The Cubero Brothers

Here’s a fun story from Spain. We heard from Roberto Cubero, who performs along with his brother Enrique as Los Hermanos Cubero (The Cubero Brothers). Roberto plays mandolin and Enrique guitar, and they recently won first prize in the Premio Europeo Nueva Creación de Folklore Agapito Marazuela, a competition in celebration of noted Spanish folklorist Agapito Marazuela.

The brothers also have a bluegrass band, The R.C Brothers, with hermano Ernesto on banjo.

Roberto sent along some information about the contest and the music he plays with his brothers, plus an sample from one of the songs they played in the contest, a variation on a Spanish dance form dedicated to Bill Monroe.

“We’ve been enjoying the music of Bill Monroe and other bluegrass artists, classic and contemporary, since our teenage days, and its a big influence for us.

As Los Hermanos Cubero we play traditional music from Castilla (a region of Spain), and we find it to be very similar to bluegrass in the use of scales and feeling, but with slightly different rhythmic accentuation. I play it with ‘American mandolin’ because I fell in love with its voice since the first time I listen to Bill Monroe about 15 years ago, and then I decided to change my Spanish laud for the mandolin.

In the competition can participate musicians from all over Europe doing any kind of folk music, and is restricted to do two tunes from Agapito Marazuela and an original tune. Organized by the City Council of the birthplace of Agapito Marazuela, (a folklorist which saved the ancient traditional music of Castilla from being forgotten, literally) is intended to advance the innovation and growth of folk and to keep alive the memory of Marazuela.”

The original song the brothers chose for Premio Europeo Nueva Creación de Folklore Agapito Marazuela is entitled Jota para Bill Monroe. Roberto says that a Jota is a Spanish dance in 6/8 time, not unlike the Irish jig form familiar to bluegrass and old time musicians, and it is interesting to hear this mix of Castillian folk music and Monroe’s distinctive mandolin style.

Jota para Bill Monroe: []

If your Spanish is solid, you can read more about the Marazuela contest online.

More music from both Los Hermanos Cubero and The R.C Brothers can be found on MySpace. Roberto says that he is a daily reader of Bluegrass Today, and we are pleased to highlight the music of he and his brothers.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.