Music of Extremadura

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Extremadura is a region in Spain near Portugal. Its folk music can be characterized by a melancholy sound, and Portuguese influences, as well as the predominance of the zambomba drum (similar to Brazilian cuica), which is played by pulling on a rope which is inside the drum. There is also a rich repertoire of gaita (local name for a tabor pipe) music. Popular songs include: de ronda; de bodas; de quintos; de Nochebuena.[1] Jota is also common, here played with triangles, castanets, guitars, tambourines, accordions and zambombas.

There are few ethnomusicological recordings of Extremaduran music, with the most influential and well-known being by American researcher Alan Lomax.[2] Lomax went to Spain in 1952-3 to avoid persecution as a Communist and found some hostility from Spanish researchers, then in a period of great political upheaval. Lomax and his assistant, Jeanette Bell, did much of their recording in secret. A research centre for Spanish folk music existed in Extremadura before the Civil War, but details of its collection appear to have been lost.[3]

Extremadura has long been one of the poorest regions in the country. As a result, many of its people left to Latin America during the colonial era (1492-1820s), leaving a mark on Latin music.

Traditional Extremaduran dances include:


  • "The Spanish Recordings: Extremadura" (Various artists) (collected by Alam Lomax) (Rounder, 2002)


  1. ^ Fernandez-Nufiez, Manuel (1944). Lyrica popular de la Alta Extremadura (in Spanish). Madrid. pp. 5, 27–34.
  2. ^ "Sound collections guide". Association for Cultural Equity. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  3. ^ Katz, Israel J. (1974). "The Traditional Folk Music of Spain: Explorations and Perspectives". Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council. 6: 74. JSTOR 767726.

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