Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Ana Alcaide from Spain certainly has an interesting story. She plays the Swedish nyckelharpa which she first encountered on a biology scholarship in Lund.
She was so attracted to the instrument – it's like a very very large fretted viola – she later busked in Toledo playing it.
Her previous album was the excellent La Cantiga del Fuego of 18 months ago and its quiet beauty (just a smidgen off New Age I noted at the time) was very attractive.
After her initial encounter with the instrument she subsequently returned to Sweden to pursue music further (she'd studied classical violin for years) and graduated from Malmo's Academy of Music.
This album is in fact her debut from 2007 which was her research project: interpretations of the Sephardic Jewish music historically embedded in Spain.
Ethnomusicologists will hear elements of Celtic music and stately medievalism (especially in her vocal pieces), and when I spoke on radio about this I am pretty sure I mentioned her as a one-woman Clannad (check out Y Arrelumbre) or a soundtrack to some tele-series set in Europe's 16th century (Tishri).
Not quite the mature album that La Cantiga del Fuego was obviously, but you do wonder why all music research projects can't be this interesting and made available for the wider world to hear.