A musical voyage introducing the musical traditions of the Basque people. It starts with the call of the txanbela, which sounds something like a bombarde, and goes on to introduce the amazing txalaparta percussion in which two players each hit wooden or metal planks with a pair of wooden sticks in a complex interplay of backbeat and counterstrike. We are also presented with the singing and playing of the shepherds, the bell-ringing tradition of the Larraun valley, traditional Basque dance tunes played on various instruments, traditional songs and even a nursery rhyme.
The linking thread of the album is Joxan Goikoetxea’s atmospheric synthesizer, which can be heard on most tracks but doesn’t spoil or drown out the sound of the traditional instruments. Joxan Goikoetxea is also responsible for all the arrangements, so this is very much his album, with musical contributions from multi-instrumentalist Juan Mari Beltran, guitarist Suso Saiz, txalaparta team Iñigo Monreal and Arantxa Ansa, and others.
It is an interesting, exotic-sounding album, but it is not very easy to listen to. I can imagine jazz fans enjoying it, though.