Xabier Díaz & Adufeiras de Salitre: Noró

September 4, 2019

Sense of Direction

Listening Post 217. In an introductory prose-poem, Xabier Díaz identifies Noró as the north wind—with previous incarnations as stone and as woman—who fell in love with an Irishman peering at the cliffs of Galway. As wind, Noró dominates humankind because she controls the fine melodic threads we call air and entices us with music. The legend gives a binary sense of a single direction: North, describing Galicia, Díaz’s home at the top of Iberia’s map; and also the region’s affinity for Celtic lands with which it shares no linguistic link—Galician, in which most of the album is performed, is a Romance tongue—but nurtures ties of identity and culture. Díaz is a singer, composer, folklorist and master of pandeireta (Galician tambourine). Noró is his second album with the women’s ensemble Adufeiras de Salitre, who sing and play adufe (a square Portuguese tambourine) and the album explores traditional songs from Galicia’s villages and small towns. The 13 tracks celebrate communal song and dance and describe spinning in circles to forget or sometimes find love, all the while displaying cultural influences from near and far as well as distinctly local tableaus. Voices and movement range from relaxed to dizzying joy in O baile de Noró (Noró’s Dance, video 1), while enchanting unison conveys shifting emotions in Mazurcas de Noró (Noró’s Mazurka, video 2). Díaz is philosophical in Amor con amor se paga (Love Compensates with Love, video 3) and carefree in Voa o aire (Flying in the Wind, video 4). Even in a collection of songs about singing, there’s a special insouciance to No pido licencia a nadie (I Don’t Ask Anyone’s Permission), one of two album tracks sung in Spanish (video 5). In legend and to the beat of real feet in the village square, Noró has a refreshing and irresistible sense of direction. (Músicas de Salitre)

Noró (Algunhas músicas do norte)/Noró (Songs from the North)
Xabier Díaz: Vocals, percussion
Gutier Álvarez: Hurdy-gurdy, violin
Javier Álvarez: Diatonic accordion
Cristina Pico: Vocals, percussion
Iria Penabad: Vocals. percussion
Montse García-Santamarina: Vocals, percussion
Patricia Gamallo: Vocals, percussion
Maite López: Vocals, percussion
Noemi Basanta: Vocals, percussion
Carolina Vázquez: Vocals, percussion
Bea Mariño: Vocals, percussion
Lidia Sanmartín: Vocals, percussion
Gisela Sanmartín: Vocals, percussion
Mariña Garcia: Vocals, percussion
Icía Sanmartín: Vocals, percussion
Paco Dicenta: Bass


O baile de Noró/Noró’s Dance
(from the Galician lyrics)
Help me sing/help me desire
Help me sing/or I will go mad

That dancer/how pretty she is
Spinning, turning/on the tip of her toe

Dance, girls, dance/your dancing gives me joy
Were it not for your dancing/I would have no purpose on this earth.

First you sing, next you dance/then your light step
makes my head spin/my hands on the tambourine.

You sing and you sing more/Singers have to sing
I have a treasure chest that’s full/and a bag to untie

This is my farewell/After today I won’t sing another song
The ladies who hear me/One year from today will hear me again


Mazurcas de Noró/Noró’s Mazurka
(from the Galician lyrics)
I have to sing, I have to laugh/I must be a happy woman
I have to send my sadness/to the devil to be carried away.

Oh come on, oh come on/they come, they go
Those dancers/where do they come from?

Who told you, who told you/what I washed in the creek?
“Knowing not to sing/On the footpath”

“And what was that like?/What was to be?
I danced the mazurka/to meet you”

From Green Oak from the mountain/cold water does not flow
What he has to say to me/he has to say forever

If once there was faithful love/so much to be desired
Nowadays love/comes and goes

I went dancing the mazurka to forget
And my eyes do nothing but look for you


Amor con amor se paga/Love Compensates with Love
(from the Galician lyrics)
My love, when you go/leave me a reminder:
At the foot of a green oak/a sign of hope.

Goodbye, my dear/to mourn I wiped a tear
I didn’t think falling in love/would cost me so much

Remember you told me/in that conversation
That the world might end/but your fidelity does not

If you want me, you’ll love me/not wanting me, there is nothing
Forget, Forget/Love compensates with love


Voa o aire/Flying in the Wind
(from the Galician lyrics)
I have no bread to eat/nor wine to drink
Nor have I where to sleep/but I couldn’t be richer.

I have gold, I have silver/I have boiler and covers
I’m well provided with everything/It’s only in love that am I poor

Fly in the wind, fly the wind/Just as the air flies, the wind blows
So do my thoughts.

I slipped, fell into the mud/and quickly got up
I shook my bonnet/in the same way I fell.

I wanted to roll a cigarette/so I would not lose the habit
and I noticed I didn’t have/tobacco, paper or matches

There is no song in the world/that does not have its memorable refrain
No one will ever notice/What they don’t have in their hands.

Why climb so high/daring thought?
Why climb so high/if you’ll have to go down again?


No pido licencia a nadie/I Don’t Ask Anyone’s Permission
(from the Spanish lyrics)
To start singing/I don’t ask anyone’s permission
It’s up to me/to sing on the street.

And here I start to sing/here I sing the first song
I’ll get to the second one/I’ll sing any song I want.

The first one has passed/the second is due
he third iss for me/the fourth is for the girl

Here comes the farewell/and four are already in the air
If you want to sing/You have to prepare your voice.



  1. Stephanie P Ledgin

    Exquisite, dynamic, emotional music. Reminds me of the fantastic Galician group Milladoiro (whose concert many years ago) still ranks as one of the best I’ve ever attended).

    • atigay

      Hi Stephanie, Nice to hear from you! I’d like to review one of Milladoiro’s albums. They released an enchanting one last year (Atlántico) but it was almost entirely instrumental and my site’s defining characteristic is the focus on language. Hoping for another chance. And I would love to see them in person.
      Best regards,

      • spledgin

        I’ve been quietly reading your posts without commenting, trying to get back full steam into my own music writing (more books including my 50-year retrospective). I have not heard any of Milladoiro’s more recent albums and the concert was a lifetime ago, to be precise, 1993! I hope you get the chance to review and see them in concert, as I too would love a repeat performance! Please check out my web site to see my latest (and delayed) “doings.” Best regards to you as well, Stephanie (http://ledgin.com)

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