Goikoetxeakoak May 2006

Txalaparta performance by Simon Goikoetxea and his son Aritz, Gipuzkoa, Euskal Herria – Basque Country (María Escribano, Fieldwork, May 2006).

Traducción del resumen, índice e introducción de tesis doctoral aquí.

Maria Escribano’s Ph.D. thesis is entitled Rhythms of Struggle. Recovery, Revival and Re-Creation of Txalaparta in the Basque Country (University of Limerick, Ireland, 2012.)

Txalaparta, pronounced ‘chalaparta’, is a percussion tradition and instrument from the Basque Country (which is situated across the Pyrenees, both in the Spanish and French States).

It is original from the mountains of Gipuzkoa (southern Basque Country) and was recovered from near extinction in the 1960s during times of great social upheaval and state repression in the last decades of Franco’s Regime.

Txalaparta has been emblematic of the Basque struggle for independence until recent years, though an increasing number of enthusiasts approach it unaware of, or despite of, its iconicity, attracted mainly to its musical/sound qualities and potentiality.

Still largely unknown in the international arena, it has been in the world music scene for a number of decades, and we may expect to hear a lot more about it, since Madonna incorporated it to her summer tours in 2012 with the group Kalakan (check it out in youtube).

One of the narratives about the meaning of the name “txalaparta” is that it comes from “zaldiparta”, the name given to the transition from the horse trot to the gallop, and indeed Txalaparta Zaharra (old Txalaparta) marked transition. 

This is a very brief introduction, please check the thesis abstract above, or the thesis itself, for an overview of the revival and the social phenomenon Txalaparta is (there are plenty of interview quotes, and I invite you to skip the theory sections if theory is not your kind of thing ;))

For an example of Txalaparta, in the new type, ‘Txalaparta Berria’, click in the link below; note the performance fashion of this tradition, where both players interlock, or alternate, so that they don’t beat the boards at the same time, creating together a single rhythmic and melodic line: Txalaparta by Aitor Gutiérrez and Andoni Bringas (Palacio Euskalduna, 2008)

Txalaparta Zaharra, old style Txalaparta, contains
in its rhythms and performance process,
a message of reconciliation
that comes into effect
at playing.
When playing it, listening to it, witnessing it,
two polarities merge with the final tturrukutun,
both in txalaparta and our being.

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