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In Stock cd cover Oreka TX
Quercus Endorphina

This duo plays the txalaparta, basically pairs of wooden planks stuck with mallets. It's a basic tool in traditional folk music from Euskadi (Basque Spain), but this young pair are experimenting with the tradition. Under the production guidance of Kepa Junkera (who also contributes his trikitixa accordion on some tunes), they do very traditional music, some great folk-pop crossovers (always acoustic) and a few interesting pieces that brush up on the avant garde. It's a mixed bag of a recording, with some muddy new-age touches here and there, but mostly it is a pretty unique and adventurous recording, and worthy of the ear of anyone looking to see where Basque music might be goining in the new millennium.

Guest musicians include Phil Cunningham, Justin Vali, Michel Bordeleau, Glen Velez, Mikel Laboa and Ibon Koteron and Kepa Junkera.

Listen: (MP3 samples)
Txalaparta Dantza

"...Particular notice should be made of the excellent presentation of this CD with its elaborate booklet (in Basque, Spanish, English and French) as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of the record company to release such an arresting and demanding recording.... If you are even remotely interested in Basque or primitive music, this is a must-buy record for you. If you are not, you can still give it a try and discover the music of a people who have been inhabiting the same land longer than most of us and who still retain the power to keep their history alive and update it for the 21st Century." - Nondas Kitsos, RootsWorld (see the full review)

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From the record label:

Recorded and mixed at the IZ Studios, Amasa, in the summer of 2000. Engineer Mikel Fernández Other recordings Cesar Ibarretxe at Jon (Sweep) Turner¹s PALLEDIUM Studio in Edinburgh. Digital edition Mikel Fernández and Jose Peña at the TRAK Studios in Madrid. Production Kepa Junkera Design and layout Unai Molina (1i comunicación) Photography Alberto Elosegi

The txalaparta (zaldi-parta / horse-walking sound) reflects the resounding, irregular but balanced, haughty and nimble movement of a horse. It is also an eminently Basque percussion instrument, a primary musical object, played by two musicians, like the two legs of a same person, a living being that moves, walks and runs, four wooden makilas or sticks of wood sharing a magical and evocative trot awakening the most liberal and wildest of intimate and collective emotions.

At the time when basque culture was still spread over a spattering of farmhouses (practically until the 60s), the txalaparta was played only very rarely and was principally related to the making of cider. The technique, like the very essence of the instrument itself, was then on the verge of disappearing and was played by no more than a few couples (the Zuaznabar or the Goikoetxea brothers for example). But thanks to the effort, work and enthusiasm of Juan Mari Beltrán and of the brothers Jexux and JosAnton Artze, the baton transmitting knowledge of the instrument started once again relaying from hand to hand, going on to make the txalaparta known, embellish it and greatly increase its potential, thus saving it from extinction and reinstating it as a part of tradition. Thanks to their endeavours, more recent generations have been taught their knowledge, hence opening new roads to the recovery of the instrument¹s authentic and primitive sensitivity. Today, the txalaparta is an essential instrument as far as percussion is concerned, and has become a feature of cultural distinction, with a touch of ethnic flavour giving our music its own special ³mark², a particular stamp setting it apart from others.

Igor Otxoa and Harkaitz Martínez, the members of OREKA TX, are the direct heirs of this living and vibrating tradition, which they likewise endeavour to transmit by means of a revamped, stronger and more attractive variant. This, their first record, is entitled QUERCUS ENDORPHINA, an openly ethnic and sensual, timbrically rich and colouristic work. It is a delightful oeuvre where the songs take the shape of rhythm and the different kinds of percussion blend together in a paradise of melodies prompting tribal, primitive dance, transporting listeners via universial emotion and the memory of bygone days to the beginning of time, when we were more horse than person, anchored to the earth while dreaming of the sky. The nudity of QUERCUS ENDORPHINA, its brilliant sobriety, serves to underline its beauty. The skill of Kepa Junkera¹s arduous production work consists above all of having achieved a balanced proportion of sound and instruments there¹s nothing missing, nothing superfluous. The guest instrumentalists and vocalists on this recording Glen Velez, Justin Vali, Michel Bordeleau, Phil Cunningham, Ibon Koteron, Mikel Laboa and Kepa Junkera himself, have contributed generous draughts of creativity, all related to the soloist instrument, the txalaparta, intimating with the planks of wood, feeling a sort of relationship with the tree, like part of a luxurious, fresh and exhuberant human forest.

QUERCUS ENDORPHINA is the synthesis of an intensive work developed since 1997 by OREKA TX, the objective of which is, firstly, simply to enjoy the fun of creating and playing good music and, secondly, to experience the satisfaction of having produced an honest, sincere work to make us feel better, more human and supportive.

The flavour of forest, the smell of wood, QUERCUS ENDORPHINA is undoubtedly the most evocative sound of the txalaparta.