Caamaño & Ameixeiras Aire!
Review by Andrew Cronshaw
This is their first album as a duo, but individually violinist and singer Antía Ameixeiras and chromatic accordionist Sabela Caamaño have been in leading bands and collaborated with many Galician musicians, including Ameixeiras with Carlos Núñez and in Luar Na Lubre, and Caamaño with Pedro Lamas in Quinta San Vitorio and the Roberto Somoza-led Europejska Orkiestra.
There’s a special communication going on here. The dancing interplay of their instruments expand on melodies, drawn mainly from Galicia but from elsewhere too, and three Ameixeiras compositions, in a magnificently inventive way, filling them with airy swirl.
So a waltz from legendary blind Galician fiddler Florencio surges with flying notes, evoking the flock of colourful birds springing from his fiddle in the booklet’s collaged photo of him, where his feet are turned into tree-roots.
There’s a touch of characteristic Basque trikitixa stutter in a tune, but like everything here it takes on a Galician accent. They take a pair of Bulgarian tunes, absorb their asymmetric rhythms and essence and make them their own, as they do with a Parisian-musette style waltz by France’s François Deguelt.
"Alegría Dio'la Dea!" (excerpt)
On some tracks they’re joined subtly by one or two from a team of guests, such as Diego Galaz’s theremin-like saw on “Alegría Dio’la Dea!”, a pair of tunes from Basque tradition that show a touch of the characteristic accordion stutter of Basque trikitixa. Clarinettist Carola Ortiz and singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz guest in “Maneo de Cambre” (See the video below), where the fluid 3/4 allows space for a floating Ameixeiras violin improvisation, and her delicate, slithering “Vals de Pasmar” features Abraham Cupeiro’s muted trumpet and Apel-les Carod’s mandolin.
"Se Souberas" (excerpt)
The fine singing has their region’s characteristic joyful blend of cherishing warmth and strength, and there are reminders of the pivotal influence in Galician music of Mercedes Peón, such as in the duo’s distinctive reworking of a traditional song from her repertoire, “Se Souberas.”
The closing song, “Aire!”, exuberant and reflective by turns, is a characteristic Galician celebration, on an album that has brightened mornings for this reviewer. I think it might yours too.