"Night in King Afonso’s Court"

        Malandança rises out of the farthest reaches of the land where the Way of Saint James comes to an end. And it rises up as an echo of music, word, flesh and stone.

        The members of Malandança undestand medieval music as an area in which the interpretation and research are interdependent issues. Worthless is the one wihout the other.

        In the recent decades the interest for early music has allowed us to recover ancient musical styles that were believed lost. Thanks to contributions from many performers, musicologists and historians over the years, the break in the performing tradition of styles such as baroque music was partially saved.

        This process of bringing back to life a music style  (many different styles, in fact) involves several factors: at first, the original scores, with all the information coming straight from the composer; then writings, treatises, annotations, letters with reference to musical events or any news on how to make music , and the context were it was made. And, of course, the musical instruments wich, with its virtues and defects, are the great teachers of the performers.

        In the case of medieval music, the disruption in the tradition is very wide. Eight hundred years separates us from the “orchestra” in the “Pórtico de la Gloria”; during this time so meny things happened, so many artistic and bellicose events, so much light and so much fire, so it is difficult to twenty-first century humans to imagine the music Alfonso X heard in some festivity, or in his tent, after a battle, or the consolation brought to him by the music of  minstrel, laying sick in bed, hugging the book of The Miracles of Santa María.

        From the research made by the undersigned, alone and in the company of others, on the medieval instruments captured in stone in the “Pórtico de la Gloria” of the Catedral of Santiago de Compostelana, and in the Palace of Xelmírez, a world was open, not only of sonorous instruments, rather one of ideas and voices from what we thought of as the far-off Middle Ages. Faced with that mystical and architectural splendor, we can only recall the other splendor, invisible: the music.

        Taking these instruments as maestros, we have been able to reconstruct their interpretive technic, their expressive possibilities and their capacity for virtuousity, in short, the sonorous ideal of a refined Medieval court. The Cantigas of Alfonso X, written in Galician-Portuguese, fruit of a specific culture: the Middle Ages of the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, where they would find their way, thanks to the long road of Saint James, the troubadour traditions from all over the Christian world and where even echos of the nearby Islam would arrive, this would be the ideal music so that our voices and strings might sound

         We united the troubadours’ music (who, imagining Paradise, invented love) to words (which created the world) and to images (which show us all), and in the same way as King Alfonso X, striving to learn, brought together rather than scorn what there was in his world, we too create this “Night in King Afonso’s Court”.

                Francisco Luengo

Recordare-Nembresete (C. 421)

Rosa das rosas (C. 10)

En todo tempo faz ben (C. 111)

Santa María amar devemos (C. 7)

A Virgen muy groriosa (C. 42)

Ontre todaslas vertudes (C. 323)


A Virgen Santa María (C. 8)

Rosa das rosas (C. 10)

and many more things…

María Giménez:

Charo Pita:

Xurxo Varela:

Francisco Luengo:

Felipe Sánchez:

Valentín Novio:

Manuel Vilas:

Conductor: Francisco Luengo

chant and percussion

chant and tale

chant and vyola


moorish guitar


medieval harp

Photo: Ángeles Burrel

"A Night in King Afonso’s Court"

Cantigas of Santa Maria of King Alfonso X

Ontre todalas vertudes


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