RECORDINGS  IN  NATURAL  CAVES

Introduction

      Several caves have been major venues for concerts and certain countries dominate in this section on recordings in caves. Germany has four concert caves and twelve different recordings of cave concerts. Spain has many concert caves, principally Cuevas del Drach in Majorca, Cueva de Nerja near Malaga, and Cueva de los Verdes on the Isle of Lanzarote. However most of the recordings said to have been made in the Cueva del Drach are phony cave recordings that have been made in the studio.
      A very interesting story of music recorded in a Spanish cave comes to us from the Paleolithic art cave, Cueva de la Pileta, near Ronda. Speaking of “Los organos,” a large flowstone drapery, located three-fourths of the way back in this show cave, the present manager of the cave tells that – “Amongst those who have been enchanted by the sound of this musical instrument were the members of The Beatles, who came to visit for several weekends in the sixties. They used to come over to Gibraltar from England to rehearse. One day they brought their instruments to the Pileta and recorded the music that Ringo played on ‘The Organ.’ The process of recording in the cave was a novelty and a surprise for us.” (Bullón 2008) A tourist publicity notice tells us that – ‘There are prehistoric caves near Benaoján where The Beatles recorded music on three separate occasions in the 1960s because the acoustics are so good.” (Cabello 2012) Maybe some Beatles researcher out there could tell us which song by The Beatles used the samples recorded in this cave.
      For all of the recordings where musicians actually play their music by carefully tapping on calcite drapery formations and stalactites in a cave, I have been obliged to coin a new word for this percussion music, speleolithophonic music, namely music obtained by striking rocks or minerals in a cave. Full descriptions of this music will be found under the section Contemporary Art Music – Speleolithophonic Music.

      For a few entries here there is no specific mention in the liner notes that the recording was made in a cave and no audience noise or applause can be heard on any of the tracks. So it is very possible that, due to acoustic problems or disturbing sounds, these recordings were not made in the cave but were recorded entirely in a studio.
      Careful audition makes it is almost certain that at least five of the recordings listed here were made in a studio and not in caves, that is, for Cuevas del Drach and Cueva de Nerja in Spain, St. Michael’s Cave at Gibraltar, and Meramec Caverns in the United States. Some questionable recordings were released for Postojna Cave in Slovenia; Cango Caves in South Africa; and Fern Cave in the United States.

REF: Anon. 2013, Cueva de la Pilata, (in Spanish) Wikipedia & (in English)Wikipedia
Bullón Giménez, José 2008, The Pileta Cave, Editorial La Serrania, Ronda, p. 61
Cabello, E. 2012, La Cueva de la Pileta y los Beatles (in Spanish),blogspot.fr

Presentation of Entries

      In some countries LPs or CDs have been released proclaiming to have been recorded in a cave, but careful audition has proved that they were studio recordings. These false cave recordings have been listed here at the end of the pdf document for each country concerned, notably, Gibraltar, Spain, and the United States.
      Each country has been listed alphabetically. And each entry for that country was given a code number – starting with “RIC” meaning recorded in caves followed by the country code established by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), based on lists published by the United Nations.
      The list of abbreviations used for each entry will be found in the “Abbreviations” tab on the bottom left.