Paio de Cana
Trovador medieval

Nationality: Galega

Biographical Note:

Clergy of Santiago de Compostela, belonging to a family well-established in this city, but whose chronology has raised some doubts, also because we don’t know his patronymic. According to data put forward, at the beginning of the 20th century, by López Ferreiro, he might be the son or brother of Pero Arias da Cana, bourgeois of Santiago that would have lived around the mid-13th century; but he could equally be, as Resende de Oliveira suggests1, the Pai da Cana mentioned as already deceased, in 1348, in the will of D. Nuno Gonçalves de Bendaña, which instructs a certain amount of money to be given to his sons.
Recently, however, José António Souto Cabo2, upon careful reviewing the Compostela documentation regarding members of this family, located, in a document dated 1243, one “Pelagius Petri, dictus de Cana” which he identifies as our author (whose full name would therefore be Paio Peres de Cana). Moreover, elaborating a brief genealogical scheme from the individuals mentioned in the documentation, Souto Cabo believes the Paio de Cana appearing in the mentioned 1348 will (with sons, which seems to contradict his condition of clergy) would be, in fact, a nephew of the troubadour (this one of Airas patronym, as mentioned in other documents from the first decades of the 14th century). It should be added that from the same genealogical tree also results that Mor (Airas) da Cana, with whom João Airas de Santiago maliciously plays in one of his songs, would equally be niece of the troubadour (and not sister, as Carolina de Michaëlis already had suggested3).
Even more recently, Souto Cabo4 located new documents which indicate that Paio Peres de Cana was equally, in an advance stage in life, abbot of Valladolid, a position he occupied between 1281 and 1283, taking refuge in Seville around the upheaval of prince Sancho against Alfonso X, and being present in the act through which the monarch disinherited the prince. That is, in what concerns our troubadour, he would have developed his activity around the years 1245-1283, which, moreover, is consistent with the chronology of the clergy-troubadours that suraround him in the songbooks.


1 Oliveira, António Resende de (1994), Depois do espectáculo trovadoresco. A estrutura dos cancioneiros peninsulares e as recolhas dos séculos XIII e XIV, Lisboa, Edições Colibri.

2 Souto Cabo, José António (2011), "In capella domini regis, in Ulixbona e outras nótulas trovadorescas", in Actas del XIV Congreso de la Asociación Hispánica de Literatura Medieval, Murcia, setembro de 2011.
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3 Vasconcelos, Carolina Michaëlis de (1990), Cancioneiro da Ajuda, vol. II, Lisboa, Imprensa nacional - Casa da Moeda (reimpressão da edição de Halle, 1904).

4 Souto Cabo, José António (2012), "En Santiago, seend’ albergado en mia pousada. Nótulas trovadorescas compostelanas", in Verba, 39.
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