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The Project

Amigas Cantan / Girlfriends Sing

Ay Linda Amiga (Oh Dearest Lady)

Oh dearest Lady,
I will not see you again

Your beautiful body

This pain leads me to death

There is no love without suffering
No suffering without pain

No pain is so severe

Like love.

(Anonymous, 16th century Spain)

Ay triste que vengo (Oh I'm So Sad)

Oh I'm so sad
Defeated by love

I, a poor shepherd!

(Juan del Encina) From a song book,1468 to 1529

These two songs are folk songs from the Spanish Renaissance. They originated in a time when Spain had risen to power in the Christian world . The reconquest of the country by the Catholics was consummated by the capture of the last Moorish stronghold in Granada in 1492 - just as Christopher Columbus was discovering America in the name of the Spanish Crown

Ay triste que vengo

Ay linda amiga


In Musical terms, the Renaissance was not exclusively concentrated in Spain but also throughout Europe, with the unanimity of the Western voice classification system, namely: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. This classification is now standard in choral arrangements, such as in 'Ay Linda Amiga' and 'Ay triste que vengo', which are vocal polyphonic songs. These songs are known today throughout Spain and are sung by many choirs. 

'Ay Linda Amiga' ('Oh, Dearest Lady') is a 16th Century song from anonymous origins. It sings of the pain, and the impossibility of unrequited love. 'Ay triste que vengo' ('Oh, I'm So Sad') is also a love song, which recalls a shepherd's love for a strange and unattainable woman.  It was written by Juan del Encina, a priest, composer, poet and playwright. Born in 1468 near Salamanca, he worked at several Spanish courts and churches in Spain and Italy, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and was, in his final years, the Prior of the Diocese of Leon at St. James. He died circa. 1529 / 1530 and was buried in his home town of Salamanca.  Spiritual works of del Encina have not survived in written form.  In addition to his well-known dramas, such as 'Placida y Victoriano' are many secular dance songs like 'Ay triste que vengo' -  a Pavane. Pavane is a slow, processional dance of Spanish-Italian origin, which flourished during the Renaissance.

Amigas Cantan (Girlfriends Sing) are a Spanish women's choir, comprising of eleven singers who met whilst singing in a preceding choir. A new ensemble of effervescent Spanish and Spanish-affiliated* singers was formed, exuberantly performing Spanish folk music under the guidance of a teacher from the northern Spanish Navarre. This was not least because he had a rich pool of traditional music to draw upon, which he expanded on constantly. His living room was a 'core of preservation' for Spanish song tradition, which is where the choir rehearsals took place. The choir disbanded in 2008 but reformed in time for the 'Heimatlieder' project, in order to make a concerted and lasting contribution to Spanish music!