Since the 1970s, Jordi Savall’s been largely responsible for popularizing the medieval musical instrument viola da gamba (think of a cross between a cello and a guitar). His repertoire features medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. I stumbled upon his album “La Lira d’Esperia II – Galicia” on Google Play Music while trying to find some classical music off the beaten path. From the album review on All Music by James Manheim:
“The “lyre” of the title is the set of descendants of Greek stringed instruments in use during the Spanish golden age: the vielle, its Islamic counterpart the rebab, and the rarer rebel morisco, all three of which are played by Savall on this recording… [This album] focuses on the music of the Galicia region, ruled in the 13th century by Alfonso X, known as El Sabio, the Wise… who left more than 400 songs known as the Cantigas de Santa María. Savall… [weaves] the cantigas together with Galician folk materials that survive in oral tradition… What gives his performances of this material its haunting quality is the presence of the heavily bearded percussionist Pedro Estevan.”
I’d describe it as a haunting, sparse, instrumental cross between Celtic and Afghan music. It’s great for listening to while you’re doing something that requires a disengaged focus. I like it while I’m drawing or reading.