rhythm parts are added to it. There is not a real bass; it is actually an octaved guitar. Actually, we are preparing our live show, with an incredible drummer, Luis Oeo.
CG: What were your greatest Celtic influences?
TBP: We are a fusion rock band which plays Celtic or European melodies. Every genre of music we listen to is an influence, from reggae to electronic or jazz, to metal; but talking just about Celtic influences there are several bands we can name such Gwendal, Luar Na Lubre, Milladoiro, Altan, Clannad, Capercaillie, Allan Stivell, and Nightnoise. Also we are music fans of what it is called the “New Age” style.
CG: Do you have song downloads available, or performance dates coming up?
TBP: You can listen to our first album on YouTube, Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Music, or buy it on Amazon or iTunes. Just click “The Barataria Project” on Google and you will easily find us. We hope to be performing live this spring of 2016. Also, we are composing new songs for the second album we have in mind.
CG: How can your fans keep in touch with you online?
TBP: They can find us on Facebook or Twitter @baratariaband. Also subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Spotify or Bandcamp.
CG: What do you think is the wildest thing you’ve done as a musical group, musically or otherwise?
TBP: Probably the wildest thing we have done as a musical group is the song “Cantigas.”The original melodies are included in a book of 420 poems, dedicated to the Virgin Maria, with musical notation, written in the Medieval Galician language during the reign of Alfonso X The Wise (1221–1284) and often attributed to him. It is really very old medieval music. We can’t imagine the faces and feelings of the people of this time, if this song could travel in time and be listened to by the original composer, the monks who use to sing those melodies, or even the common people. For sure, they may recognized the melody, but the harmony and rhythm are something totally wild compared to the original song.
This is really the purpose of The Barataria Project - put together the ancient music of Europe with the current sounds, because both styles are using the same system and it is possible to fuse both concepts. These melodies don’t die with time. “Cantigas” is a melody from the thirteenth century that is used as a pretext, an excuse, for creating a new song from the twenty-first century. An experiment.
CG: What is the one thing you’d like our Celtic Guide readers to know about The Barataria Project?
TBP: The Barataria Project is a fusion band. Our soul is the European and Celtic melodies, like Spanish and Italian or traditional Irish and Scottish ones, but the body is funk, reggae, rock, jazz, folk. We approach the songs as if we were playing jazz standards. First, each instrument plays the melodies and then comes the solos and improvisation. We believe it is something new and fresh compared to the music industry, nowadays, and this is our little contribution to Celtic music in general. We are pleased for every single listener we get. Thank you all.
CG: Thank you so much for participating in this issue of the Celtic Guide.
TBP: Thank you very much, Celtic Guide. It was a pleasure.