Learn more about Celtic music of Spain, and be sure to listen to the end for an engaging interview.
About Carlos Núñez
“Pipe music as if played by a Coltrane or a Hendrix.” - Guardian
Núñez is one of Galicia’s most revered artists, undisputed as the tradition’s greatest piper. He is also enormously popular across the rest of Spain and throughout Europe and Latin America. He had a Number One hit and his records regularly attain gold and platinum status in Spain, while worldwide he has sold over a million albums. He is already known in Irish music thanks to his early “adoption” by The Chieftains (so close was his musical and personal connection he was dubbed “The Seventh Chieftain”). He played on many of the acclaimed Irish group’s CDs including Treasure Island, The Long Black Veil, the Grammy winning Santiago (inspired by Galician music), Mexican project San Patricio, and their latest release, Voice of Ages.
Núñez has been a solo artist since 1996, and has a long list of collaborations. His releases feature a who’s who of international performers, starting with his 1996 debut, the aptly titled Brotherhood of Stars, which had over 50 guests (80 performers appeared on his 1999 release, Os Amores Libres). With platinum sales in Spain, Brotherhood was a remarkable breakthrough for both Núñez and Galician music. Nuñez followed with Mayo Longo (2000), Todos Os Mundos (2002), Finisterre: The End of the Earth (2003), Carlos Núñez in Concert (2004), Cinema Do Mar (2006) and Alborada Do Brasil (2009).
His first performance in the U.S. was with The Chieftains in the record-breaking 1994 Carnegie Hall “Daltrey Sings Townshend” concert. (”Quite an introduction,” he laughs.) He also toured the U.S. with The Chieftains and did a few solo dates in 2005; then his career took off in Europe and Latin America.
He’s the undisputed master of Galicia’s signature musical instrument, the gaita, or Galician bagpipes. “What the flamenco guitar is to the south, the gaita is to the north,” he explains. “The pipes have been here for over a thousand years. Everyone knows Scottish bagpipes and Irish uillean pipes, but now they are supposed to be the descendants of the Galician pipes.” The gaita is musically more flexible than its Irish and Scottish relations, and in the hands of Núñez — who also plays pennywhistle, ocarina, Jew’s harp, tin whistle and flute — an exciting and funky 21st century instrument. “People say I play the pipes like the electric guitar!” he says.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“One of the world’s most exciting, and most serious, musicians.” - BBC
“If it’s possible to become a pop star playing the bagpipes, Núñez could be the man.” - L.A. Times