GRUPO FOLKLÓRICO "ALTO ARAGÓN" de JACA
Address: Apto Correos 23. JACA (Huesca) 22700. SPAIN
Tel/Fax: +34 974363838.
The Group "Alto Aragón" of Jaca has been the first group in investigating and broadcasting the best of Aragon's folklore, and particularly the songs and dances of our zone in the Pyrenees. We’re working in order to improve our performances, while keeping the tradition alive since 1975.
Our history starts in Jaca. In this city, in the center of the Pyrenees, in 1975 a group of people that had spent several years investigating and working with the authentic folklore, met together and formed the Grupo Folklórico "Alto Aragón". Actually, the group has over 64 members, and with our pupils, we are nearly 200 people. In our performances we combine the folklore of the 3 counties of Aragón but we also offer a sample of the dances of the mountains of our zone. These dances are not well known but very typical and different of the rest of Aragón. Each valley has its own caracteristics and identity. The variety of the costumes, dances and also the instruments played is evident.
Our folklore is extremely variated and interesting. Our repertory includes the popular "jota" that is played with castanets. This dance is very brave and energic. But we dance very different types of jotas. This is essential in our shows and diferenciates us respect to other groups that only dance one type of "jota". There are also different types of castanets and costumes depending on each "jota". Other types of dances and songs that we consider are: "palotiaus", "danzas", "boleros", "valses", "albadas", "mazurcas", "sobremesas", etc.
The "palotiau" is danced with a pair of sticks made of wood, and is very spectacular and vigorous. Same "palotiaus" are danced with castanets and also with "espedos". The "espedo" is a large iron-made stick, very similar to a sword and it was used in our towns to roast the meat. There are other components in the spectacle: ribbons, shawls, typical jackets, etc. The costumes are different also in each dance. The instruments played are: guitarres, accordions, mandolines, lutes, bass, "chiflo" (very similar to a flute with three holes), and "salterio" (a box made of wood with hand-made chords), and percussion: tambourines, bottles, drums, goat-skin bass drum, etc.
We have made a lot of performances in our region, and so in the rest of Spain.
We have also travelled abroad to take away our dances and musics: The continents where the group has stayed are Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
Numerous spectacles in the three counties of Aragon. We consider the most important ones: The Main Theater of Zaragoza. "La Romareda" Stade (Journeys of aragonese folklore). Pilar's Square (several performances in S.Jorge and Pilar's Days). Saint Lorenzo and Saint Jorge Festivities in Huesca. D.G.A's countrysides in all Aragón. Many shows organized by the DPH (Central Goverment of our county), EXPOZARAGOZA 2008.
Since our foundation, we have participated in all editions of the Festival International of the Pyrenees (Oloron and Jaca). More than 100 towns and villages visited in our zone, some ones, in several times. During each year, we are requested by the authorities of our towns to participate in many festivities and diverse activities offently.
We have danced in nearly all parts of Spain, including: Barcelona. (Expocultura 94). We were selected by the D.G.A (General Goverment of Aragon) to represent our region in this manifestation, Lérida, Navarra, Guadalajara, León, Zamora, Asturias, La Rioja, Lugo, Castellón, Vizcaya, Madrid, Burgos, A Coruña, Ciudad Real, Toledo, Gran Canaria, Pontevedra, Valencia, Murcia, Cantabria, Sevilla (EXPO'92). We were selected by the D.G.A (General Goverment of Aragon) to represent Aragon in this universal exposition.
Madrid. We have been dancing in the Mayor Square, in the worthy "San Juan Evangelista School", and in the Country House and San Sebastián de los Reyes.
Hannover ( Expo 2000)
In all these years, our group has been requested many times, and we have made multiple tournaments with continuous performances. We have visited more than 75 cities, including: Confolens (World Folklore Festival) twice. Oloron (International Festival of the Pyrenees). Amiens, Pau, Bayona, Biarritz, Rodez, Angoulemme, Nimes, Dieppe, Paris (Pleyel Hall and The "Musée de l'homme").
Other spectacles in cities and towns in all France: Las Landas, Costa Azul, Bretaña, Normandía, Pirineos Atlánticos, Centro de Francia, etc... (Many Folklore Festivals and Festivities).
We have participated in the 52e FOLKLORIADES INTERNATIONALES. This Festival takes place in Dijon and is one of the best Festivals in Europe. We were the first Spanish Group getting the first place and the GOLD MEDAL in 1998's edition.
Amsterdam (Selected to represent Aragon in the V anniversary of the Aragon´s House in the Netherlands and also for the Spanish Day Festivity (12 October)).
Copenhaguen (We got the Silver Rose Award in the Festival "People to People").
Bruxelles. ( Selected twice to represent our country in 12 October's Day and Sant George)
Schoten. (International Folklore Festival)
46º Festival Internacional de Gulpilhares
32º Festival Internacional de Vila Nova de Gáia
22º Festival Internacional Praia da Costa Nova - Ílhavo-Aveiro
Festa da Europa - Apúlia
33º Festival de Pé de Moura - Lomba
Festival Internacional de Vouzela.
London (We were invited to dance in the National British Folk Festival. We made 4 performances in the famous Theater "Royal Albert Hall". Another spectacle in the French College). Billinghan (International Folklore Festival).
San Juan de Puerto Rico (International Folklore Festival).
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
New York: (Spanish Week: Several performances in the Joyce Theater, Bryant School of Queens and the Spanish House in the USA).
New Jersey: (Essex Country College of Newark)
Drummondville: Mondial des Cultures 2001
Monterrey: (Festival Internacional “Fiestas de Santa Lucía 2006”)
San Luis de Potosí: (III Muestra Internacional de Folklore y Artes Tradicionales 2006)
Saltillo: (Festival Internacional Folklore 2006)
We were selected by the Spanish Goverment to make a tournament in Maroc, dancing in the main cities of this country: Casablanca, Tetuán, Tánger, Rabat, etc. In Rabat, the TV of Maroc emitted the full spectacle that we made in the Mohamed V Theater .
1999 Pingtung International Folklore Music and Dances Festival. Selected to represent Spain in this Festival.
C.I.O.F.F. 2nd World Folkloriada (2000).
We have recorded four CD, that contain an overwiev of nearly all of our folklore. They are named: "En recuerdo a unos valles" , "Pueblos y gentes", “Calandrias” y “Nueces y turrones, manzanas y peras”.Click here to listen some of our songs >>
During all of these years, our "investigation group" have made possible for us to recover songs, dances, paloteaos, jotas, romances, etc. The most important ones are The Dance de Sta Orosia de Jaca, (more than 60 years forgotten and recovered in 1979 by us) and The Paloteao de Sinués (more than 50 years off). We have a group of "danzantes" that depend on us, and dance this religious pieces each year in the processions of the Jaca's Festivities.
FOLKLORE'S STUDIES AND COURSES
We have participated in the famous Popular Music Latin-American Conference, celebrated in Madrid. We also have took part in the IV Popular Arts and Customs National Congress celebrated in Zaragoza. So, we have participated in several Folklore and Ethnology Activities, organized by the University of Zaragoza , in the Journeys about Folklore (V) that where included in the "Conoce Aragón" Cycle of Conferences, and in the XV Folklore Gallego Congress. Anyway, There are many activities thar we have made not so important and not included here.
We have also made recordings fot the Festivals of Zaragoza, Olorón, Confolens and Jaca. Many Radio Channels have asked us for some recordings. The most famous are: RNE, Radio Zaragoza, Radio Zamora, Radio Huesca, Radio Jaca. Out of Spain, we have recorded songs for differents channels in France and UK. In November of 1983, Radio Popular de Zaragoza (COPE) emitted a special program dedicated to our VIII anniversary. It took more than 1 hour. Speaking about the TV, differents TV channels in France, UK, Porto Rico, USA, Canada, Taiwan R.O.C., Japan, México, Portugal and Maroc, and so TVE and Aragón Televisión, have emitted our dances.
In our school, we work with the youths and adults of our city and zone. These boys will be the new components of the group, selecting the best ones. At this moment, we have more than 100 pupils.
Aragonese Folklore Festival "Virgen de la Cueva": We organize, each year since 1979, a Folklore Festival with our pupils.
Traditional Aragonese Games: In the Resurrection Sunday, there was a tradition: The Billas Game, and it was played in many streets of Jaca. Each year, we organize a competition, in order to show this forgotten game.
Divulgation Activities: Speeches, Slides, Media articles, etc...
For any doubt or question, just contact us by Fax or E-Mail.
We have a diversity of dances that allow us to offer an unique spectacle. In Aragon, there are many types of jotas depending on the zone or area. We dance "fast jotas", very spectacular and caracteristic of the South of Aragon, and "slower jotas", very typical in our mountains where the costumes are heavier and more difficult to wear. The coreography is very different in each dance.
Another type of dances are the paloteaos, played with castanets, sticks, and espedos. Each paloteao involves different costumes and also different accesories, (roses in the player's hands, ribbons, etc.)
But that's not enough, because we have in our spectacle, another type of dances, called "danzas" and played only with accordion and percussion. The typical hats are different from the dances explained above, and also the clothes and the way of wearing them, the "shoes" that are made from animal skin, etc.
Finally, we have mainly another kind of dance that is called the "Bolero". There are many boleros with their proper caracteristics and costumes depending on the area of Aragon. There are also, "Stile Jotas", that are not danced and only singed by our singers. This is very typical in Aragon, and there are a lot of competitions of singers. There are a lot of ways of singing: only one man, a woman, a couple, a group, religious songs, party songs, etc.
We don't make copies, because we try to get the same textures used by our ancestors. Our olders have showed us everything about the design, the making and the mainteinance of their dresses. Another important thing is the hairstyle of the girls and the way of wearing our typical hats and hairshawls in certain dances.
We keep a great variety of costumes. The people of the Pyrenees lived isolated in winter and each valley kept their proper costumes. These costumes are very heavy but majestic and are composed of multiple clothes, weared superposed. The costumes are different depending on the day's moment and the purpose (party, religious, work, etc.). There are a lot of variety of colors. This, makes a better spectacle for the people.
Each costume is more than 1000 $ worth, and our full collection is valued in more than 70.000 $US.
GRUPO FOLKLÓRICO "ALTO ARAGÓN"
Apartado Correos, nº 23
C/ Madrid, 3. 22700 JACA - Huesca ESPAÑA
Telf.- Fax: + 34 974363838