Andorra: Two for the Price of One

Andorra is a Catalan-speaking 181 square mile country found high in the eastern Pyrenees mountains, bordering both France and Spain. According to legend, King Charles the Great (King Charlemagne), who was King of the the Franks starting in the year 768 and then Roman Emperor from 800 until his death in 814, granted the people of Andorra a charter to their land in 805 in exchange for their fighting for Christian France against Islamic Moors. Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald (most always seen in portraits, for some reason, wearing his crown) declared the Count of Urgell, a Catalan-speaking county in what is now Spain, the overlord of Andorra. Eventually Andorra became a principality, with the co-princes being the Bishop of Urgell and the President of France. Andorra has been able to remain relatively autonomous by shifting its allegiance from support of one of its ruling nations to another. Only in 1993 did Andorrans finally adopt their own constitution and enter the United Nations as an independent nation.

The folk music of Andorra is, not surprisingly, a mix of French and Spanish sounds with a distinct Catalan flavor. As we see in this video, at public folk festivals Andorrans will dance a mean contrapás.