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Influential Musicians: Emilio Cao

Emilio Cao, is a renown Galician musician who was the first to recover the harp as an instrument in the folk music of Galicia (there is evidence of its use in the Middle Ages) .

Linked to several groups of his city, his early works were with groups Brétema or NHU. He also participated in the group "Voces Ceibes" (Free Voices) , he played songs in Galician language w/social, political context and against the Franco dictatorship. He was also member of the "Galician Popular Song Party", a folk music songwriters group where he began composing his own songs.

In the mid-seventies Emilio decided to see the world: exercise, among other trades, the musician in the subway in Paris, the dishwasher in restaurants in Barcelona, the gardener in Copenhagen, wandering around Amsterdam, etc. In 1976 he surrenders to "homesickness", and passes through the window of a shop of musical instruments second hand and falls for a Folk harp.

Like many other musicians, such is the love he professes to that instrument, that he absolutely self-taught himself, and works for hours to hone their management and composing his own songs. Edits his first album in 1977: "Fonte do Araño",(Village Fountain) and began its relationship with other performers of that instrument, like Elsie Thomas of Swansea Welsh or Breton musician Alan Stivell. Alan himself would write the foreword album presentation. A landmark album involving Xosé Ferreirós and Xosé Antón Seoane (who would later form the reknowned Galician group "Milladoiro") as well as Xoan Piñon and Bernardo Martinez (creators of the galician group "Doa"). This album, the first of the so-called Celtic music in Galicia, was a major shift for the music of his country and opened paths followed later by numerous artists.

This recording is followed by another amazing album "A lenda da pedra do destiño" (The Legend of the Stone of Destiny) on this album, Cao becomes a total multi-instrumentalist: guitar, keyboards, bass and mandolin are skillfully used by him and join his voice with his harp , to outline an intimate album inspired by the Celtic Legend of the Stone of Destiny. Also close ties with Portuguese musicians of the movement "April Singers " . On his discography features a great interest in the Galician culture with references to writers and adding music to poems of the most important Galician authors as Rosalía de Castro ("O Cravo"), Uxío Novoneira ("Amiga Alba e Delgada") and Manuel Antonio (to whom he dedicates the album "Cartas Mariñas")

He has also collaborated with contemporaries such as Suso de Toro, Rei Anxo Ballesteros, Roberto Vidal Bolaño, Eduardo Alonso or Xulio Lago. As a musician he has collaborated with artists like Rupert Ordorika, Fausto, Siniestro Total and Maite Dono, which has covered some of his best known songs. Throughout his career he has maintained a long relationship with musicians and singers from Portugal (Fausto, José Afonso, Carlos Paredes, Mafalda Veiga ...) projects and scenarios sharing the fruit of the great cultural proximity between Galiza and Portugal, also recently prepared projects with musicians from other Portuguese-speaking countries (East Timor, Angola ...).

Beginning in 1983, and alternating the recording of their albums, he composed numerous soundtracks for theater, visual and contemporary dance. In all these years he performed concerts in Spain and many European countries, with its intimate and evocative music from long ago, his country, Galicia, or sleep and dream worlds, who with his harp so we can carry easily.

We close this blog with the nice words of Consuelo Rejas, music journalist of the spanish Fusion Magazine: "The sound of Celtic harp keeps alive the link with the past. It's the sound of time, the ancestors, who slept the night in villages Celtic music drawing with the exploits of brave warriors. Emilio Cao was and remains a pioneer. When he began to introduce the harp in his records, there was none in Galicia or in any place in Spain, who would use the harp in traditional music. "


Fonte do Araño. (Zafiro, 1977).
A Lenda da Pedra do Destiño. (Guimbarda, 1980).
No Manto da Auga. (Guimbarda, 1982).
Amiga Alba e Delgada. (Boa-Do Fol, 1998, reprint).
Cartas Mariñas. (Boa-Do Fol, 1998, reprint).
Sinbad en Galicia. (Boa-Do Fol, 1998, reprint).

We invite you to discover more about his work on his Official Site

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