Alaitz eta Maider,
Auskalo
(Elkar, 2002)

Alaitz eta Maider was a Basque trikitixa duo, with Alaitz Telletxea on vocals and trikitixa (Basque accordion) and Maider Zabalegi on vocals and tambourine, from Oiartzun near Donostia-San Sebastian. This, the third disc for the duo, brims with optimism, energy and style, a mix of pop, light reggae and Celtic with a Basque folk style called trikitixa.

This is a talented duo; they provide nearly all the music and lyrics, as well as singing and playing on all tracks. But to augment their sound, they are joined by a band consisting of guitarist Angel Unzu, on a variety of instruments, Fran Iturbe on electric guitar, Mikel Artieda on bass and Blas Fernandez on drums.

As well, there is a who's who of Basque music featured: Oskorri veterans Josu Salbide on a number of instruments including flute, uillean pipes and percussion, and Xabier Zeberio on violin; Olatz Zugasti on harp; Oreka TX on txalaparta (Basque percussion), to name a few.

They free-float between Basque trikitixa (a traditional style based on accordion and tambourine) and conventional pop, making a flavourful mix with some nice two-part harmonies.

This disc begins with the sprightly "Folki Linza," an instrumental that shows the flavour of the disc; Basque with upbeat pop and Celtic overtones. Angel Unzu on acoustic guitar and Telletxea are featured. "Zer Ote Da?" is a trikitixa-flavoured piece with some energy, with Mirari and Marijose Telletxea joining on vocals.

"Itzulerarik Gebeko Joana" is a slower-moving pop ballad that still has some energy and a nice chorus. Hodei has an Indigo Girls-ish folk sound. Instrumentals like "Baranain" have an Oskorri-like sound, with Alaitz's triki taking the lead, and a nice bit of txalaparta from Oreka TX. And, "Auskalo," the title track, is as traditional triki as you can get, with a tremendous irrintzi (Basque yodel) from Ana Tolosa.

I highly recommend this CD for anyone interested in finding out about the Basque sound without stepping too far off familiar territory. It's music that will put you in a good mood. Lyrics are available in Basque (Euskara) only, with a brief explanation in Spanish and French.

The duo is no longer performing together, but still has a web presence, listed below.

by David Cox
Rambles.NET
17 March 2007