The Rise of a Culture | Preface
Every landscape hides a history. Profound, veiled, and unique, created by a constant metamorphosis, in this ever-flowing river we call time. Bathed by a hope which has renewed itself each and every dawn, it comes to light as an overlap of all moments and lives that decided to be, in that place, a new detail in the landscape.
And, while mankind dominated chronological time and entertained itself compiling the narration of all eras into their chronicles, it did not notice that it was being dominated by a time ancient Greeks called kairós. Impossible to delimitate, subjective, and personal, offering each spatial plane an unparalleled character, as a thread behaving of its own accord in the great loom of life.
Thus arises, in every place, a singular culture, with specific traits, that absorbs every moment in which something or someone imposes itself. 218 BC and 711 AD may seem mere insignificant dates. However, amidst these and many more historical milestones, a cultural heritage, passed on from generation to generation, transformed itself, transcending and overlooking the frail political and religious boundaries. For culture is not conquerable, nor can it be annihilated in its entirety. Nonetheless, it mingles. It adapts.
Albaluna – A Crescent Moon | Biography
Albaluna, a six-piece Portuguese band founded in 2010, led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Ruben Monteiro, emerged from that fertile fusion of planes. The group dedicates itself to musical, historical and cultural research and to the creation and arrangement of musical pieces. Mainly original, these are highly inspired by the cultural continuum which unites the peoples around the Mediterranean Sea and the three cultures that define the civilisational heritage of the Iberian Peninsula.
Using as many antique instruments from various parts of the world as modern instruments, the six musicians present an energetic show, full of distinct musical aromas, embracing multiple genres, such as world music, prog rock and metal, folk, and fusion.
At the end of 2010 Albaluna presented their first record D’Antes, produced by the band itself. Undoubtedly inspired by Iberian traditional and medieval repertoire, it was cemented throughout a whole season of historical reenactment acts.
In the summer of 2012, during the Medieval Fair of Óbidos, the EP Marca Antiga, composed by Ruben Monteiro and produced by himself and the bands' sound technician Tiago Gomes, came to life.
In 2014 they presented the entirely original full-length album Alvorada da Lua. The performance of the song “Anascer” won the international “Show of the Day” prize, attributed by Balcony TV.
July 2016 saw the release of their third album, entitled Nau dos Corvos. This record clearly demonstrates a shift in the band’s sound, carried out by member changes and knowledge acquisition. Thus Albaluna arrived to a safe haven, influenced by Turkish and Balkan music. The Nau dos Corvos tour reached multiple countries, including Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and India.
To commemorate the first anniversary of that album the group released the EP Nau dos Corvos – Lado B, comprising prog metal and alternate versions of previously released songs. One of them, “Hija Mía”, features Helena Madeira, a Portuguese world music singer. This EP gave birth to a new and heavier version of the band, the “prog metal meets ethnic music” show.
The last year of the Nau dos Corvos tour (2018) stood out for its intensity and diversity concerning new stages. In October 2018 the band was involved in an Indian tour which lasted eighteen days. This journey across New Delhi, Kolkata, Tepantar and Kalimpong included many concerts and collaborations with Indian musicians.
In January 2019 Albaluna presented, at the Quimera Brewpub in Lisbon, the new single and music video. Gargull, the name of that song, marked the beginning of the band's new era. That year Albaluna's international performances included India, Morocco, France, China, Spain, and Montenegro. In October they released the ethnic prog album Amor, Ira & Desgosto ("Love, Wrath & Grief"), from which originated a conceptual and triparted spectacle which wove poetry, through the Portuguese word, with music, dedicated to so many influences, from Turkish music to progressive rock.
In 2020 the band released an album, Rotas Romani, based on the Roma diaspora throughout the world; and the EP Ensemble Intercultural, a collaboration with the immigrant community of Torres Vedras.
This year also saw the creation, recording and preparation of a new concept, album, and show. Heptad, to be released in the spring of 2021, is a profound catharsis in which the band exposes an introspective journey inspired by the ancient cultures of the Silk Roads. An intense and boundless piece which combines music, poetry and dance.
Albaluna’s performances, on both national and international grounds, reveal an already vast and rich artistic course. These names stand out:
.Festival Sierra Celta | Cortegana, Spain | 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
.Pipes & Whistles | Berlin, Germany | 2016
.Montelago Celtic Festival | Montelago, Italy | 2016
.Teatro Reina Sofia | Zuera, Spain | 2016
.Festival Medieval | Zalamea la Real, Spain | 2017, 2018 and 2019
.FolkHerbst Malzhaus | Plauen, Germany | 2018
.International Ethnic and Folklore Festival | New Delhi, India | 2018
.Darjeeling Kalimpong Folk Festival | Kalimpong, India | 2018
.Udaipur World Music Festival | Udaipur, India | 2019
.Festival Encontro de Música Céltica | Alcalá de Henares, Spain | 2019
.Festival Maritim | Bremen, Germany | 2019
.Tivat World Festival | Tivat, Montenegro | 2019
.Tal Guit’art Festival | Agadir, Morocco | 2019
.Macao International Youth Music Festival | Macao, China | 2019
.Iglesia de Santiago de Ribadavia | Ribadavia, Spain | 2019
.Convento Aracoeli | Alcácer do Sal | 2018
.Igreja de Santiago | Torres Vedras | 2017
.Igreja de São Pedro | Castelo Branco | 2018
.Igreja de São Pedro | Marialva | 2018 and 2019
.Cine Incrível | Almada | 2017, 2018 and 2019
.Festival Geada | 2012
.O Bom, o Mau e o Vilão | Lisboa | 2019
.Quimera Craft Music Festival | Lisboa | 2019 and 2020
.Festival Míscaros | Alcaide | 2017 and 2019
.Teatro da Luz | Lisboa | 2014
.Feira de Artesanato da Maia | 2018
.Teatro-Cine de Torres Vedras | 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020
.Festas do Sobral de Monte Agraço | 2017
.Entrudo Chocalheiro | 2012
.Casa do Fauno | Sintra | 2018
.Festival Terra Transmontana | Mogadouro | 2014
.Festival 5 Elementos | Oeiras | 2012
.Pópulus Music Festival | CCC Caldas da Rainha | 2013
.Festival de Música Tradicional de Macedo de Cavaleiros | 2019
.Festival Salva-a-Terra | Salvaterra do Extremo | 2013
.Festival do Caldo | Quintandona | 2014
.Festival do Pão | Mafra | 2012
.Festival de Música Celta de Viana do Castelo | Viana do Castelo | 2010
.Festival Andanças | 2013
.Festival Ocean Spirit | Santa Cruz | 2010 and 2019
.Varas Folk Fest | Leça do Balio | 2015
.Festa Nª Srª da Nazaré | Montengrão | 2012
.1000 Diabos à Solta | Vinhais | 2019
.Casino da Figueira da Foz | 2013
All Sides of the Moon | Concept
The band’s concept is based on a permanent dialogue between ancient and contemporary music. The timbres pertaining to antique instruments, such as the bagpipes, the hurdy-gurdy or the medieval vielle, blended with those of present-day instruments, such as the drums and the electric bass, allow a vast range of sound which work together for a common purpose.
This project embraces age-old traditions, profoundly engraved in the history of a culture which, albeit heterogeneous and separated by geographic, political, and religious frontiers, reveals common traits and habits.