We love writing to you about music in Asturias. The music of each place says a lot about its land, its culture, its mixes, its influences, its daily life… It’s a way of getting to know everything from superficial aspects to more deep aspects of a territory. And what’s more, you can move your skeleton, hey!
And today we want to talk about the “Nueches en Danza”. Sometimes we identify Asturian music with bagpipes and drums, and folk groups dancing in “professional” groups, while people watch and so on.
TRADITIONAL VS. FOLKLORIC DANCE
For many years we have ended up identifying traditional dance with folk dance, as something done by groups, associations, or semi-professional groups. This is an image with both positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, it sustained musical traditions that were on the verge of disappearing. But on the other hand, it eliminated the popular part of traditional dance, took it away from the ordinary people and transformed it into a museum or exhibition object.
Moreover, folk groups did not always dance traditional dance, strictly speaking, nor did they always wear real traditional costumes. Sometimes, several “arrangements” were made to the dance pieces, to make them more attractive to the public. And as for the costumes, and as a result of Franco’s idea of popular folklore, clothes that were not exactly traditional were standardised. Obviously, the tradition can also include it. But it is important to be aware of it. As far as folk music is not exactly traditional music, the folk groups did not exactly dance traditional dances.
THE “NUECHES EN DANZA” (NUECHES IN DANCE) EMERGED.
They emerged in 2015 as a series of open meetings of musicians and people who wanted to dance traditional Asturian dances. Without traditional costumes, without exhibitions. And no money involved. The groups generally don’t charge, and people don’t pay more than drinks they have at the bar, of course.
Does that mean a confrontation with the folklore groups? No, in fact the Nueches en Danza is attended by people who are part of folklore groups, traditional musicians, folk groups! The idea is free gatherings of people who just want to enjoy and dance traditional music.
This phenomenon of traditional music returning to the streets is not exclusive to Asturias. It also exists in Brittany, Galicia… Does it also happen in your country?
Covid caused these events to be suspended. From being a monthly meeting they disappeared, for obvious reasons. But now that the bug has let us look ourselves in the face again and see our smiles, last March the celebrations were resumed. In this case, with the excuse of Antroxu, the Asturian carnival.
Here’s a short video to give you an idea of the atmosphere. And if you want to go, they have an active group on Facebook, where they publish upcoming events.
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