03. Radical Rock: Identities and Utopies in Basque Popular Music

KARLOS SÁNCHEZ EKIZA


 

1. Hertzainak, “Ta zer, ez da berdin”

From: Hertzainak. Soñua S-130, 1984, 33  rpm.

 

Josu Zabala: composer, electric bass and trikitixa; Iñaki Garitaonaindia “Gari”: voice and electric guitar; Kike Sáez de Villaverde: electric guitar; Luis Javier Saez “Txanpi”: drums; Tito Aldama: saxophone.

 

Lyrics

Discogs

 

One of the first and most emblematic songs of Radical Rock, included in Hertzainak’s first album. The lyrics describe Basque Country as a dark and grey place where there is no future for rock’n roll, in strong contrast with the utopical and colourful Jamaica. It’s remarkable the infuence of Jamaican musics like ska or reggae, heard here probably for the first time in the Basque Country. There are many versions of this song.


 

2. Kortatu, “Zu atrapatu arte”

From: Kortatu. Soñua S-141, 1985, 33 rpm.

 

Fermin Muguruza: voice and electric guitar; Iñigo Muguruza: electric bass; ; Kaki Arkarazo: electric guitar; Treku Armendariz: drums.

 

Lyrics

Discogs

 

This song is about the extreme difficult situation in the streets of 1980s Basque Country. The lyrics are made of short phrases juxtaposed without a real narrative sense, as it is quite common in Radical Rock, over “crazy” rhythms and dark electric guitar’s sound. The song is well known thanks to covers by bands such as Banda Bassotti (Italy), Negu Gorriak (Basque Country) or Mojiganga (Colombia). It has been used  in different videos about riots in Basque Country or, most recently, in Greece.


 

3. La Polla Records, “Salve Regina”

From: Salve. Soñua S-126, 1984, 33⅓ rpm.

 

Evaristo Páramos: voice; “Txarly”: electric guitar; “Sume”: electric guitar; “Maleguin”: electric bass; Fernando Murua “Fernandito”: drums.

 

Lyrics

Discogs

 

One of the more significant songs of the band, active until 2003: that year the band was in  Viña Rock Festival, in Villarrobledo (Spain) where this video was recorded. The lyrics censure Catholic Church’s materialism and the performance includes, as usual in the band’s early performances, cross burning.


 

4. Potato, “Miguelín el Cashero”

From: Potato / Tijuana in blue. Soñua S-147, 1986, 33 rpm.

 

Pedro Espinosa “Aianai”: voice; Juan Borikó: voice; “Pako Pko”: voice; other musicians unknown.

 

Lyrics

Discogs

 

Potato and Tijuana in blue were the more significant groups of the so-called “Euskadi Tropikala”, the smoother and most relaxed tender of Radical Rock. This song is a cover of  one of Byron Lee’s song,  “Sammy Dead”, and describes a cashero (Basque farmer) which grows leeks, potatos and marijuana, and his follow-up problems with the police. The live performance often included the image of one cashero sharing potatoes and other vegetables with the audience, just like it appears in this video.