August 2017 – Tierra Discos – CD/LP

Ruma Barbero: bodhrán
Luis Senén Fernández: bass, lead & backing vocals
Elías García: bouzouki
Diego Pangua: bagpipes & flute
Lisardo Prieto: fiddle
Moisés Suárez: guitar & backing vocals

additional instruments:

Elías mandolin (Carretera) // fiddle(Xota d’Ígor)
Senén shaker (A la mar)
Moisés bouzouki (Xota d’Ígor) // electric guitar (Escaecimientu)
Xuan Nel Expósito: accordion  (Ferreirín)
Richard García: keyboards  (A la mar, Ferreirín & Escaecimientu)

Luis Senén Fernández: sound engineering
Sergio Rodríguez: mixing & mastering
Ruma Barbero: graphic design
Xurde A. Chachero y Ruma Barbero: photos
Fernando Álvarez-Balbuena: Asturian language supervision
Andrés Menéndez Blanco: Asturian language supervision (Ferreirín)
Loi Barbón: English translation


Cástor y Félix Castro
por apurrinos eses melodíes gallegues tan prestoses

Boni Pérez
por regalanos una lletra tan guapa pa “Ferreirín”

Ramón Bárcenas y los sos compañeros
pola so implicación personal na recuperación de los instrumentos que-y robaren a Elías

A tolos que dalguna vez fostis parte de Felpeyu a lo llargo d’estos 25 años
Cástor Castro, Félix Castro, Luis Álvarez Fernández, Xel Pereda,Isidro Suárez, Toño Gómez, Fernando Oyágüez, Dudu Puente,Borja Baragaño y Xuan Nel Expósito

A tolos que dalguna vez tocastis con nosotros
Rubén Álvarez, Rubén Bada, Alberto Ablanedo y Andrea Joglar

Y a los siempre felpeyos
Ígor Medio y Carlos Redondo


1.- Cerquina

music: traditional/ Lisardo Prieto
lyrics: Ruma Barbero

After 25 years of going on about the things we like most about Asturies, it was about time we focussed on a few of the less pleasant things. In Asturies everything is close by. So is the seed of self-destruction. It is a typically Asturian thing to combine the love of one’s country with pessimism and destructive criticism with merriment. The song takes its melody from La Veleta and the instrumental tune is from a part of La panderetera, by Martínez Abades.


Close to the nail on the map,
Very well hidden, very well hidden,
My people doze away still,
Faint and defeated, faint and defeated.
The one made of stones, the one made of myths,
Eager grandparents, sleepy grandchildren.

In the green of Payares1,
In its own navel, in its own navel,
Lie my weak people asleep,
Quarrelsome and lost, quarrelsome and lost.
The one with the fists, bang on the table,
Big mouth in the pub, silly and foolish.

Nestled deep in the complex
Of being so well-bred, of being so well-bred,
My people crumble away,
Conceited and cold, conceited and cold.
The one with the debts and chauvinism,
Swill in the trough and cronyism.

Close to the nail on the map,
Very well hidden, very well hidden,
Gasps a people its last breath,
Lone and exhausted, lone and exhausted.
Badly short-sighted and lacking all hope,
Unfriendly and strange, but still so my own

1) Payares is the best known mountain pass between Asturies and the rest of the Iberian peninsula, and was the main way in and out of Asturies.

2.- Andaricas ya cacharros

Muñeira de Soto d’Ayer (Lisardo Prieto) / Andaricas ya cacharros (Lisardo Prieto) /
Pasucáis de David Mateos (Lisardo Prieto)

Three tunes written by Lisardo in memory of Puru, the percussionist in Asturian folk band Corquiéu, remembering a night they spent out partying together.

3.- Ferreirín

music: traditional/ Diego Pangua
lyrics: Boni Pérez

When we asked Boni Pérez to write us the lyrics for a song about rural depopulation in western Asturies, he did so drawing on his father’s life, who had been forced to emmigrate at a young age. The melody is based on La Pispireta, a very popular song around Ayande and Cangas, in western Asturies.


I am a Ferreirín1:
Was born in El Pumar,
Brought up in Bisuyu,
And was wed in Viḷḷar.

The pathway is lost now,
Engulfed by the scree.
So too were the footsteps
Time did indeed conquer.

The pathway is long gone.
I don’t wish to ponder,
I no longer recall
The light of that hamlet.
Who could be back there today once again
In the land where the houses are open;
Who could keep to oneself all the secret
Of the endless playing of the children.

I went off to a life
In a different darkness,
A voyage that I made
Over blows from the sea.

I did not want to die
Under blows from the sea.
How far-off the coast lies,
And so my liberty.


So much I have travelled…
So much already lost…
These hands have grown old now,
Although I am still here.

So much I have travelled,
Although I am still here,
Trying to make sense of
Being a Ferreirín. 1

Who could be back there today once again
In the land of life without any goals
Who could keep to oneself all the secret
Of the endless playing of the children.

1) This poem is written in the characteristic western Asturian dialect. The first four verses are taken from a well known traditional song from Cangas (in the far south west), which refers to the three villages mentioned (El Pumar, Bisuyu and Viḷḷar) and the typical blacksmith’s trade of the area (“ferreiru”, “ferreirín” being a diminutive).

4.- Alboraes de Perlora

Alborada de La Carrera (trad.) / Alborada de Perlora (Ruma Barbero & Lisardo Prieto)

The first alborada is from Armando Fernández Robledo’s repertoire, a well known bagpiper from Xixón who says he picked up the tune from pipers from the areas of Siero and Noreña; although we learned it off Iván Rionda, one of the great researchers and experts on the Central Asturian traditional repertoire. The second was written by Ruma and Lisardo in tandem and is dedicated to the “holiday village” of Perlora, a perfect symbol of Asturies during the 2010-2017 period and the place where we took the photos for this album.

5.- Escaecimientu

music: Sergio Domingo / Lisardo Prieto
lyrics: Sergio Domingo / Ruma Barbero

Axuntábense is one of the few classic choir and tavern songs we had not yet adapted; and in doing so now decided to put new words to the melody, with lyrics we felt we owed our grandparents’ generation. In the middle goes an instrumental tune we found in the Torner and we end off with a march from Tuña (Tinéu).


The hands that at the same time gave
Support, nourishment and solace
Were of ladle and cooking fire
Of the apron and washing place.

They were hands that struggled
For equality and respect
Those of the fish net and fruit rod
Those of the plough and of the hoe.

The eyes that envisaged the dream
On that long past month of April1
Were those of shavings and of smoke
Of pig iron, cast iron and of steel.

They were those of the ones who tried
The curse of all the centuries
They were of mine shaft and of coal
Of the anvil, book and inkwell2.

All gather round, (they would) all gather round
With a whistle by a barrel3
Young men and women
That besides drinking,
Would sing and would dance,
And would all gather round.

The arms that cast away shadow
From that eerie month of July4
Were those of the black neckerchiefs5
And of the hammer and sickle6.


Faces of prison and exile
Of the torture and of silence
Were those of the obscure mass graves
Of lies and of oblivion.

Of General Leclerc7 the repose
A liberty on foreign soil
They were of forests and mountains
Of the rifle and the blasthole.


1) The “long gone month of April” alluded to is that of the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic, in 1931.
2) The expression “anvil, book and inkwell” refers to the logo the Socialist party had at the time.
3) The barrel mentioned refers to a very large, typically Asturian barrel containing cider (known as “tonel”), found mainly in cider houses, where many gatherings and celebrations involving song and dance are still held.
4) The “eerie month of July” refers to the military coup of July 1936 carried out by a large portion of the Armed Forces against the democratically elected government of the Second Republic, which consequently led to the Spanish Civil War.
5) “Black neckerchiefs” is an allusion to the anarchists.
6) The “hammer and sickle” refers to the communists.
7) Leclerc: The French general Phillippe Leclerc, who led a division made up mainly of Spanish Republicans during the Liberation of Paris from Nazi German occupation in 1944

6.- Tambores de guerra

Cantar de Cervantes (traditional galician) / Xirandiya (traditional) / L’araña (Lisardo Prieto) / Saltón de Boro (Xuan Nel Expósito)

The first piece is another one of those Galician treasures we love learning from our Ourense twins (felpeyos—original Felpeyu band members—currently on leave), followed by a xirandiya found in Torner songbook (No. 42), a tune by Lisardo based on a dance from Cuideiru and we end off with a saltón by accordion player Xuan Nel Expósito, fellow band member for twenty years.

7.- A la mar

music: tradicional / Ígor Medio
lyrics: Ruma Barbero

A tonada from Riosa, No. 310 in the Torner’s songbook, which had already been roughly sketched out by Ígor Medio. The prelude phrase at the end we got from Oscarín Fernández, the last young traditonal piper in Asturies, who learned it off a recording by El Gaiteru Libardón (the Libardón piper).

Toward the sea

From the strings hung down from the clouds
And the trickle from the snowfields
Born unto a luck of their own
Free amid the passing of time.

From the wounds boldly imprinted
By the flow of the centuries
From the fountains and from the dams
Held as prisoners of their past.

To no one’s rhythm
Toward the sea the rivers go,
Toward the sea they airily go.

Pregnant with death along the banks
With leaves and with moss burning bright,
With roots up torn out of the ground
And full with so much life within.

All wrapped up in a cloak of green
Replete with countless recesses
Where stone is rubbed and worn away
Until it is made into sand.

Endeavoring forth to make its way
Roaring through the mountainous rocks
Slowing its pace along the shores
Masters of all silence as well.

Obstinately holding its course
On its ever-lasting journey
Firmer believers in the sea
Than in miracles from the sky.

8.- Carretera

music: traditional / Diego Pangua
lyrics: Ruma Barbero

To tell the story of our lives as workers in the music trade, we drew inspiration from the traditional Asturian folksong Carretera abaxo va (Down the road) and the song Long Way Home by Tom Waits. The instrumental piece at the end is from Torner’s songbook, No. 373.

The road

Stubborn from the day I was born,
Blundering around in darkness,
I am given to wandering,
Always on pathways insecure.

This life I can’t but help to lead,
Is that of one who has no rest,
It is one of meals out of time,
One where time just does not go by.

Running way down along the road,
Running way down along the road,
I was always glad to return
Through the longest way back to home.
I was always glad to return
Through the longest way back to home.

Those steps you never get to take,
Are the ones that will mark the most,
The words that you leave unspoken,
Are the ones that hurt after all.

I tread steady along the path,
In the steps of the Cubelos1,
Along the pathways of Ambás2
With the voice of our Caunedo3.


So far and wide have I been gone,
Upon the road that leads nowhere,
From the laughs in Ca Beleño4
To the tears shed in Altube5.

Running way down along the road,
Running way down along the road,
I was always glad to return
Through the longest way back to home.
For a quarter of a century
On the longest way back to home.

This song is autobiographic in a rather general sense but also includes references to specific moments and circumstances in the band’s history over the past 25 years:

1) Cubelos is how the influential Asturian folk band Llan de Cubel is often referred to affectionately.
2) Ambás is Xosé Antón Fernández, singer, bagpiper, Asturian folklore researcher and television presenter. He is known as “Ambás” after his village of birth.
3) Caunedo refers to Mari Luz Cristóbal Caunedo, one of the most well-known and respected singers of tonada (a traditional Asturian song form).
4) Beleño refers to Ca Beleño, a famous pub and folk venue in Uvieo.
5) Altube is a mountain pass in the Basque province of Araba, where the band lost two of its founding members, Carlos Redondo and Ígor Medio, in a fatal car accident in June 2006, while travelling from Asturies to Barcelona on tour.

9.- Riosa

Marcha de Riosa (Simon Bradley) / Pasucáis d’Ígor (Ígor Medio) / Muiñeira de Rodrigo (Rodrigo de Santiago)

The march is a variation on one written by Llan de Cubel fiddler Simon Bradley and came out during a session between Lisardo and Dolfu R. Fernández. An example of distorsion due to playing by ear. Next comes a piece by Ígor Medio and we end off with a muiñeira, from Rodrigo de Santiago’s repertoire, which we learned from Félix and Cástor Castro, the twins from Ourense.

10.- Préstame dir

music: traditional / Diego Pangua
lyrics: Ruma Barbero

We came up with this song by drawing from the typically Asturian serenade genre. The musical part includes a fragment of a xota from Concha’i Clara’s repertoire, a pandeiru (Square frame drum) player from Tresmonte (Cangas).

I love going

I love going out to court you,
It’s neither tiresome nor boring.
The only thing I’m afraid of
Is that dog that stands by your door.

Hey, now I come to think of it,
Your village is rather high up,
Climbing those steep narrow pathways
Is like reaching Camarmeña.

And then still to get to your house
I have to get past a forest,
Two streams where there is not a bridge
And a swamp with my pants rolled up.


Hey, now I come to think of it,
Your grandma does not like me much:
She always comes out to meet me
Brandishing about a big cane;

Your mother twists her face at me;
Your father puts off his mowing,
He just sits and sharpens his scythe
Acting as if I were the grass.


Hey, now I come to think of it,
You’re neither pretty nor ugly,
But your temper is quite nasty
Like the devil sitting in church;

You always complain if I’m late
Or if I come while you’re napping;
You complain if I don’t touch you
And then once again if I do.


Hey, now I come to think of it,
Today I’ll go by the river,
And see if I find me a girl
That seems more caring toward me,

With neither father nor mother
No granny that waves a big cane,
Nor temper I might find nasty
And no dog lying next to the barn.


11.- Xota d'Ígor

Igor Medio

Eleven years have passed and still we continue to enjoy and learn from our friends Carlos Redondo and, in this case, Ígor Medio. In dear memory.