Just two guys playing and that’s all there is to it | Revista independiente de música

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Just two guys playing and that’s all there is to it

The song Hagamos algo de ruido made it very clear that Los Hermanos Cubero (the Cubero brothers) have an ambition: transferring their particular union of blue grass and Castilian folk to modern Madrid. Two albums later, they seem to have managed to do so: «Well, to modern Madrid and I would say, even to the whole Iberian Peninsula and partly abroad», Enrique jokes, the band’s main voice and guitarist. Roberto is in charge of playing the mandolin in a proposal which is thought to be played live. «Playing at the Plaza Real in Barcelona with the audience there is there… Playing a seguidilla or a corrido and having people singing and, even, trying to dance to it, it is very satisfactory», Enrique points out.

The past second of August they played in Úbeda, a town in Jaén, in a square, a perfect enclave for a night organized by the guys of the Asociación Corriente Alterna, in which Pelo Mono, partially from Úbeda, also played.

Some people dared to timidly dance the traditional songs included in the Hermanos Cubero’s setlist. In their albums, their own songs alternate with adaptations of the Castilian anthology to their style. In 2010, they published Cordaineros de la Alcarria, and last year Flor de Canciones arrived, their second album in which they included diverse collaborations. In the middle, the EP with Carajillo Records came, which starts with the fun La Calle Abajo, a song they also played during the show.

The Project combines two very minority styles, bluegrass and Castilian folk. The fusion of the two gives it a particular identity that feels more contemporary. «None of the two styles attracts the audience separately. Neither bluegrass attracts the audience, nor does traditional folk music. But, for some reason we do not know, it seems there’s something about what we do», observes Roberto.

From bluegrass, they implement its technique in the instrumental part: guitar and mandolin. Roberto stresses the power of the genre, as well as its simplicity: «It talks about the same thing blues does, but it does so in a different way, and in a way which also has strength». Opposite to the apparent disdain there is for traditional Castilian folk, Enrique defends: «The outsider a priori gets a better reception. Folklore has a certain…», «…it carries a burden of prejudice», completes Roberto, “however, it is a kind of music which has many resources and tools».

Beyond the styles they come from, they get to produce music which feels like their own and has little to do with those genres, a starting point more than an aim itself. «What is clear is that whoever comes to listen to bluegrass, will not get bluegrass, because what we do is not exactly that, and whoever comes to listen to traditional music, will not find traditional music either, because it is not. It is true that there is a traditional setlist, as there is a bluegrass technique, but adapted to other things», explains Enrique.

Playing live, jokes alternate between one song and the next one, as well as references to their last album, Flor de Canciones, an album in which they feel more “liberated”: «In the first one we had a clear consciousness of what we wanted to do and it was captured very literally. The songs sound very bluegrass and folk. In the second album there is an evolution in the sense that the songs are a little freer. Perhaps, neither of those things are so discernible anymore» explains Enrique.

Despite the albums, they defend that the essence of their music is the live performance. «Folk music is to play with people and share it», clarifies Roberto. «The way in which the albums are recorded is as if they had been played live. The second album is recorded live at home. The concept is that in the album, what we’ve really been playing live, is captured». With no more resources than two microphones, instruments and voices, the live show of the Hermanos Cubero is the raison d’être for their project. Just as Roberto points out: «Our music is just two guys playing and that’s all there is to it. Less is more».

Translation by Irene Soto.