Sangre de Muérdago | Interview | “It possesses a unique spirit in its form”

Uncategorized June 20, 2024

Sangre de Muérdago | Interview | “It possesses a unique spirit in its form”

For more than 15 years, Sangre de Muérdago has carved out a distinctive presence in folk music, blending ancient Galician customs with daring musical ventures.

With their precise artistry and compelling performances, they beckon audiences into realms where music and enchantment converge, creating a profound impact on all who encounter their creative expression. Sangre de Muérdago has meticulously woven a narrative where magic transcends into reality, transforming campfire folk into chamber music. They demonstrate profound reverence and expertise in their musical heritage and origins, simultaneously ushering in fresh perspectives and heralding a new era of folk melodies destined to resonate through generations, as long as music endures in our world.

“It possesses a unique spirit in its form”

It must have felt great to have your album premiered at Roadburn 2023. Tell us about it. What kind of overall vision did you have when working on it?

Pablo Faro: Hi guys! Yes, what can I say, it felt absolutely great indeed. We felt very honored, excited, and motivated from the beginning. We started giving shape to the three performances as if they were different angles to look into the same energy or spirit. The three repertoires were well differentiated from each other, like presenting different chapters of one single narrative. The vision did not differ from what I picture when creating music or art any day—a curious vision that feeds on investigating and dedicating ourselves to the paths of our own story.

Can you share some further thoughts about the recording process?

We recorded the new album in our old studios in Leipzig, the same place as we did with ‘Xuntas’ or the split LP with Monarch. Pieces were recorded live by the whole ensemble, with the exception of voices and percussion, which we added later. But the core recording of every album of ours has always been done live.

How do you usually approach making music?

I would say I do it “naturally,” I believe, usually grabbing an instrument and playing it. The compositions often start on the guitar or the hurdy-gurdy. Each song begins to call forth its energies and shape from the beginning, and I often follow that inspiration towards the final form of each one.

Sangre de Muérdago has been active for several years now, and you have a lot of different albums under your belt. Tell us about ‘O vento que lambe as miñas feridas.’

‘O vento que lambe as miñas feridas’ is a very intimate album, partly reflecting the chapter I was experiencing in my own life. I believe it’s also because it’s the first album with just one plucked string instrument, due to the absence of the harp or second guitar present in previous albums.

Would you like to talk a bit about your background? How did you first get involved with music, and what led you to where you are today?

I have always loved music, and it has touched me deeply on many occasions throughout my life, including from a very early age. Besides playing the recorder as a child, I first became more involved in music through the DIY punk community in the 90s. We listened to diverse music, but we were active in squats and the hardcore punk underground. I started playing in different bands, exploring various styles of heavy music within the punk-metal spectrum—mostly guitar, but also drums or just singing. However, I always enjoyed my acoustic guitar at home on my own. So slowly, all those hours spent with the acoustic guitar and my thirst for any kind of emotional music led me to explore deeper sonic paths and landscapes. I’ve always learned from my peers and spent hours with instruments, and I believe the hurdy-gurdy has also reshaped much of my musical understanding over the last 10 years. It’s a very distinctive path to learning and composing music compared to the guitar, or at least it was in my case.

What do you think makes Galician folk music unique?

It possesses a unique spirit in its form, rooted in different traditions that have passed through centuries of trade, cultural exchange, and travel. I feel a distinctive spirit in Galician melodies among the various musical traditions of Europe. It has also had the fortune or strength to endure and evolve over time into its current form, with people dancing and playing it across the entire Galician region and beyond.

Would you like to talk about your influences?

They are as diverse and eclectic as they could be. I enjoy music from delicate lullabies to relentless political grindcore. Over the years composing music for Sangre de Muérdago, influences have come from classical music, psychedelic rock, traditional music from various cultures, punk, and rock.

Do you have any upcoming plans at the moment?

Currently, we’re booking dates for the rest of the year, finishing composing a new album we hope to record in the fall, releasing collaborations with Judasz&Nahimana on a 12” vinyl, re-pressing ‘O camiño das mans valeiras’ on vinyl, working on returning to Asia as well, and always developing new ideas and projects—busy enough.

Are any of you involved in other bands or active side-projects at this point?

Xurxo has been working on his solo project ColdWorld for about two decades; I believe that’s his only active side project at the moment. Xoel and I recently started a traditional music project called Bombus Bombus, and I’m also plugging my amps back in for a new rock band. Saúl is very active in various bands and orchestras performing classical and early music.

Let’s end this interview with some of your favorite albums. Have you discovered anything new lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Artist: Some of my favorites include Black Sabbath, Ill Wicker, Hedningarna, Efrén López, Comus, Amebix… Recently, I’ve been enjoying new music by artists like Constantinople, Hällas, Cabra, Bell Witch, Hania Rani…

Thank you for your time. The last word is yours.

Thank you guys for your interest. All the best to you, and thank you for the work you do!

Klemen Breznikar

Headline photo: Lugdivine Unfer

Sangre de Muérdago Official Website / Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp / YouTube

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