At each square along the way, the bands joined hands in circular groups and danced to the melancholic voice of a single female singer, moving in and out to the verse then joining in with the chorus, crowds included, before the pipes and drums took over, and the circles broke into swirling couples. Some of the songs were sad and haunting, tales of hard lives living off the land and sea, of poverty and rebellion, lost love and tragedy but others were joyful with an infectious beat. Larger bands had pennants, carried proudly before the musicians, each embroidered with their name and symbol, matching those on the men’s waistcoats. The afternoon drifted past in a musical tour of Oviedo as we watched the different bandas des gaitas
perform in the streets.
Catching the FEVE
to the next stage of our trip, we followed the members of one band down the escalator to the train, their traditional attire strangely at odds with the modern design of the platform. Sitting in a carriage of pointed hats, clogs and bagpipes as the train trundled through fields of cows and hórreos
(granaries on stone pillars) we definitely felt that we had seen a glimpse of life in this fascinating region of Spain.
All images courtesy of Selina Lovell (bighomebird.blogspot.com