Juan José de Mur Bernad, in addition to his extensive work as a musician, musicologist and composer, has the merit of being the great compiler, conservator and promoter of the traditional music of the Alto Aragón. In 1970 he published the Altoaragonese Songbook, which contained a hundred traditional folk songs from the Alto Aragón transcribed in music and harmonized by himself. In 1986 he published the Popular Songbook of the Province of Huesca, an extensive work that has been the reference of scholars and interpreters of folklore in the province for more than 30 years. As if this were not enough, in 2015 he enlarges his first ethnomusical work with the publication of the Popular altoaragonese songbook, containing the musical and, where appropriate, literary transcription of 452 popular melodies from Alto Aragón. This gigantic documentary work has been the source from which scholars, curious, researchers and musicians, Aragonese and from abroad, have drunk, and it has been the path through which we have all known this rich musical legacy.
For these reasons it is more than deserved the tribute that the group Olga y los Ministriles has carried out with its last disc, titled precisely Homenajje a Juan José de Mur. Olga y los Ministriles adapts some of the musical themes picked up by Mur in his songbooks, carefully chosen and combined: jotas, albadas, children’s songs, popular dances, dance melodies… selected with great taste, with elegant arrangements and a magnificent interpretation, since the regular staff of the group (Olga Orús, Salvador Cored, Josu Ubierna, Antonio Orús, Sergio Rodrigo, Jesús Prades, Jairo Périz and Virginia Costea) have joined some (but not all) of the musicians who have worked these songs regularly or have enriched them with contributions from different musical or geographical areas: Mariano Pascual, Miguel Ángel Fraile, Antonio Viñuales, Ángel Vergara, Sergio Iguacel, Silvia Cored, Mikelo, Kepa Junquera, Eliseo Parra and La Ronda de Boltaña.
Olga y los Ministriles, both in their current stage and in their previous project, Hato de Foces, have been characterized by their ability to select the most beautiful songs from the Aragón songbooks, embellishing them even more with their lucid musical arrangements. With the same good taste they have elaborated this disc tribute to Juan José de Mur.
Although, as a counterpart, Olga Orús and Salvador Cored announce on this record the end of an extensive stage (40 years) of recreation and popularization of traditional Altoaragonesa music, we will have to trust that their intention is no more than one of those New Year’s resolutions that we renew year after year, and we hope to see you and hear you soon at the helm of this or another project with similar traits, a field in which they have amply demonstrated their mastery and good work.