Last night was the night for Basque music, the night of the “Musika Bulegoa Sariak 2017” awards. The venue chosen to celebrate the best music of the year was Musikene, the Higher School of Music of the Basque Country in San Sebastian. The event brought together some of the leading figures in Basque music today, including musicians, music creators, and industry professionals, as well as representatives from the public institutions – headed by Bingen Zupiria, the Basque Minister of Culture. Traditional, jazz, rock, folk, contemporary... the musical gala reflected the diversity of Basque music.
Ruper Ordorika was the first to step onto the stage to receive the award for his CD ‘Guria Ostatuan’ . The musician from Oñate had planned to play a song, but because he temporarily lost his voice the audience enjoyed a video of his music instead.
The evening’s second award-winner was Juan Ortiz. The pianist from Bilbao fuses jazz and electronic music on his record ‘Winter Tales’. Ortiz was not able to accept the award in person but send his thanks from Japan – where he now resides.
Ramon Lazkano received a prize for ‘Portrait’, released at the Festival d´Automne á Paris. The San Sebastian-born musician who lives in Paris could not attend the awards ceremony, but the audience enjoyed his music, played by Iván Casado on the cello.
Next it was the turn of the creators of ‘Zuhainpeko Soinuak’, a project based on the traditional music of Iparralde. The show’s producer, Cruz Gorostegi, joined director Mireia Gabilondo and musicians Juan Mari Beltran and Jean Mixel Bidegaxar on stage to collect the prize.
Elena Setien from San Sebastian created a fusion of sophisticated pop and hints of jazz in her many years living in Denmark, bringing listeners her latest work ‘Dreaming of Earthly Things’. Setien also picked up an award and played one of her songs on the piano.
Next in line was one of the most influential groups on the Basque scene in the past decade: Berri Txarrak. The band from Lekunberri was awarded the Etxepare Euskal Institutua Musika Saria. The award recognizes the work of a creator, performer or musician whose career has enjoyed international acclaim.
The last star of the show was Jazzargia. This organization received a special mention for its work over the past twelve years popularizing jazz music in Vitoria.
This year the jury comprised of the following music industry professionals: Jon Bagüés, director of Eresbil; Aintzane Cámara, professor at the University of the Basque Country and expert in music research; Edurne Ormazabal, EITB; Yahvé M. de la Cavada, music critic; Ixiar Uria, expert in Basque music; Kistiñe Solano, music teacher and trikitilari (diatonic button accordion player); Suso Saiz, musician and producer; and José Miguel, director of ‘Discópolis’, a show on Radio 3.