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When the Los Angeles Times suggested that “if it’s possible to become a pop star playing traditional music on bagpipes and recorder, Núñez could be the man,” it may have been an understatement. Few pop stars pack the energy, virtuosity, imagination, daring, and charisma into their concerts and recordings as Galician multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez does. He is the world’s most famous player of the gaita, the bagpipes of Galicia, Spain’s northwest, Atlantic Ocean-abutting region rich in vibrant, uniquely expressive Celtic traditional music. Nevertheless, several decades ago Paddy Moloney, leader of the celebrated Irish traditional band the Chieftains, called Galicia “the unknown Celtic country,” implying that traditional music as exciting as Galicia’s was overdue for a global breakout in awareness and acclaim. Like the Chieftains, who became Ireland’s foremost ambassadors of Irish traditional music by spreading its appeal internationally, Carlos Núñez has become Galicia’s foremost traditional music ambassador by doing the same.
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