Tadusak: Bide luzea ternuarat

tadusak2Wave Runners

Listening Post 17. Basque whalers, sailors and fisherman dominated the seas around the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Nearly 500 years after those intrepid seamen rode the waves and plied the fishing channels, songs of their exploits and misfortunes echo across more tranquil broadcast waves and digital channels. Bide luzea ternuarat (Long Journey to Newfoundland) is an outstanding collection of traditional songs, performed by Tadusak, a six-member band composed of veterans of the Basque folk scene. Led by the lovely voice and piano of Miren Fernández, the group’s only woman, and the violin and string-drum of Juan Ezeiza, the band tells tales of arduous passages, many of which end tragically. With the soft and melancholy sound of plucked guitar and hurdy-gurdy, Neska ontziratua (Trapped Girl) concerns a young woman, kidnapped by a ship captain, who chooses suicide over submission (video 1). The album’s title track (video 2) moves with growing intensity from placid waters to the storms, cold, dark and doom of the open sea. Other notable songs are Ville du Havre-ren hondoratzea (The Sinking of the Ville du Havre); Izar ederra (Beautiful Stars), a traditional Basque love song; and Azken balea (The Last Whale), in which a leviathan pursues fishing boats packed with sardines. Like the mariners of yore, Tadusak’s music should travel far. (Agorila)

 


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