Pop, Rock and Folk music
Modern Basque songwriting was fifty years old in 2011, taking Mixel Labegerie’s first songs (‘Aurtxo-aurtxoa’, ‘Primaderako liliak’) recorded with a guitar and magnetophon tape recorder as a starting point. Labegerie discovered the way ahead, and Ez Dok Amairu managed to bring society along in that direction. Thereafter, an unbroken chord by chord, song by song, concert by concert, and applause-laden chain developed. Each new generation built on the work of its predecessors, learning from it, adapting it to the times, adjusting it according to new tendencies, and giving it back to society, and in many cases this broke new boundaries, both linguistic and geographical.
In these past five decades our folk, pop and rock music has served as a platform for almost everything: lyrical as well as social and political statements, fun as well as commitment, recovering old traditions as well as creating new ones, and so on. As in many other cultures, songwriting has played an important role in creating and renewing Basque identity, and projecting it internationally; because words (language) and music form a powerful instrument.
The Basque Country has provided a wealth of singers and musicians during this past half century, and it will continue to do so in the future too. A whole infrastructure has been built around them, often via popular initiatives and outside the mainstream of the music industry: record companies, recording studies, hiring agencies, media, concert halls, festivals, and so forth. The goal of this catalogue is to explain the evolution of our songwriting during these past fifty years and recall the careers of certain significant artists who were especially influential.
Cultural journalist of the Berria newspaper
This is the introduction to the “Basque Songwriting: Pop, Rock, Folk” book; you can find the complete book here:
Eskisabel, Jon, Euskal kantagintza: pop, rock, folk/ La chanson basque: Pop, rock, folk / Basque Songwriting: Pop, Rock, Folk, Donostia - San Sebastián: Etxepare Euskal Institutua, 2012. (French version funded by the Basque Cultural Institute)