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CORNALUSA: „Thank You MOONSPELL for making us a part of Your Lisboa Under the Spell”!

Slovenská verzia TU

Their weapons are bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, davul and bouzouki. They mostly play medieval fares and festivals… At least that was the case till February 4th, 2017 when they had a unique chance to perform for thousands of metalheads. Such is the story of CORNALUSA, a Portuguese band, that fascinated Fernando Ribeiro from MOONSPELL in a way that he invited them to play at MOONSPELL’s special show which was released on DVD “Lisboa Under the Spell” only few weeks ago.

Hello guys (or should I say Tumbalumba? 🙂 )! Could you please share basic facts about CORNALUSA?
Hello Rock Hard Slovakia! How did You ever come across that story about Tumbalumba?! That is a song name of our latest album. And all because a little girl couldn’t pronounce our name so she called us by the rhythm, a 6/8, she heard on the first song of our first album. So it is our tribute to her 😉
Well some basic facts about CORNALUSA: we exist because there´s this tradition in Portugal where a bagpiper will go around the village with two percussionists announcing and gathering funds for the village´s yearly big fest. So Emanuel’s grandfather had such a group where Emanuel started playing the bagpipe when he was 13. Luís was doing the conservatory on classical guitar, and it just made sense to join some kind of string instrument with this amazing melody maker that is the bagpipe. After that things just took off, we started doing all kinds of events, medieval themed, street performing, sports events, bars, concerts,… You name it, it has all culminated in this participation in that epic MOONSPELL night where those three mythic albums were played back to back. And we had the honor of playing in between the changes of sets! It is necessary to mention that we were fans ever since we were 15 and knew almost every song by heart so when we were invited we never had a second thought about it!

Our magazine specializes in rock and metal music so we are familiar with the beauty of these genres. What’s the beauty of medieval music? Why did you choose this genre?
What happened to us regarding this choice was that we already worked with theater companies in these historical recreation events because the instruments we played fitted these scenarios. So we started out by taking some known ancient melodies and we would do our own thing with it. But because we have lots of influences, including rock and metal, again this kind of fusion just made sense for us since day one. And then when we started writing our own songs it just build from there, it is still being built 😉

What instruments do you play?
So, at our performance in Lisbon Under the Spell Rui played the davul which is a turkish two tone kind of drum, Luís played the irish bouzouki, Raquel and Emanuel both played on portuguese bagpipes, also Emanuel switched between the pipe and a hurdy gurdy.

If I’m correct, you have released two albums. Where can we get your albums?
Yes, You are very correct. We released the first called “Cornalusa” in 2012 and last year the second, called “Isto Era Para Ser Medieval” which translates to: “This Was Supposed To Be Medieval” and evokes precisely all the different influences we have on our music.  As to where You can find our albums: with us. Best is to email us at Cornalusa@gmail.com We did release the first one on Spotify already.

You play at medieval fares and festivals mostly. Many of them take place at beautiful castles. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever played at?
Oh, this is a complicated question, the other day we were counting the number of places where we have played already and it’s nearing the 200 rapidly so as You can imagine there are many places to choose from and it would be unfair to elect one. But ok, if we have to name a castle in Portugal, You can’t visit our country and not see the castle of Óbidos. Located in the west of Portugal, that was actually where we met Fernando for the first time and we know Mike is also a frequent visitor 😉

You already mentioned you were into MOONSPELL since kids. What do you like about their music and which records/songs of theirs are your favorite?
That would be kind of personal for each of us but I think we have a special feeling for „Wolfheart“ and it is a fact that we would know all the lyrics by heart at one point. I remember “Vampiria” being the song that everyone talked about at the time. But of course “Alma Mater” was the hymn! We actually couldn’t resist to ask MOONSPELL permission to render our own versions of “Alma Mater”, “Trebaruna” and “Love Crimes” at the Coliseu performance 😉

How did it happen that a medieval band played in front of thousands of metalheads?
We were sooo surprised: Apparently Fernando had seen us performing and just decided to email us with this proposition. At first we even though it could be some friend playing a joke on us. But when we realized it was the real deal we were just stoked and took the offer without blinking. We then came by Inferno, the band’s studio and played a little for them and we had the whole bands thumbs up. We were just ecstatic!

What songs did you play between MOONSPELL’s sets and how much time did you have to prepare your own versions of their songs (btw. your version of  „Alma Mater“ sounds amazing)? What was the biggest challenge for you?
Well, so as we mentioned we asked permission to play “Alma Mater”, “Trebaruna” and “Love Crimes”. We did one set with the 2 bagpipes where “Trebaruna” was included and also “Traecum”, the first song of our first album plus some of those ancient melodies we did our own arrangments of we mentioned earlier. The other set we used the hurdy gurdy and we played also with “Alma Mater” and “Love Crimes”, two songs of our new album: “Woinaky” and “Ri7”. We did only have just one month to prepare and on top of that we were busy rehearsing for the recording our own album. So there were many full days around that month of February. At first we thought of just evoking some of the songs moments but when we were going through it we couldn’t resist to stay closest to the originals as possible 😉 To take the melodies and transpose them into our instruments and the keys they have to be played in does pose some problems, for instants it involved changing some notes with others that could be called “equivalents” so we don’t get into a technical boring conversation. But we worked on it and felt pretty satisfied with the result. We did have to look for the songs that would fit best. And marvel at that: „Alma Mater“ was a perfect match! And so thank You, we really enjoyed it ourselves, performing it in that crowd was indescribable, we actually couldn’t contain and even started singing along! 😉

Did you get some instructions in advance on what songs to play or what to wear (since black is not your usual dress code when you play live 🙂 )?
We did not have any instructions regarding clothing but the truth is when we play live those characters have that kind of clothing, on our daily affairs it is a whole other matter. Having said that we knew we were going to play for The Pack and so we dressed up for the occasion 😉 As for the songs, the band actually wanted us to play our own stuff and do our own thing. They never asked us to play their songs. We were the ones who proposed it and to our rejoicement and delight they allowed it!

DVD „Lisboa Under the Spell“ is already out and many fans of MOONSPELL experience the magic of the night only through this DVD. But you were there in person. How was that night for you? Share your firsthand experience with us.
It was just unreal for us. Imagine being a fan and getting asked to go up on the same stage of a band You know so well?! Every word will come short of passing what that meant for us. I remember just being out there playing “Alma Mater” and hear people voicing those words I had on my memory and just had to join in. I had thought that I shouldn’t in practice so as to not risk messing up the playing but when the time came there was just no way I wasn’t going to! And then the people. All the production, the band, everyone was so nice to us, they really made us comfortable and literally said we could just do whatever we wanted. Rock Star alike mode on! And to finish the night in the backstage with the band, having a drink with a few lucky chosen fans, it was just out of this world to be a part of that. On top of everything to have these moments recorded and published. Again: words will fail to describe what it means to us. And so Thank You yet again MOONSPELL for making us a part of Your “Lisboa Under the Spell” An experience we will cherish forever. Rock On 😉