New Basque releases
Three new releases from Elkar record company which is based in the Basque Country’s Donostia-San Sebastian. Two of these are albums by established artists while the third is a debut mini-album.
The singer-songwriter Ruper Ordorika has cult status in his homeland and beyond as a craftsman of fine songs. His long career has included membership of a group dedicated to linking music and literature and he has also worked with different groups of musicians as well as being a solo singer. On his new album Hodeien Azpian (Below the Clouds) he composes all eleven songs and plays acoustic and electric guitars with some help from bass, keyboards and drums. His deep voice is reminiscent of Benito Lertxundi but he has his own style and this album finds him in a subtle and subdued mood for the most part.
Another musician who has been around for a while is the singer Gari whose new album Ez Da Amaiera (It’s Not the End) is probably his best yet. It’s definitely his most adventurous and diverse. After a fairly mundane opening with some unremarkable rock songs he goes into a Basque version of the American civil rights song ‘We Shall Overcome’ entitled ‘Eutsiko Diogu’ and from here onwards it becomes a different album altogether with the gentle, melodic ‘No Space No Time’ and then a whole mix of different songs using horns, strings, acoustic guitars and some unaccompanied group singing. Gari wrote the music for most of these songs with co-writers supplying the lyrics.
Finally, a new band Izaki Gardenak (Transparent Beings) has released a five track mini-album debut Itsasargiak (Sea Light). Bright things are expected from them and this is a good start with some melodic songs, big choruses and a lush, warm production. All of their songs and those on the other albums here are sung in Euskara, the language of the Basques. Ruper Ordorika’s album has French and Spanish translations of the lyrics in the CD booklet.