Archive for 26 de mayo de 2008

Xabier Lizardi: «From the train’s window»/ «Oh, land!»

José María Agirre Egaña (1896-1933), who signatures as Xabier Lizardi  is one of the best and most contemporary Basques poets in Basque language. With poet Lauaxeta, is the most representative of the pre-war Basque literature. His beautiful and symbolist style makes he was compared frequently with Castillian great poet Juan Ramón Jiménez.

Benito Lertxundi is one of the most famous and continuous Basque songwriter. Benito has sung words by José Antonio Artze and Xabier Lete, but also his own: words that speak us about Basque Country and other relevant things in the time he begun to sing, when Basque language was put down by dictatorship. His music, very beautiful, takes its roots from Basque traditional music, but also from celtic music and Anglo-saxon songwriters as Donovan. Member of Ez dok Amairu by the hand of New Basque Song patriarch, Mikel Laboa, Lertxundi’s first EP comes in 1965. To this will follow others great LPs as Oro laño mee batek… (1974) (All is blurred by a  thin fog), title which belongs to a verse from this Lizardi’s poem, which Benito sung in this record with his own music under the title "Oi lur, oi lur" ("Oh, land, Oh land)


Oi, lur, oi, lur!
Oi, ene lur nerea!…
Oi, goiz eme,
parre gozoz ernea!…
Arto musker,
mendi, baserri zaarrak;
ale gorriz
abailduta sagarrak:
Oro laño
mee batek estalia,
urrez oro
eguzkiak yantzia…
gizandi bat iduri
soroan zut:
beiondeizula zuri!…
Zure bazter
gurazko aberria,
doa zoro
(ta bertan ni) bultzia (1)…
Oi, ene lur,
baninduzu zerea,
zu landu, ta
zure sariz asea!…
Bañan… ezin:
beeko bear goriak
narama… Agur,
soro, sagar, mendiak!…

From the train’s window

Oh, land! Oh, land!/ Oh my very own land!…/ Oh, soft morning,/ born with sweet laughings!…// Green maize fields,/ mounts, old country house;/ apple trees that the red fruit/ overwhelms:// All is blurred/ by a thin fog,/ all is gilded by the Sun…// Farm laborer,/ giant looking/ standing on your heredity:/ how happy you are.// By your side,/ my wish’s homeland,/ the train/ is running madly/ (and I does it inside him)…/ Oh, land of mine,/ I wish I was yours,/ and, cultivating you,/ you fulfill me with your price!…// But… I cannot:/ the flat land’s boiling life/ takes me away… Good bye,/ heredities, apple-trees, mounts!…

Xabier Lizardi

(1) In Euskara Batua (United Basque language), "train" means "trena", but Lizardi was a member of PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) and a follower of PNV’s founder Sabino Arana’s new Basque vocabulary, for dismissing Latin and Castilian words from Basque language. This vocabulary didn’t triumph.

Xabier Lizardi’s article:

Benito Lertxundi’s web page:

Ez dok Amairu (There’s no Thirteen) was a collective created around Basque esculptor Jorge de Oteiza. Founded by Mikel Laboa, some of their members were Benito Lertxundi, Lourdes Iriondo, Xabier Lete, Antton Valverde and J. A. Artze. Influenced by the Catalan collective Els Setze Jutges (Sixteen Judges), Ez dok Amairu’s finallity was the vindication of Basque language, music, culture and literature, specially poetry. They were, with Castilians, Andalucians and Canarians songwriters and folk-groups, the first in doing songs based on the Basque traditional music, thanks to the wonderful and elder songs-books legated through the centuries.

Euskal Kanta Berria (New Basque Song) was a movement of Basque songwriters with the pretension of vindicate and save Basque language, music and culture, and a vindication of their land, the so named Euskal Herria (Basque Land/ Basque People). Between this movement, there were collectives as and Argia (light) and Ez dok Amairu (There’s no Thirteen). Between them we can name people as important as Mikel Laboa, Lourdes Iriondo, Benito Lertxundi, Imanol, Lupe, Oskorri… In differance of others regionals songwriters movements, Euskal Kanta Berria used to play the Basque traditional music since the beginnig with their poems or those from great Basque poets as Gabriel Aresti. Within this movement, songwriters Antton Valverde, J. A. Artze and Xabier Lete make the most of these songs.

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