On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Carlos Núñez – A irmandade das estrelas (1996)
Carlos Núñez Muñoz (born 1971) is a Galician musician and multi-instrumentalist who plays the gaita, the traditional Galician bagpipe, Galician flute, ocarina, Irish flute, whistle and low whistle. Nuñez was born in 1971 in Vigo, Galicia. He began playing the bagpipes when he was eight years old.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and making our way back to Europe and to the Iberian Peninsula. Galicia is located in the northwest of Spain and is home to its own traditions, culture and language separate from the rest of Spain. Born in 1971, Carlos Núñez plays a variety of instruments, including a gaita, which is a Galician variant of bagpipes. We join Núñez in 1996 with the release of his debut album, A irmandade das estrelas and 1001 Songs have gone with the title track.
A irmandade das estrelas translates as Brotherhood of Stars and is a purely instrumental number. Galicia is grounded in Celtic traditions and that comes through in the music here. What the title refers to is unclear but you are too absorbed in the music to really worry about it. Carlos Núñez began playing the gaita when he was 8 years old and today he is the most famous performer of the instrument in the world and has popularised it beyond Galician shores. This song is full of energy and passion throughout.
I learned a lot from researching Carlos Núñez. I was not familiar with him, nor Galicia’s autonomy from the rest of Spain, nor the gaita but I feel well informed now. A irmandade das estrelas may not sound like music you would expect to reach a wide audience, but Núñez defies such limitations and both this song and his debut proved very popular. He continues to wow crowds with his instrumental versatility to this day.
Favourite songs so far: