FolkWorld #44 03/2011
© Pío Fernández

Article in Spanish

Parallel & Converging Careers

Rosa Cedrón is a cellist and a singer. Cristina Pato plays the Galician gaita bagpipe and the piano. In the late 1990s, each of them separately have enjoyed very popular careers as folk musicians in Galicia and the whole Spain. Now in 2010 they converge in a common project that fuses Galician literature with traditional and classical music.

Soas: Rosa Cedrón & Cristina Pato

SOAS @ FolkWorld: FW#44 |

Rosa CEDRÓN studied in the conservatory in the capital city of A Coruña (Galicia, NW Spain) since a very young age. She focused her career in the cello and became a musician in the city’s Municipal Chamber Orchestra and Municipal Band. She also became a cello teacher in the conservatory of El Ferrol. Rosa became popular in Galicia’s folk music scene when she joined the band LUAR NA LUBRE, whose leader was the gaita piper Bieito ROMERO. The band had a brilliant raising career since it started in the mid 1980s, and in the 1990s it reached its peak when Mike OLDFIELD participated in the popularity of LUAR NA LUBRE’s song and CD titled ‘O Son do Ar’ (‘The Sound of Air’). In 1998, Rosa CEDRÓN participated in OLDFIELD’s album TUBULAR BELLS III. In 2005, Rosa started her musical career as a solo singer and cello performer, and also collaborated with other Galician artists. In 2007, Rosa published her first solo album: ‘Entre Dous Mares’.

Cristina PATO was very young when she started as a Galician gaita bagpiper in the 1990s in the Royal Band based in the city of Ourense. She also played in the folk band MUTHENROI. In the early 2000s, Cristina started a new career as a solo piper with two CDs, ‘Tolemia’ and ‘Xilento’ that became very popular in Spain’s hit-parades since they transmitted a very fresh image, wisely fusing traditional Galician gaita songs with pop music. Cristina went to the USA to continue her studies for piano, and that allowed new opportunities to broaden her artistic career. She joined the multinational and multicultural SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE, and even played with the cellist Yo-Yo MA in his 2010 Grammy awarded CD ‘Yo-Yo MA & Friends’. One of the pieces played in the project was from Osvaldo GOLIJOV, and besides Cristina’s Gaita Galega and a string quartet there were also oriental instruments such as: Sheng, Pipa, Kemanche and Sakuhachi. Once back in Spain in 2010, Cristina has collaborated again with Portuguese and Galician artists such as Maria DO CEO and Juan-Carlos FASERO, and has released her latest CD ‘The Galician Connection’.

Rosa Cedrón |

The musicians and composers that have inspired Rosa and Cristina in their careers are quite diverse, but there seem to be some similarities in their musical tastes:

Playing & Singing Together

‘SOAS Muller’ is Rosa and Cristina’s joint project to put together their skills on classical and folk music, and also to match two very important aspects of Galicia’s culture: literature and music. Such kind of blending of Galician artistic fields can be traced back to the middle ages, at least until the days of King Alfonso X ‘El Sabio’ (‘The Wise’) born in Toledo in 1221. His interest in diverse knowledge, particularly in literature and music, led to the compilation of Cantigas de Santa Maria ("Songs to the Virgin Mary"), which was written in Galician-Portuguese language, and it is one of the largest collections of vernacular monophonic songs to survive in Spain since the Middle Ages.

Cristina Pato |

This time, the poets that Cristina and Rosa have taken as an inspiration for their CD ‘SOAS Muller’ are more contemporary: Alvaro Cunqueiro (1911-1981), Celso Emilio-Ferreiro (1912-1979), Manuel Curros-Enriquez (1851-1908), and of course, the always remembered and charismatic Rosalía de Castro (1887-1885). There are also texts from today’s Galician poets Yolanda Castaño and Alba Felpete. There is even the song ‘Lágrima’ (‘Tear’) from the big fado singer Amalia RODRIGUES (1920-1999) that Cristina PATO had already played with the Portuguese singer Maria DO CEO.

Rosa and Cristina put together their vocal and instrumental skills to create an album that takes poems and songs from the Galician tradition and enlightens them with new reflections and shades. This time, the instrumental resources do not come so much from the known elements of the traditional music of Galicia (except for Cristina’s gaita), but from classical music, to the extent that they incorporate the sounds of the BRATISLAVA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA in six of the fourteen songs of the CD.

Future Projects

Their agenda for 2011 is mostly concerts for the presentation of this ‘SOAS Muller’ work, that for the moment are only planned to take place in different cities throughout Spain. Nevertheless, their individual plans for this year have more distant horizons:

Rosa: She will continue singing and playing cello in different cities in Europe, while simultaneously joining different classical and folk musical projects. She will also work on an upcoming CD of her own. One of the areas of interest that she mentions is the learning about the culture of the Basque Country. Since a couple of years, Rosa has been learning Euskera (Basque language), and researching about the Basque traditional and folk music.

Cristina: She will go on tour with Sandeep Das & The HumEnsemble, visiting in February: Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. In March and April she will tour with Yo-Yo MA & The SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE to present a composition from Osvaldo GOLIJOV in more than 10 cities in the USA, including places such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or Harvard University. In parallel, she will continue as a piano teacher at the New Jersey University, also going on tour in the summer time with The Galician Connection Band.

Possibilities for subsequent joint projects? Rosa and Cristina are very confident about that. They have worked together several times even before this ‘SOAS Muller’ CD, which seems to be the first volume of a future ‘SOAS XXX’ collection. By the way, ‘soas’ in Galician means: ‘solas’ in Spanish, ‘them alone’ in English (... and ‘muller’ means ‘woman’).

Photo Credits: (1) Rosa Cedrón & Cristina Pato 'SOAS Muller', (2) Rosa Cedrón, (3) Cristina Pato (from website).

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