Mikel Urdangarin: MMXV

I first heard of Mikel Urdangarin a few years ago when he joined Basque band Korrontzi to sing in a concert recorded for CD/DVD. It was obvious straight away that he was a special singer and his mellifluous voice raised things to a new level. He is blessed with a strong and passionate singing voice which nevertheless has a soothing effect on the listener.

Urdangarin first came to attention in the early years of this century as a major singer-songwriter but has been connected with other projects too. Most recently there have been some fascinating and successful experiments in turning poetry into music and song with the novelist Kirmen Uribe and other musicians. Their CD and book Jainko txiki eta jostalari hura was reviewed here last year.

mikel urdangarin

For his new album MMXV Urdangarin releases 13 live tracks carefully selected from the large number of songs he has been singing on a solo concert tour which has taken in many cities and comes to an end this week. A total of 26 concerts were recorded and this is the cream of the performances distilled into around an hour of music. This really is a solo tour for it’s just the man himself on stage accompanied by his acoustic guitar in bright and effective arrangements which show off that marvellous voice and the poetic force of his songs.

The prospect of listening to one man and his guitar singing songs in a language incomprehensible to most non-Basques might seem a bit of a chore but right from the opening song ‘Agian irailean’ (‘Perhaps in September’) Urdangarin brushes away any fears with a really tender and heartfelt show to win us over. The CD booklet contains Spanish translations of all the lyrics which are in Euskara.

All of the songs have music written by Urgandarin but some of them have words by other important writers including three with lyrics by his recent collaborator Kirmen Uribe. It shows the strong connection in the Basque Country between literature and song. As the press release states: “Mikel Urdangarin reminds us that we are never alone if we have at hand a good song to move us and make us dream.”

MMXV is released by Elkar.


Here is a link to Mikel Urdangarin’s music video for ‘Agian irailean’:









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