Spain’s musical legacy has greatly been influenced from rich musical cultures emerging from Africa and Asia. Spain’s folk music is more individualistic in nature and contains mostly dance rhythmic movements. When the Moors invaded Spain in the eighth century they brought with them their Eastern culture which left a long lasting impact on all art form. However Spain’s nuances weren’t explored completely with composers imitating foreign musical tastes and it was left to the people to protect and glorify the native music spirit.
While efforts are ripe in portraying nationalistic spirit and ideals, there is still a long way to go. Spain’s geographic setting has been a large contributing factor towards its folk roots. While most of Spain is still mountainous and highly remote, poverty-stricken peasants have not yet been influenced by the larger world outside, leaving their traditions intact. To the north of Spain folk songs are more flowery and elaborate in nature and have been left untouched by the civilized world.
Spain’s folk traditions stem from different regions and have folk musicians singing and producing lyrical content which talks about the social, economic and political aspects of the region. This movement is similar to events which are found in Latin America and Portugal. Most of Spain’s folk songs are not only born out of forlorn mountainous seclusion, but are wild, and eccentric, deliberately appearing off-key at irregular intervals. The intonation and tempo is standardized at the end of every phase which is a common characteristic among Spain’s folk songs. A popular folk song known to most Spaniards is ‘Pinks’ whose lyrics are amusing and heroic in character.
Found in the Granada province of Spain, Andalusia is well known for its flamenco music. Flameco consists of the song (cante), the dance (baile) and the guitar (guitarra). Origins of the flamenco folk music style are still debated with influences seen as originating from as far as Egypt, Pakistan and India. Singer-songwriters like Javier Ruibal and Carlos Cano have emerged from this region rejuvenating copla, an old traditional form of music.
The region of Aragon has popularized guitarro, a small guitar and other Jota instruments like the castanets, the bagpipes, the chiflo or tabor pipe, the flute and the tambourines. The city of Valencia also has its own form of Jota. Asturia has sprung forth well known Spanish musicians like José Ángel Hevia and the Llan de Cubel band. The people of Basque have their own version of folk music known as trikitixa, which mainly contains the accordion and tambourine.