Berrogüetto is one of Galicia's most prestigious folk music bands. Its repertoire gracefully brings together traditional music and modernity.
“Berrogüetto, a medium in seven beats, brings to us that infinite symphony, a voice that comes from so deep inside that it hurts, as it is our own voice made music. They make us dream that a different music, a different cosmic order is possible” Rosa Aneiros, Writer and winner of the Prize “Premio Xerais” 2009 for her novel Sol de inverno
Berrogüetto's epic journey begins in spring 1995 in Galicia, when six musicians of completely different backgrounds came together in order to take the traditional Celtic music of their country still a step forward towards the future, and to experiment with new sounds.
Their first task was to name the band and in order to do that, they created a new word. BERROGÜETTO is the sum of three concepts: BERRO + GUETO + SOWETO. Using these three ideas the band's thinking, discourse and purpose was defined. Berro, the Galician word for cry, reflects the conviction that only through making demands we can make a better world. The word also refers to the aim of giving voice to those who do not have it, a positive cry. Gueto (from the Italian ghetto) means”minority of marginalised people in society due to religious, political or other reasons. Neighbourhood or slum where such people live. The situation of marginalisation they find themselves in”. Soweto is the Johannesburg area that became the symbol of opposition to Apartheid. From the beginning of the riots, Soweto became the focus of international attention, bringing to the limelight the situation of racism and injustice that South Africa was experiencing. It meant the starting point for democracy, freedom and respect.
The band, therefore, evokes the “cry of the oppressed”. Translating all this into music, the band members think that folk music has always been oppressed and constrained, that it was given too little a space where its vast possibilities could not develop. By choosing this name they already showed their goal of opening up new horizons for roots music. That is how this innovative band, with different ideas and original proposals was born.
What does Berrogüetto have to offer?
In a short period of time, without forgetting its initial sensitivity, Berrogüetto has become one of the most important world music bands around the globe. It is one of the Galician brand names that work in the international market due to its fusion of a passion for Galician traditional music and its experimentation with contemporary sounds. They are the two sides of the same coin in a global market where cultural diversity is at risk.
Against that unifying trend in music, Berrogüetto still offers Galician music with an impact far beyond the frontiers of Galicia. Beyond music, they believe in cultural diversity as a source of wealth. Today, their music has the same flavour it has always had, offering multiplicity and homogeneity at the same time, one of the most difficult things to attain for a band. Today their music has room on any stage in the world.
Their restlessness and their will to innovate has always led them to investigate different sounds and instruments. Thanks to that determination they have always managed to obtain the favour of critics and they have been granted numerous awards and recognition throughout the world: Award of the German Music Critics Association for best World music record several times, Award Opinión to the best folk music album, candidate to the Spanish Academy of Stage and Music Arts' Music Awards for best album in Galician and for the Latin Grammy for best folk album, amongst others.
What are Berrogüetto's priorities?
Whenever the band plays live, they look for an experience that goes beyond mere sound – they bring together music, dance and image. Precisely after one of their concerts acclaimed Galician writer Manuel Rivas sent them the poem “Alalá”, thanking them for that performance. This token of affection was the seed for cooperation and the poem has now been made into the song "Alalá da noite" in the band's latest album: Kosmogonías (2010).
Berrogüetto has travelled through countries such as Galicia, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Mexico in different tours and has always been warmly welcomed in all the stages where they have performed.
From the beginning the band has given special attention to the aesthetics of their albums not only as graphic support to the music but as a way to show their interest in art, photography and design. With their latest work Kosmogonías (2010), their ship keeps sailing the still unexplored oceans of music and a new combination with the arts and communication pathways. In this case, thanks to Galician artist Olaia Sendón, they have produced a video-art item to show their deepest concerns and visions of the universe.
The band has changed with time. The founding members were Santiago Cribeiro, Paco Juncal, Quico Comesaña, Guillerme Fernández, Anxo Pintos and Isaac Palacín. In their second album, Viaxe por Urticaria (1999) fiddler Paco Juncal left the band and two new members, singer Guadi Galego and fiddler Quim Farinha joined. They recorded two more albums together: Hepta (2010) and 10.0 (2006). In 2008 Gaudi Galego left the group and singer Xabier Díaz joined to record Kosmogonías (2010).
Praise for Berrogüetto:
“Entertaining, aesthetic and full of métissage: Berrogüeto”... “This is a cocktail that does not summarise their work but it does show how skilful and varied they are with their instruments, how energising with their aesthetics, how entertaining and open to other cultures. And, above all, how sure they are of what they want.” Fernando Franco, Faro de Vigo
“Berrogüetto spearheads the wide musical renaissance taking place in Galicia.” F. Valiño, El Mundo
“Berrogüetto has achieved an international acclaim that few other Galician groups can speak proudly of.” Óscar Losada, El País de las Tentaciones
“They are the most international band of Galician music.” Fernando Neira, Suplemento Babelia de El País