Auga de Maio - Milladoiro

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The present album marks Milladoiro's 20th anniversary as Galicia's ambassadors to the world. They have recorded with the Chieftains, Paul Winter, Kathy Mattea, Bill Whelan (Riverdance), and the young Galician gaita (bagpipe) sensation Susana Seivane. The band was formed at a medieval pilgrimage site (their name refers to small piles of stones erected by the devout along roadsides), and they incorporate early music, Moorish sources, rhythmically lopsided Iberian folkways, dance-oriented Irish styles, and a frisson of jazz into acoustic chamber-folk opuses. The harp, the Uilleann (Irish) pipes and gaita, accordions, woodwinds, and percussion are prominent in the arrangements. As always, Milladoiro's sound is slightly cool and introverted, and the most sprightly melodies have an underlying hint of wistfulness or nostalgia. The Spanish pop star Ana Belén and Olga Cerpa from the Canary Islands are very different singers, but each adds a welcome feminine energy and allure to the proceedings. --Christina Roden