Les Gloses

21 Jan

If you went to Sa Pobla, Manacor, or Artà last Sunday for Sant Antoni, you probably heard people playing xeremías, a kind of bagpipe, and ximbombes, which look like drums with a stick stuck in the middle of them. While I knew that these were old folk instruments, I didn’t realize that they traditionally accompany improvised songs, or gloses, on different saints’ days.

According to my students, who told me about this tradition, gloses are very common in Sa Pobla during the Sant Antoni festival, and are written off the top of artists’ heads. Here’s a video of a glosa performance from Menorca; it’s not related to Sant Antoni, but the advantage to this one is that it has Spanish subtitles:

My students recited a few well-known gloses to me in class. Not all of them are as serious as the video above; this one sounds more like a limerick:

Ses monges de Son Caliu           Six nuns from Son Caliu

Se constipen en s’estiu           Caught a cold in the summer

I el metge els hi receta           And the doctor prescribed to them

Un pam i mig de perdiu.           A handspan and a half of partridge.


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