Tunas Tradition Tonight?

September 12, 2008


The joy of the colorful Tunas  singers filled the air!  This was one of the things we really wanted to see in Santiago and we were very pleased that we got to experience these unique troubadours. This vibrant tradition is found in all University towns in Spain, not just Santiago.



My understanding is that this started in the 11th and 12th centuries, when the Universities began in Spain. It started as a means for poor students to support themselves. I was intrigued by these Tunas singers when I first read Penelope Casas' book Discovering Spain: An Uncommon Guide. I think This site (about a different Universities' Tunas group) explains the history quite well:

"The first Spanish universities were established in Palencia (1184), Salamanca (1218), Valladolid, Lérida and Santiago de Compostela. The first university in Murcia was the Centro de Estudios Superiores (Centre of Higher Studies) which was founded in 1272 by Alfonso X, the learned king who lived in the city and whose heart is depicted on the coat of arms of Murcia. The same Alfonso X, known as El Sabio (the wise king), referred to the sopistas in the Partidas (official documents) describing them as scholars who played musical instruments as a means of supporting themselves.

These students came to the university cities with scant economic resources and in order to survive and keep themselves they had to rely on their guile, talent and artistic skills. They followed in the tradition of minstrels and troubadours from earlier ages and they also styled themselves on actors and artists of the time."



The lit up town and festive atmosphere makes Santiago de Compostela an exciting town to stroll in at night. Mozart always loves being out at night and this was no exception. We came across a few different Tunas groups, which you can see (and hear) them in our video here.


To add to the fun, there was a guy with a bunch of brand new puppies in a baby stroller. Mozart was thrilled when he let her hold each one! The Tunas also flirt with the crowd and engage the people who watch, often including them in the show. The costumes are colorful and so are the instruments, including bagpipes and a very large guitar.


We do not do too many nights out because our idea of a fun night is cuddling up in bed together reading a book, playing a game or watching a dvd together. Yet, when we do venture out into the night, we manage to have a fantastic time and we will never forget our night out in Santiago!



« previous | | next »


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tunas Tradition Tonight?:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hello, I added your link to my travel blog @

I also departed from Santa Cruz, I lived in Capitola for 8 years.


Beautiful puppy picture--what a childhood you are giving that girl!

Also, is it just me, or is that middle troubadour (in the top picture) Russell Crowe's doppelganger?

Jet Set Life

These pictures are very captivating. We may have to look at making this one of our companies travel destinations. Great post!

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner