The group was established in 1952, when Father Murillo, the town’s priest, brought together an important number of young people who loved jota, the traditional folkdance from the region. Singers, musicians and some dancers were the pioneers of the new born Rondalla Fragatina that reached its summit in a first performance in 1954. They had a tough beginning and went through hard times, but it was in 1977 when the group joined the most important cultural and recreational association in our town, “La Peña Fragatina.” At that time, the group acquired its present-day name: “Rondalla Peña Fragatina”.
Our challenges are to show, spread our regional folkdance and promote our town’s cultural wealth: our dances and voices, the rich and varied clothes, the typical women’s hairstyles and those customs that identify us as inhabitants of our town and region. That is why we work in the study and the retrieve of dances and melodies. To prove this, we should mention that we recovered the dance called “Ball de Coques” in 1977 which was danced in our town to celebrate the festivity of Saint Anne. Besides, we have recently done the same with another dance called “Ball de Palitrocs”, where dancers strike big sticks following the rhythm of the music. After a rigorous investigation, we found out that this dance was already danced in our town in 1136. Nowadays, we are working to bring back other dances, among them, “Bolero de Fraga” and “Ball de Cobertores”.
An important part of the group, known in our town as “La Rondalla”, is the School of Dancing formed by seventy children from five to fourteen, who learn music, dance and singing. They are the future’s association and gradually they start doing some performances with us.
We have promoted our folkdance in our region, spreading our culture outside our frontiers. We need to point out:
· 1981 - A tour in Europe, visiting France, Belgium and Germany.
· 1986/1999 - Different Festivals in Tarascon (France), the town with which Fraga is twinned.
· 2000 - We participated in the 38th International Folk Festival of the Pyrenees, in Oloron, France.
· 2001 – We performed in Andorra.
· 2003 - Brussels (Belgium) representing our region’s folklore.
· 2005 – In the 2nd. International Folklore Festival “Prazsky Jarmark” in Prague (Czech Republic).
· 2006 - In the 5fh. Shanghai Baoshan International Folk Arts Festival, in Shanghai (China).
· 2007 - Eurotour 2007, with Festivals in Castiglione del Lago (Italy), Beernem (Belgium) and Bressuire (France).
· 2008 - "9ª Festa Mundial do Folclore" in Caçapava do Sul (Brasil).
Nationally, we have performed in different Festivals all around Spain: Aragón, Andalucia, Castilla la Mancha, Castilla Leon, Murcia, Valencia, Cataluña, Asturias, Galicia, Extremadura, Navarra, Cantabria and Euskadi.
· The recording of a Aragon TV program, in 1982, for the official inauguration of the “Arboleda de Macanaz” (Zaragoza).
· In 1992, and due to Barcelona’s Olympic games, we participated in different acts organized by our region’s center in Barcelona.
· In 1994, we did a live performance in the TV3 program “Som i Serem”, monographic program about our town, Fraga.
· In April, 2002, we published our first disc/record “Cantares del Cinca” a compilation of our region folk songs.
· In 2002 we celebrated our 50th anniversary, and we did different acts during that year and we received an honorific silver medal from our town hall.
· Since 2007 we are members of the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV), a worldwide organization in operational relations with UNESCO.
Every two years since 1994 we have been celebrating the Julian Arellano Mesalles International Folklore Festival – JAMINFEST (IOV Calendar). The main goal of this Festival is getting to know other cultures and that help us understand other people and their ways of living.
We continue working for and by folklore, wishing that everybody could understand its richness. We hope to continue explaining our origins, that can easily get lost in the night of the times…
RONDALLA PEÑA FRAGATINA - 2008