Meet the MIN Awards finalists for Best Album in Basque

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2024-03-20

A panel of experts has selected the five finalists in each category of the MIN Independent Music Awards. Competing for the Etxepare Prize for Best Album in Basque are Amorante, Bulego, Ezpalak, Izaro and Zetak. The awards ceremony will be held on 17 April in Zaragoza.

Amorante | ‘Harri orri har’

Amorante is a project by Iban Urizar (Elgoibar 1975). He crafts compositions that take listeners on a voyage through both traditional and cutting-edge music, embracing versatility and experimentation as fundamental elements. Free from any preconceptions, he creates extraordinary blends that immerse themselves in the sound of his diverse instruments and Basque lyrics.

Bulego | ‘Aldatu aurretik’

The pop group from the Basque music scene was formed in January 2019 as a multidisciplinary project. The members of the group are TTomas Lizarazu, Xabi Arrieta eta Ruben Lizarralde dira. The band has become a point of reference in the Basque pop scene with its danceable, carefree pop entirely in Euskara.

"Aldatu Aurretik" is Bulego’s second full-length studio album. It´s a concept album delving into themes of change: transitioning jobs, concluding or initiating relationships, relocating to new places, or simply moving forward in time.

Ezpalak | ‘Lagunekin zuzenean’

Ezpalak was born in 2019 when four musicians from other bands, including Voltaia, Los Moths, and Grises, teamed up: Juanjo Berasain (vocals), Eñaut Gaztañaga (guitar), Unai Eizagirre (bass) and Janardana Iglesias (drums). Ezpalak has emerged as the benchmark of alternative rock music in Basque in recent years. The band has garnered recognition from both mainstream media and the public, demonstrating their strength during live performances.

Lagunekin zuzenean´ (Live with friends) brings together live recordings from 2021 to 2023 together with special collaborations.

Izaro | ‘cerodeenero’

‘cerodenero´ is Izaro´s fifth studio album, a conceptual narrative that explores an inner journey through a blend of pop, folk, electronic, and roots music, infused with poetry and metaphors. The singer reveals her luminous and wild sides throughout the album.

Zetak | ‘Aaztiyen’

The project ´Zetak´ by Pello Reparaz (formerly with Vendetta) is rooted in electronic music. In search of his own sound identity, he works with different synthesizers experimenting with new sounds and compositions.

‘Aaztiyen´ deals with emotions and tradition from a sceptical perspective. Emotions are not innate, nor is tradition intrinsic to human beings. This album takes listeners on a journey through the emotional landscape of our lives. Each of the songs deals with an emotion and the different voices represent internal and external voices that influence our emotions. Censorship, self-censorship and social pressure fight with instinct. In turn, Aaztiyen uses and distorts traditional Basque sounds such as the alboka (Basque wind instrument), the tambourine and the irrintzis (high-pitched cry or yell) to empower Zetak´s sound identity.

The other semi-finalists in this category were Akaleia, Esne Beltza, Ibil Bedi, Jai/egun, Kepa Junkera, Kuttune, Intza, Mugan, Nøgen and Sara Azurza.

Many of these artists were also semi-finalists in other categories, which include awards for different musical styles (best jazz album, best flamenco album, best rock album, etc.), languages (Basque, Catalan, Galician), as well as more general awards (best album, best video clip, best song...).

Basque musicians will be present on the day of the awards ceremony, nominated in several categories: Chica Sobresalto will compete for the award for best song of the year and for the award for best musical production; Belako is one of the finalists in the category of best rock album and best graphic design. Benyart will compete for best urban music recording.

The MIN Awards were created in 2009 to highlight the artistic creation, cultural diversity and talent of small and medium-sized music companies and to promote independent music productions on a national and international level.

Etxepare Basque Institute and the MIN Awards

The Etxepare Basque Institute has sponsored the Etxepare Award for Best Album in Basque since 2013 to shine a spotlight on independent music in Euskara. Last year the Etxepare award went to Niña Coyote eta Chico Tornado.

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