Blanca-Olalla Altable (born in Burgos in 1984) is a prominent violinist in the traditional and neo-traditional Castilian music scene. Her style, within popular violin, is characterized by being rhythmic, eloquent, passionate, and emotional, allowing her to develop her distinctive sound: intimate, profound, joyful, and subtle.

She stands out in the world of popular violin thanks to her unique and creative vision. Blanca rescues the repertoire of the dulzaina (a traditional Spanish woodwind instrument) from her grandfather, Simón Altable, and adapts it to the violin. She composes original pieces with traditional and non-traditional rhythms, deconstructing folklore in the process. Furthermore, her curiosity and musical eclecticism have led her to explore a more experimental approach, incorporating new technologies such as effect pedals, loop stations, and MIDI controllers. These tools provide her with a new compositional aesthetic, characterized by epic minimalism, experimental minimal-maximal folk, and a discourse where improvisation is synonymous with surrender.

Foto hecha por Ana Escario de Blanca tocando el violín

© Ana Escario

Blanca Altable con su fiddle

© Diego Beabesada

As a result of her deconstruction of Castilian music, Blanca has created several musical projects, including Blanca Altable & Chuchi Alcuadrado, Cira Qu, the violin duo CastellanAs, and her visual and auditory show “Somos Polvo” (We Are Dust), with which she released her solo album “Somos Polvo” in 2021. This album followed two albums with the duo Blanca Altable & Chuchi Alcuadrado (“Mayo” and “Tyto Alba”) and another with the now-disbanded band Cira Qu. She has also recorded two albums for Hombre Folkíbero and has collaborated on numerous record productions in various genres (pop, African music, indie, Americana, singer-songwriter, etc.). Her career has been recognized with awards such as the INJUVE (Instituto de la Juventud) award in 2010 for the best performance of popular music. Additionally, she has represented Spain on RNE (Spanish National Radio) at the 32nd EBU Folk Festival in Croatia and has worked with AECID (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development), traveling through Africa and collaborating with musicians from Kenya, South Africa, Seychelles, and Sudan.
Blanca has also taken advantage of training opportunities through scholarships, such as the “Jóvenes Excelentes” program from the Fundación Caja de Burgos in 2010 and 2011. This allowed her to learn from internationally renowned musicians in California and New York, including Martin Hayes, Casey Driessen, Joe Deninzon, Christian Howes, Matt Glasser, Alasdair Fraser, Brittany Haas, Mike Block, Tristan Clarridge, and April Verch. In recent years, she has been awarded a scholarship by AIE to specialize in electroacoustic composition and audiovisual media.
Foto de Blanca tocando en directo hecha por Enrique Farelo

© Enrique Farelo

In addition to her work as a musician, Blanca dedicates her professional life to teaching the violin from a popular and creative perspective. In 2009, she co-founded the non-profit educational project “Crisol de Cuerda Tradicional” (Traditional String Crucible) with Jesús Javier Ortega, a unique intergenerational and international camp for popular violin held in Arlanzón, Burgos. The camp is directed by the renowned Scottish violinist Alasdair Fraser. Alongside her musical partner Jesús Enrique Cuadrado, she also manages the annual EcoFolki gathering. Currently, Blanca directs the “Taller de Cuerdas Populares” (Popular String Workshop) project in Burgos, which aims to create an intergenerational community centered around popular violin. She provides workshops on popular violin and/or improvisation for different levels and age groups and has taught at places like the Professional Conservatory of Bilbao, Professional Conservatory of Burgos, Vinterton (Sweden), Crisol de Cuerda, Barcelona Fiddle Congress, Qarbonia, Folk Marathon (Porto), Professional Conservatory of Segovia, or the Municipal School of Music in Burgos.

As a studio musician, she has collaborated on numerous musical and artistic projects, including VocalizÁfrica, Nélida Karr, Marcela Morelo, Vallarna, Dúo La Loba, Flor de Vida de Álvaro Barriuso, Neønymus, Pure Hemp, Kasparov vs Deep Blue, Salvador Amor, Sammy Jankis, and more.

She has also performed her music in various places around the world, such as ESMAE Porto, the 32nd EBU Folk Festival, Festival Sonna, Freight and Sauvage (CA), Café Berlín, Galileo Galilei, UBU live, San Miguel Tribu Festival, Folk Segovia, FETAL, International Film Festival of Kenya, International Music Festival of Khartoum, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Castilla Folk, Folk Comillas, Tradicionàrius Festival, and Arca da Noe, among others.

She participates as a composer and musician in theatrical productions for companies like Margarito & Cía, Brama Teatro, and La Carbonería de la Lola, collaborating with visual and plastic artists.

Blanca is an artist in constant evolution and research, drawing inspiration from various traditions and her surroundings. She combines all of this with her own artistic expression and the folklore of her homeland, Castilla, resulting in a universal folk that draws from many sources and belongs to none.
Blanca Altable con su fiddle o violín

© Diego Beabesada

She is trained in Willems music pedagogy and recently completed a Master’s in Musical Composition with new technologies, demonstrating her keen interest and passion for music creation.In her musical projects, she stands out as a composer, crafting original pieces that blend tradition and experimentation. Creation is a fundamental aspect of her work as a popular violinist, allowing her to express herself in a unique and personal way. Furthermore, she holds a degree in Translation and Interpretation from the Complutense University of Madrid, highlighting her interdisciplinary education and her ability to appreciate and preserve the traditions of different cultures. She values vernacular languages (including music) as essential representations of culture.

Concierto en Castrojeriz

© Enrique Farelo