The musician José María Álvarez Sanmartín, accordionist from Presqueiras, recently visited the Town Hall of Forcarei to give the mayoress Verónica Pichel a very special gift. It is a musical composition, with lyrics and melody, entitled ‘Terra de Montes. Loanza a la emigración’. The piece, which has already been registered with the Sociedad General de Autores, joins others of his creation, such as ‘Xota de Forcarei’, ‘Muiñeira do Portalén’, ‘Vals da Virxe do Castro’ or ‘Muiñeira de Forcarei’. ‘Loanza á emigración’ came about after a lifetime away from his homeland. Álvarez Sanmartín himself left when he was only 10 years old to work in construction in Villablino, although before that he had already had time to learn in the band La Bandeira de Cerdedo and to play the accordion also with Poceiro in Pontevedra. At the age of 14 he went to work in Andorra, at 16 to France and at 18 he returned to Galicia to do his military service at the Escola Naval Militar de Marín, where he joined the music band. He later worked in Madrid and then moved to Switzerland, where he raised a family and where he developed his most musical side in groups such as Plenitud o Los Príncipes, until he formed the Santa Bárbara Orchestra, with which he toured the whole country playing with other important orchestras and artists such as Masiel and Manolo Escobar, among many others. Now retired, Jose María fulfilled his dream of returning to Forcarei, to “Presqueiras, o noso paraíso”, although he also spends time in Switzerland and Catalonia with his family, and with ‘Loanza á emigración’ he wants to remember all the people who had to leave their home and also to thank the Asociación Amigos da Terra de Montes for their work to keep the history of this land alive. And the ‘Xota de Forcarei’, of which he is very proud, was composed at the request of the Galician Centre of Xenebra. Álvarez Sanmartín received last October, from the hands of the mayoress of Forcarei Verónica Pichel, the gold badge of the Asociación de Amigos da Terra de Montes.